Artistic flair comes to the fore in contest

Fitzroy by Steve McDonald
Fitzroy by Steve McDonald

Morpeth Camera Club

Morpeth Camera Club welcomed judge Catherine Ball, who provided us with the results of this season’s first Open Projected Digital Image Competition.

Catherine is a member of North Shields Photographic Society and describes herself as an environmental lifestyle, wedding and fine art photographer.

Included in the 69 images projected were Monet-type water lilies, abstract infra-red tree reflections, rocks on a shoreline, wildlife, waterfalls, the curves and symmetry of Canary Wharf, gritty portraits, softly lit studio shots, and silhouetted figures on a beach.

Having a fine art degree, Catherine looks for balance, symmetry and good diagonals.

She admired the illustrative quality of an abstract, colourful, evening, urban street scene, and a storytelling, sepia-toned image of couple at a station. She pointed out the triangles and circle patterns of racing bikes, architectural shapes of the Cordoba Mosque, the symmetry and angles in cathedral architecture, colourful shells grouped to form circular patterns, and the graphic simplicity of a dandelion seed-head.

An image of smoke patterns, with excellent use of shapes and a skeletal painterly quality, stacks of chrome chairs that formed curves and lines with an unusual abstract quality, and a striking composition of abstract circles, formed by oil on water, particularly impressed her.

Throughout the evening Catherine provided the entrants with pointers on how to improve their images to give them more impact, such as boosting colours, closer cropping and tips on experimenting to achieve a more artistic result.

Her four highly commended images were Ribblehead Stormy Skies, by Mark Harrison, which she admired for its good lead-in lines and textures; Steve McDonald’s Contemplation, a lone lady on rocks, for its quiet reflective quality; Tilly, by Mark Harrison, a portrait of a girl that portrayed sensuality and innocence; and Steve Mcdonald’s Storm Brewing, a landscape that evoked stillness and solitude.

John Barnes was awarded fifth place with Clennel Street, a fellside scene, which draws you into the simple, yet complex, landscape. Fourth was Paul Appleby with Raindrops on Daisies, an artistic and graphic image, which Catherine admired for its vibrant colours, post-production and depth of field.

Third was Brian Morris with Lunchtime Band, a monochrome silhouetted composition of five wooden benches, two of which had people sitting, with three seagulls flying above. Catherine praised the crop and design.

Second place was given to John Barnes with Minimal, a high key image of receding groynes, described as simple, with objects that had a relationship to each other.

And the winner was Steve McDonald with Fitzroy, a mountain and lake landscape, which Catherine admired for the perfect mirror image of the mountains in the lake, possessing an Ansell Adams’ quality.

Chairman Mark Harrison thanked Catherine for her detailed analysis, advice and suggestions.

The club meets most Tuesdays between September and May in Morpeth Methodist Church, Howard Terrace, at 7.30pm.