Meeting 21 July 2014

There was a meeting on 21 July 2014. The theme was "The Holiday Photograph"

If our meeting is anything to go by, holiday photos fall broadly into two categories. There are those we take to record where we’ve been and what we did, with a view, perhaps, to looking at them again months or years hence to remind ourselves of times gone by - and these we keep for home consumption and don’t normally show people. And there are those we try to push beyond the category of personal memory and take more trouble over, possibly in the hope of bringing back some serious imagery. Either way, it seems, we all photograph remarkably similar things, churches (especially cloisters), markets (light, colour and people), sea shores (breaking waves), landscapes (particularly rivers, lakes and mountains) and so on, but no doubt that’s simply because we all encounter more or less the same things when we go on holiday. I think one of the problems (if that’s the right word) about holiday photographs is that unless we’ve been to the place on a previous occasion we have little idea of what exactly we’re going to encounter, and so are unable to previsualise things or plan ahead. Add to this the fact and feeling that we’re only going to be there for a very short period, and there comes a compulsion to record anything and everything out of a kind of desperation. The result is frequently unsatisfactory. It also means that holiday photography isn’t very Contemporary: it may, inevitably, be themed but the theme is so broad and shapeless that by itself it gives no real form to the realised photographs. There’s a partial exception to this if you happen to be Nigel. His Cloudscapes were quite remarkable; he knows what he’s going to find (more or less) and he plans ahead by always booking a window seat that isn’t over the wing. What he didn’t tell us is how he always manages to get a window that isn’t smeared over much of its internal surfaces.


Keith has been in touch with Hilary who runs the gallery at the Lytham Heritage Centre. Keith’s Lancashire Monochrome group recently held a successful exhibition there and he has been investigating the possibility that Contemporary North West might similarly mount an exhibition in 2015. The cost of a three week exhibition at the gallery would be a minimum of £175 or £200, depending on how much of the gallery was used (there are two spaces, one being rather smaller than the other). Keith thinks the gallery could show 80 to 90 images at a frame size of 16x20 inches. He would make available to us some or all of the frames possessed by Lancashire Monochrome. So, if ten of us were taking part we would each need to contribute about £20. All ten of us present on Monday night were unanimous in thinking this was a sum worth paying, and we took a decision in principle to commit to an exhibition at some time in the summer or autumn of 2015. Keith will talk to Hilary about dates. We will need to decide whether we all pursue a joint theme (albeit pretty widely set) with our images, or each choose our own theme. More news, and doubtless more discussion, in September.