Mark hits the right note in concert shots

Lomax by Mark Illingworth.
Lomax by Mark Illingworth.

Morpeth Camera Club

On February 2, Mark Illingworth of Cramlington Camera Club stepped in at short notice to give his PDI presentation entitled Candid People Photos. This followed the very late cancellation by the original speaker.

Mark prefers to take through-the-lens candid shots of musicians at work, and although shooting from waist level is more discrete, he stated that most musicians encourage photographers at their concerts.

Working in monochrome, Mark was able to capture detail in facial expressions under difficult lighting, and his animated shots of guitar players and vocalists, moodily silhouetted and sometimes spot-lit, recorded the liveliness and excitement of concerts.

The Newcastle Green Festival, International Riverside Festival at Stockton and the Tynemouth Festivals provided colourful locations for him to capture shots of bongo players, trombonists, fire eaters, whisky samplers, bottle jugglers and dreadlocked musicians.

Newcastle city centre on New Year’s Eve, illuminated faces watching the fireworks and flare dancers, New Year dippers in Santa suits, a Blyth weightlifter with a pained expression, and, with the use of a zoomlens, the thrilled faces of youngsters on rides, were all included in his excellent show.

Mark prefers to visit unfamiliar locations, which encourage him to see people from a different perspective, providing a fresh approach, and the audience was treated to an original, dramatic and atmospheric representation of his work.

Dave Illingworth, a member of Morpeth club, followed with his presentation, Birmingham Canals and the Bullring.

Originating from the area, Dave’s images illustrated how the city had changed from when he was a boy, growing up with dirty working canals and describing how horses used to tow barges of produce, before going into decline. He went on to describe how after the revitalisation of the area it led to the canals being navigable once again, warehouses transformed, pubs restored, and barges painted in vibrant colours, resulting in a bright, clean holiday atmosphere.

Dave’s candid shots included holidaymakers in the sunshine, restored hoists and cranes, a lock-keeper opening sluice gates, and walkers enjoying the once run-down tow paths. He went on to illustrate how the city centre had been regenerated with modern street art, pedestrianisation, new shops, iconic glass tower blocks and apartments, yet at the same time had maintained character and history by retaining iron aqueducts and its red brick buildings.

His then and now depiction of the city, together with anecdotes of times gone by, resulted in a thoroughly entertaining talk.

To conclude the evening, members were treated to a showing of the NCPF Awards Alliance Portfolio where some of the best photographic work is selected.

Morpeth members Dave Illingworth with his study of an owl, Elaine Illingworth with an eerie image of the Tyne pedestrian tunnel and Steve McDonald with a diving gannet, were given highly commended awards, which is quite an accolade as this portfolio is representative of the high standard of work produced by clubs in the federation.

Chairman Glyn Trueman thanked Mark and Dave for standing in at short notice and for providing such an entertaining evening, after which coffee and tea were served.