Something special about print

Morpeth Camera Club

Tuesday, 1st November 2016, 10:50 am
A darkroom print from 1980 by Mavis Ord.

On Tuesday, October 4, Morpeth Camera Club welcomed Mavis Ord from Durham Photographic Society.

A friend of the club for many years, Mavis had decided to put together a compilation of her photographic work and give a print presentation looking back at her 40 years in photography.

Starting with a small selection of her early monochrome prints, she explained that these had all been made in the darkroom from film negatives. Teaching herself, learning from her mistakes and after many hours of practice, she eventually learnt her craft and was able to meet her goal of good highlights and shadows.

These early prints featured street life, children playing and portraiture. That we were viewing them 40 years later was testament to her original skills.

Mavis presented many examples of her work. She said that she had been a colour slide worker, had tried cibachrome printing and lithe printing, but had always come back to monochrome prints.

Hints and tips about technique, various forays with different cameras, including her Pentax Spotmatic F, memories evoked by certain prints and the stories behind them kept the attention of the audience.

The advent of computers and the move to digital photography changed things dramatically, and Mavis had grasped this challenge, taking courses and learning Photoshop to produce accomplished results with early digital equipment.

A wonderful set of prints followed, with various effects, including infrared landscapes, selenium toning and several prints used in a panel to gain her Associateship of the Royal Photographic Society.

Travel had been a major influence on Mavis’ photography, and her ability to see a photograph was demonstrated as we were shown prints taken in Cuba featuring school children, street life, old cars and pastel coloured buildings.

We saw landscapes of New Zealand to the architecture of Paris in stunning detail.

Mavis stated that she took images for herself and not for judges, that a picture should make people think, ask questions or tell a story and that you should always “do your own thing”.

The last section of the presentation covered a theme that she had called “a moment in time”, where being ready with a camera to see and react to a situation, she had produced a range of prints with impact and beauty.

A recent set of prints taken at Beamish Museum and printed using mono layers and colour masks showed that she is still moving forward and trying new skills.

Following a vote of thanks from Club Chairman Glyn Trueman, members welcomed the chance to view Mavis’ prints in close-up as they were displayed around the room, prompting comment and questions over coffee as the evening came to a close.

As Mavis had remarked, whether it was made in the darkroom or printed from a computer, there is just “something special about a print” and we had to agree.