Club Meeting Report, Alnwick Exchange Visit - Tuesday 26th January 2016.

It was a club exchange night on Tuesday 26th January 2016, and Morpeth Camera Club welcomed members of Alnwick &
District Camera Club to showcase their work.

Barry Robertson, a keen walker in the Cheviots, Alwinton and Wooler area, gave us a splendid array of scenes taken on the
Border Ridge and being an area of wild open countryside, Barry looks for a focal point, such as stiles and fences to anchor
his landscapes. Sweeping views of Windy Gyle with snow clad fences, dark cloudy skies reflected in peat bogs, golden sunlit
grasses emerging from sparkling snow; wild goats near Yeavering Bell and Davidson’s Linn waterfall dramatically taken with
a slow shutter speed were among Barry’s beautiful photographs. Scenes of Hedgehope from the Ingram Valley with big skies
of billowing clouds, wonderful views from Hethpool onto the St Cuthbert’s Way, pink stone set against milky waterfalls, frozen signposts in the snow with brilliant blue skies, gates, rocks and flagstones creating a beautiful lead in, all set in beautiful light,
Barry had succeeded in portraying the quiet, serene atmosphere of this lovely landscape in his prints.

Dave Dixon followed with his images of the man-made Branton Lakes, near Powburn in the Breamish Valley. A boat moored
in soft evening light, greylag geese in flight, Oystercatchers creating patterns in the sky, and an Exmoor pony served as an introduction to his collection of photographs of the original gravel workings and equipment. Barry is fascinated by the aging
of old metals, exploring rust, its colours of blue, green and red, creating shapes,structures and shadows. There were dramatic
wide angle shots of conveyors resembling huge animals, angled metal work creating crisscross patterns, pipes, motors, fuel
tanks, metal flakes, nuts and bolts to form abstract images, close up shots of cracked oil pipes, and chains covered with spider’s webs. Dave’s work captured the feeling of solitude and isolation, and he concluded his presentation by stating that one should
always take photographs when the opportunity arises because, when he later returned to this location it had been completely cleared, leaving no evidence that it had ever existed.


Valerie Atkinson then gave us an illuminating talk on her time living in Mumbai, on India's west coast.
Witnessing the colour and liveliness of the city she soon realised that she needed a better camera with which to illustrate her surroundings. Arriving in the monsoon season we observed scenes of old tower blocks set in dark moody skies & shanty houses swathed in protective blue plastic sheeting. A huge city with 20 million inhabitants with continuous demolition, building sites
with cranes and construction workers wearing flip flops, contrasted with colourful fruit and vegetable markets, women in vibrant coloured saris and brightly painted plywood houses decorated with plastic flowers. There were busy street scenes with auto rickshaws laden with whole families, dilapidated classic cars, shop fronts, temples and mosques, coffin makers, tailors, bathers
and swimmers in polluted dark water, colourful washing on rooftops and bonnets of cars, Hindu festivals with dancing and music, cooks and street food.
Valerie stated that images create a mixture of emotions, witnessing the contrasts of living conditions, ‘Islands of luxury in a sea
of squalour’, rich and poor living together’ and ended with this quotation: "Mumbai, the dancer, swirls its veils, now you see its beauty, now you don't. Now you see its blemishes, now they're air brushed over. It's that way from first sight, other cities ease
you into their ugliness, Mumbai delights in rubbing your nose on its squalor before it reveals its glamour."
Bachi Karkaria.
With a very interesting commentary of her time in Mumbai, Valerie perfectly captured the atmosphere, colour, vibrancy and
way of life of this amazing city.

Finally, Richard Stent entertained the audience with his experience of darkroom work. ‘Welcome to the Dark Side’ illustrated
how to set up a dark room and the problems associated with resourcing film, paper, developer and fixer and having decided
finally to purchase a freezer so that he could bulk buy when he can obtain it. He demonstrated the stages of processing, then followed on to compare the costs of producing negatives against the costs of hard drives and their comparative capacities,
costs of developing fluids against printing inks, the time taken to enlarge, to produce test strips, dodging, masking and burning compared to manipulation using Photoshop.
He went on to describe his love of photographing musicians and musical instruments with a variety of photographs of street musicians, an accordionist in Prague, a saxophonist in Central Park, Jazz musicians at the Edinburgh festival and a series of monochrome photographs of an animated conductor at work. Other examples of his work were of shop windows, crowds taken
from above, the Lennon wall in Prague, and graffiti crafted in stone.
Richard loves the element of surprise with film and the movement which can be obtained such as a scene at the Musee D’orsay
with eerie pedestrian’s legs which appear to float, and passengers on a platform with just one face in focus. He finished with an illustrated story of a photography shop in Florence, the interior of which is covered with archive photographs of the city, together with shelves of negatives, estimated to be in the region of 500,000. The proprietor is making it his life work scanning & digitising
the negatives for posterity.


Chairman Glyn Trueman thanked all the presenters for their interesting and descriptive presentations after which coffee and tea were served.