This meeting was an internal competition of the Society with a difference. Although organised in the usual two sections, photographic prints and projected images, the three image entries per member in each section had to be in a different prescribed photographic genre. For example, an entry could comprise a portrait, a landscape and a nature image, say. Marks were awarded for each image but they were then aggregated to give a portfolio score which determined the winners. The judge who had to wrestle with this complexity was Richard Speirs a hugely popular, highly respected and experienced judge from Morton Photographic Society in Carlisle. Nationally he sits on the distinctions judging panel of the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain (PAGB) and is a member of their Executive Committee. So he was extremely well qualified to adjudicate the total of almost 100 images on display. He was particularly impressed with the excellent quality of the photographic prints and commented that the marking was particularly close because the quality was so uniformly outstanding. Nevertheless, and with a good deal of characteristic humour, he gave useful pointers as to how a number of images might be improved upon either in composition or treatment or even in the type of photographic paper used to make the print.
Because of the requirement to enter in a range of photographic genres there was a great variety of subjects on show. In the prints section the winning portfolio was from John Macfarlane who showed a sensitive photo of a Japanese bride in traditional dress in which the different tones of white in her costume were faithfully distinguished. Amazingly this was not a studio portrait but captured outside, yet with the characteristics of lighting which showed every detail of her face and dress. His second print was a beautiful misty winter landscape of the Setsumi River at dawn, again from a recent visit to Japan. A line of cranes emerging from the mist gave an added focus of interest within the landscape without dominating it. The overall impact owed everything to the tranquil mood and subtlety of pastel tones captured in the image. John’s final print was an exceptional nature photograph of two red foxes encountering each other on a snow bank. Again the tonal range of the white snow background was exquisitely detailed, but it was the stance and the detail of the two animals which provided a narrative as well as a pictorial element and which gave this image the highest individual score of the print section. The close runner-up in this section was Keith Snell, whose three prints were also coincidentally a portrait, a landscape and a nature image of a redshank defending her nest which had the highest score of the three.
In the projected image section, Alan Walker’s portfolio gained the top honours with his detailed portrait of a grim-faced soldier emerging from the dense smoke of munitions (mercifully a re-enactment scene) taking the highest individual mark of the section. A very fine nature image of an emerald glass frog delicately balanced on a curved green fern showed some exquisite lighting to enable the frog to be distinguished in exceptional detail. Alan’s third image was an action-packed monochrome sports photograph of a rugby try touchdown with the player dramatically dragging two opponents, as well as the viewer, over the line; an exceptional piece of journalistic photography. The runners-up honours in this section were shared between Julie Walker, John Macfarlane and Keith Snell, all with equal scores.
This was the final meeting of the season, which restarts on September 6th 2017 at 7.30 but in the new venue of the Quaker Meeting Hall, Eliot Park (opposite the entrance to Booths supermarket car park). Visitors and potential new members are most welcome to join us. Over the summer the Society will be holding its annual Summer Exhibition at the Theatre By The Lake from June 6th – July 9th and will be exhibiting, along with other local camera clubs, at the Rheged Cumbria Photography Show on the weekend of 13/14th May.
Keith Snell, Chairman