Our lively and stimulating session spilled over into the pub, as sometimes happens, with our guest speaker, Mark Phillips, continuing to share his expertise and personal approach to photography, cameras and people over beer and chips; he favours time spent with one small camera and the same prime lens, avoiding auto focus and breaking as many 'rules' as he fancies. Earlier, our meeting had begun with Mark, chair of the RPS Documentary Special Interest Group, talking about his own work and showing us several storytelling projects he has ongoing. His projects are not restricted in number as our current competition is and several storylines are developing into an idea for a book.
However, his advice was very relevant and helpful to those of us (I mean me) plodding through a pedestrian approach to a beginning, middle and end of literal images. He showed us intriguing fragments and hints of subject matter, preferring to tease and engage the viewer with surprises, ambiguity and unanswered questions. He talked of the impact of studying the work of Alex Webb, Nico Economopoulos, Alex Soth, Don McCullen and Steve McCurry and many more. And how presentation of our work should depend on the intent, purpose and audience we have in mind. And how the analogy of musical flow helps shape his projects.
We spread out our work in progress for Mark to comment on and advise: he has agreed to judge the competition in February and we look forward to his concise and constructive feedback, after we have tried to take on board his very encouraging and thought provoking advice.