January 2018

Club Night: 18th January ‘Show and Tell’  House and Garden
Another entertaining and successful ‘show and tell’ evening; this time on the loosely interpreted theme house and garden!

Several members (to many to mention) brought along images they had recently taken either in their house or in their garden. All enjoyed the humour and spontaneity of a well run evening.

What a selection we had – some serious but mostly experimental fun shots. What was pleasing and appreciated by all those present was the effort they made not only to produce images that were just that little bit different, were entertaining or told a story, but also the efforts made to try out different photographic techniques and different angles on every day objects.

We learnt that discarded mirrors,  Christmas decorations, treasured gifts, glass balls, food (including tomatoes and mashed potato!), footwear, frosty bins, frozen ponds, and a host of other things including scaled up miniatures litter pickers  had their photographic uses. A number of members also took some some excellent still life images using various lighting methods, including grease proof paper and other household paraphenalia to filter or obscure light). Each contributed to some really interesting and well taken images.  

A bonus perhaps for those of us of a certain age was a recommendation that photography on (or just over) the doorstep was not only therapeutic but had healing qualities!

We are grateful to all those who took part and who supported the efforts of everyone concerned by attending. Thank you. 


Club Night: 11th January: An Evening wth James Davies – freelance photo journalist
With the New Year a distant memory it was time to get back to more serious club life.

This evening we were treated to a presentation by James Davies, who gave us a very informative and entertaining talk on his work as a photo journalist.  

As a child James had always harboured the idea of being a photographer so as a young man he decided to take the academic route to learn photography. Whilst doing so he was attached to a South Wales newspaper and became hooked. 
 
He later took an course run by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) where he was fortunate enough to develop new skills in the theory and practice of stills photography and capturing ‘media’ images. The course also helped him acquire a much needed understanding of the law and ethics of documentary photography as well as the needs of the print media.
 
Initially getting to grips with workflow requirements presented its own challenges.  The need to meet editorial demands and to provide images that would more easily fit column space and would not detract from advertising space was an essential part of this process – especially during the days when film was the only medium available to photographers.
 
During the evening James showed us a range of images he had taken either for newspapers or magazines that he had worked on, or had commissioned him,  including the main regional newspapers in Wales, the Times, various broadsheet and tabloid newspapers, and magazines such as ‘Hello’.  
 
These included what might be called ‘bread and butter’ images (especially ones of adverse weather) required by a newspaper, as well as a high proportion relating to headline news, celebrity, sport, fortune and misfortune. Many also included ‘court snatches’ often of villains but sometimes of those who had successfully campaigned for justice. 
 
As James worked through these images he provided considerable insight into the challenges of print based photojournalism. At a basic level this involved the need to thoroughly prepare before hand (time permitting), having to take images with sufficient ‘headroom’ for text to be added to them, difficulties of capturing the moment and in getting a new visual story that would please the editor and the reader. Often this involved waiting hours for that ‘special moment’. We also learnt that a step ladder was an essential part of the necessary kit! Another tip James shared was having one eye for the future – banking images which, later, prove to be of far more significance than when first taken. 
 
James also touched on some of the ethical issues faced by photo journalists and the difficulty they faced in deciding when not to take an image because it would be too intrusive and compound grief.  How you handled emotion also presented difficulties – think of Aberfan – and often had a profound effect on the photographer. Set against this was the joy of documenting achievement – especially in sport – and sampling celebrity.  
 
Over the years James had taken images of many famous people (and a few disgraced ones) including Nelson Mandella, Bill Clinton, Arthur Scargill, Ian Paisley, Rolf Harris and countless sporting heroes.
 
 It was a pleasure to see these images, reminisce a little and look at photography from an entirely different perspective. We would thoroughly recommend James to any club wanting something a little different. 
 
 

Club Night: 4th January: Project Evening
T
he clubs first event of the year held on  a bitterly and very windy night was an adhoc competition where 4 teams were tasked with putting together a calendar from a pool of image supplied by members.

After the images had been chosen for each month they were displayed on screen to be judged. It was very interesting to see the different approach taken by each team. 

Three ‘judges’ (club members) were appointed who marked each image (out of 5) taking into account seasonal relevance and image quality. 

When the scoring was finally tabulated Team 4 were winners on the night. However all four teams are to be congratulated as in each team at least one judge gave an image the top marks possible. 

Team 1: 112 points
Team 2: 110 points
Team 3:115 points
Team 4: 117 points 

We are grateful to all those who took part and to those who supplied 9images. Thank you.