Over the last 18 months, we have missed being able to produce and share prints. So for our second meeting back in the church hall, the meeting was a variation on the old "washing line" format. 17 prints were brought to the hall and a further 8 images were contributed by the members who joined on Zoom. All the images are available in a Gallery
. The Zoom members formed one group to discuss their images online, and the members in the hall split into 3 groups to discuss their prints around tables. The original idea was that the groups in the hall would move around periodically so that everyone got to see all the images. In practice, this did not happen as the groups became engrossed in their own discussions.
In the second half of the evening, the whole meeting came back together and members nominated 9 images that they would like to hear more about.
Nick Bowman explained that he had no experience of shooting cows, but had become interested in the ones that live in Epping Forest. He decided to sit with them for a while and see what developed. Being curious, the cows crowded around him and he achieved some unusual images, such as this "Portrait of a brown cow" looking at him between other cows (below left).
Des Hill was immediately struck by the wonderful light in the escalator hall at "Canary Wharf", and took several versions of the image (above right). He would have liked more people in the shot, but it was a quiet time. What he particularly liked was the way the lines converge on the escalator and lift shaft. To process the image, he converted it to B&W, reduced the highlights and increased the shadows to get the whole range of tones. Des achieved gorgeous tones in his print, for which he used his favourite paper, Photospeed Platinum Baryta, because of its rich blacks. He brought an A3 print as well as an A4 print, in which all the detail could be fully appreciated.
Sally Smith showed "Evening at the boating lake" (below left). The swan boats had been parked for the night on an island and were surrounded by real swans and geese, which made for a fun image. She converted it to B&W and darkened the background, to increase the focus on the boats.
Margaret Marks said that she took the image (above right) "At the gate" accidentally with her Rolleiflex Twin Lens Reflex camera loaded with a B&W film. She was talking to the workman and pressed the button on her camera which was hanging at the right height for this angle. She later went back and gave a print of this image to the workman who posed again for her holding his portrait, which also made a wonderful image.
Jools McLean submitted "There was a seal" (below left) because the of the meaning that the image holds for her. It was a long exposure shot of the tide on Shingle Street in Suffolk in gorgeous light. During the exposure, a seal popped its head out of the water and looked at her and then disappeared again. Of course, being a long exposure, this was not recorded in the image, but Jools knows he was there.
Gerard Ryan took his image "Do not touch" (above right) during the Canary Wharf walk. It is a detail of an abstract sculpture shot with a shallow depth of field and converted to B&W. The rain drops add to the sensual nature of the surface. How to crop an abstract is a personal choice and here adds ambiguity.
Jean Jameson's delightful "Somehow symbolic" (below left) is an image of her grand-daughter standing on a path in Devon in dappled shade and gazing through a closed gate into the sunshine beyond. It is a great lockdown image, symbolising how constrained we felt but with hope for the future.
Ian Guilfoyle walks past this "Wall" (below centre) in Stroud Green on his daily walk and it is different every time, with different light and shadow, with and without flytipping, etc. He is intrigued by the geometry and the colours. It is a great example of how we can find intriguing subjects in the most familiar places if we have eyes to see.
During lockdown, Graham Land had fun exploring the use of light and shadow with the help of a model "Missy Kiou" (above right) using a projection system. In this example, the pattern centres on the eye to draw the viewer in to the image.
The members in the hall enjoyed touching and closely examining the prints and discussing the issues involved in producing a good print. We hoped that some of this experience was communicated to the members on Zoom. Any ideas for how washing line meetings could be improved for all members would be warmly received.