Meeting 19 May 2014

There was a meeting on 19 May 2014. The theme was "The Landscape". There were just six of us at Monday night’s meeting – a small, but enthusiastic, band. We were talking about landscape. We started by looking at Ansell Adams, arguably the founding father of the wide-space landscape, where the camera is set up to record the splendour of the view, which is then allowed to speak for itself. This is the traditional landscape, the land seen from afar, still the dominant strain of landscape photography in club photography and the how-to-do-it photography magazines. We looked at Edward Weston, Adams’ contemporary and colleague, whose approach is more abstract; and Fay Godwin, who is not the passive observer, as Adams is, but is herself inside the landscape, looking closely and intimately at the things that interest her. Other photographers like Raymond Moore have used the landscape to record a mood or to reflect a personal feeling, or John Blakemore who is fascinated by the tiny, close-up details and abstract patterns on a small scale. Paul Hill has been interested in the marks on the land made by man, and Jem Southam records the passage of time in a never-ending process of change. These are just some of the photographers we looked at. We concluded that there are many kinds of landscape, but the current tendency is to use it to make a narrative point, or to record the uses to which the land is put, rather than simply to record the view.

We were, I think, handicapped by having to look at images in books, rather than being able to discuss them communally via an on-screen projected view. Books are great for private viewing, but don’t work very well as a collective activity. And I think also that we were far from exhausting the subject, and might return to it on a subsequent occasion. There being only a handful of us present, our small financial surplus is unfortunately now used up.

Our next meeting, on 21 July, finds us in the middle of the holiday season, so I thought we might try something a little more ambitious; something that combines landscape photography with street photography, with portraiture and travel photography and maybe a bit of architectural photography, all tied up in one neat theme. I refer, of course, to holiday photographs, or holiday snaps as they are sometimes derogatorily called. But I've never thought that holiday photography need be any less considered or less accomplished than any other kind. So if you've recently, or even not so recently, been on holiday or a journey or taken part in any kind of holiday event or adventure, and documented it to any degree (and why wouldn't you have?), bring along your snaps to our next meeting and let us all look at them. Preferably on stick or disc, please.

And lastly, please note that on Saturday, 08 November we will be holding a one-day workshop with Dave West. You will find details on our website and at . We held a similar, very successful workshop in 2010 with Colin Thomas, but in order to get it to work financially we needed to bring along a few paying guests. It will be the same this year, so please note the date in your diary and give some thought to who you might invite.