Courier Report 23rd February 2024

Date Published 
Sun 18 Feb 2024
It might have been Valentine’s night, but the only love in evidence at the St John headquarters was for a love of photography as a hobby. (Not that members of the Society are unromantic, of course!) It was not too surprising that the numbers who attended were lower than usual, but any reduction in numbers was made up for in the levels of enthusiasm on the night.

The evening had been arranged for an Open Print Competition and the guest judge was experienced photographer, John Keelan, who had judged for the Society on many previous occasions.

John was quickly into his stride and commented constructively on every entry. His informal style invited comments from the floor and stimulated so much discussion that there seemed to be a reluctance to break off for the usual refreshments! He also offered useful suggestions for improvement, where appropriate. His observations on print quality in some cases were particularly enlightening.

As an aside, John commented that digital photography had made many photographers lazy. In the past, with film being rather expensive to purchase, it was important to "get it right in camera”, rather than rely on post production techniques. Now, by contrast, most images rely on the ability to manipulate images in order to produce the required effect! (He recalled watching his Father develop prints, waiting for that magic moment when an image began to appear on the paper and being hooked on photography himself from that time).

The results of John’s deliberations were then announced. Awarding Church Interior by Society Stalwart, Ron Shimmin, the accolade of best mono print in the competition, John described this entry in glowing terms, saying it just “jumped out at him” with its perfect composition, sharpness and excellent depth of field. He said it displayed all the tones from white, through greys to black. He also gave this mono print the award of Best Overall Print in the competition with 20 marks.

In the Colour print section, John awarded Sue Blythe first place for ‘Flower Girl’. This gained 19 points - a really lovely, well exposed image with perfect focus, beautiful eyes and a splendid background.

After completing his judging, John touched on the thorny subject of Artificial Intelligence in photography. This is a strictly banned practice for all competition work and will lead to automatic disqualification. It can be difficult, however, for the casual observer to detect if an image is a genuine photograph and the author’s own work in these evolving times. Nevertheless, whilst digital photography will continue to advance in a variety of ways, this is a practice which most, if not all, clubs are very reluctant to condone!

An extra evening of Street Photography has been arranged for 7.00pm on Tuesday, 27th February in association with Andrew Barton Photography. This event will include models, tips and tuition and will be free to members. As numbers are limited, all members wishing to attend should let the Committee know without delay, please. (See the Society’s facebook page for more details). Unclaimed places, if any, will be offered to guests.

Our next regular meeting will be at 7.00 pm on Wednesday 28th February when Dave Salter will judge the Nature competition at St John Ambulance HQ.

By Antony Hamilton