John shares his photo philosophy

Morpeth Camera Club.'Pictures by John Thompson'Tunnel N
Morpeth Camera Club.'Pictures by John Thompson'Tunnel N
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Morpeth Camera Club

To open the new season, deputy chairman Glyn Trueman introduced guest speaker John Thompson, a long-standing member of the club. His subject was Talking Pictures.

He presented a selection of his prints, emphasising that primarily photographers should take shots for themselves and not always with a view that they could be successful in competition.

Some judges would describe a photograph as simply a record shot, but in his opinion, all photographs are record shots and it is up to the individual to put their own stamp on the subject.

Mr Thompson’s preferred format is monochrome, where layers of tone can add drama and dynamism to produce a more powerful image. In some instances, the use of colour can detract from the subject, monochrome can create a mood of loneliness and solitude.

He will take many shots of the same subject from different angles and will find among them the dynamic shot he had in his mind’s eye, but, in the competition environment, would a judge see what was intended when the photograph was taken?

The main aim is that the viewer can read the picture and the message it is intended to convey. Also never dismiss an image because you don’t like it.

Photography is very subjective and by entering competitions, it is a ideal platform for looking at your own work and witnessing others’ reactions to it.

Photographers must have patience, for example, waiting for the right time for clouds to appear, birds to land or a figure to walk into shot, they should use a tripod whenever possible and they need to spend time carefully cropping images to create a more dynamic quality. He mentioned Henry Cartier-Bresson, who has proven with his work that photography is capable of faithfully reproducing reality – all you have to do is catch the right moment to show the people and surrounding world, always in search of the right moment.

Mr Thompson illustrated this message throughout his presentation with his selection of beautiful photographs and members viewed striking panoramic images exhibited around the hall.

An interesting display of scanned images from glass slides, which he acquired in 1984, were also on show – some of them 100 years old of scenes in Sarajevo, Split and Serbia – and members were asked to look at the composition and compare them with images taken today.

Mr Trueman thanked him for his inspiring presentation. It was a brilliant introduction to the new season, which will include guest speakers, competitions, tutorials and the club’s annual Spectacular event.

Morpeth Camera Club meets on Tuesday evenings between September and May at 7.30pm in Morpeth Methodist Church, Howard Terrace.

Visitors and prospective members are welcome to come along to up to three meetings with no obligation to join for a small cover charge of £2 for each visit, this includes tea or coffee and biscuits.