Meeting 31 May 2016 - Tuesday

The meeting on Monday went well. There were nine of us present, and several had brought work along, which afforded some good discussion. It is encouraging to see the variety of work that members are producing – some innovative things of a high standard. It remains my belief that our meetings are at their best, and most useful to all of us, when spent in this way, and I hope members will continue to bring stuff in future, whether completed work or things experimental. (Apologies to Mike, whose contribution could not be shown because Nigel’s computer couldn’t get on with Mike’s USB stick.)

We also spent a while talking about the exhibition and to what extent we could have done better. While everybody thought the exhibition had generally been a success – it had looked good when mounted, had showed a wide variety of images and received a respectable number of visitors - it was agreed that we might have been more active from a publicity point of view, and so possibly have brought in more visitors. Some questions were raised about the type of visitor the Heritage Gallery would normally attract: it was supposed they would mostly be local people interested mainly in things pertaining to Lytham or Lancashire, with probably not many active photographers among them. Some better informed photographic comment in the comment book would have been appreciated, although in the circumstances perhaps not to be expected.

These ideas led on to a discussion of what we might do next. Exhibitions potentially worked as a means to bring the group wider publicity and enhance its prestige. Although few (if any) of us were primarily interested in selling work, there was a deep satisfaction in getting our work seen and in sharing it with others, especially with other photographers. A second exhibition was therefore the thing to go for, but where, and when; and should it be based around a theme, or another miscellaneous show? One or two of us thought we ought to seek out a venue for our next exhibition before worrying about what we would show at it, given that we had agonised, literally for years, about this one until we had been galvanised into action by securing the Heritage Gallery booking. But others thought that if, as a group, we already had in existence a body of work, it would be easier to interest any prospective gallery owner into giving us room; and this would be especially the case if we were trying to secure a more photographically orientated space. There was a predominant view that a themed subject would also succeed better than a group of miscellaneous pictures. But what theme? Several of us thought Keith's suggestion, made earlier in the year, of 'unpromising landscapes' offered a promising starting point, but what exactly was an unpromising landscape? Unfortunately, Keith wasn't present to tell us, but we thought it had to be a landscape that on the surface doesn't seem to have much going for it; but the more you look at it, and wonder why the photographer saw fit to take it, the more you see in it for yourself. On this basis, we decided to go with the idea. So, without there being any compulsion about it, we decided we might each have a go at one or more (but not too many) 'unpromising landscapes' to show at next meeting, simply in order to take the discussion a bit further.

That meeting will be on Monday, 25 July; and lastly, I have to report with pleasure that Alan has agreed to take over from me as convenor of the group with effect from now, and he will preside over that meeting. I am grateful to him. I would like to thank all CNW members who have given me such support over the last seven years. We have had our ups and downs in that time, but I think together we have achieved a lot, and the group is currently in very good condition. I am sure that Alan will be able to keep it that way, and that everybody will support him as they have supported me.