Club Meeting Report, "Creative Portraits Challenge" - Tuesday 16th February 2016.

One of the duties of Morpeth Camera Club's Vice Chairman is to set three photographic tasks, one each for Autumn,
Winter & Spring, and on Tuesday 16th February 2016, Mark Harrison announced the results of his Winter Challenge
on the theme of ‘Creative Portraits’.

The aims of these challenges are to encourage members to extend their photographic skills and knowledge by trying
new techniques and to take on a subject which they have not previously attempted. Those members who choose to
take up the challenge can respond with four images which should meet the criteria of being freshly produced rather
than adapting existing images in their portfolios. Authors are required to write a description of their images, describe
what they were trying to achieve when they took them, the techniques they used in capturing and processing, explain
what they had learned and the improvements they could make. But the main objectives of these challenges, as Mark
emphasised, was to enjoy the process, have fun, learn and progress.

Dave Bisset opened the evening with a strong monochrome portrait, the black background emphasising the expressive
eyes, skin textures and hair detail; then ‘Sheila’, an image manipulated to resemble a pen and ink drawing which drew
attention to deep shadows and highlights, in a portrait of ‘Alex’ a very cute child peering into the camera, Dave had
retained the colour of the background and converted the face to black and white, and finally, ‘Josh’, an impressive
image produced by layering multi shots of a boy on a playground slide.

Karen Jackson followed with a lovely portrait of her granddaughter, centre focussed to highlight the eyes, with a
peripheral blur to add softness; a reflected image of a child in a bright pink coat looking into a mirror, a 50’s inspired
image of a girl using a pencil sketch filter and a candid shot of a child smiling through a glass aquarium framed by
colourful coral.

Next up was Sue Dawson with an innovative combination of image and numerals in black and lime green producing
a futuristic matrix effect, ‘Brotherly Love’, a stark mono image of boy and girl with highlighted faces, ‘Pop Up’, an
original combination of images of a girl among autumn leaves dancing on an open book and finally an expressive shot
of two boys looking sheepishly at each other, entitled ‘Who ate all the Pies’.

Glyn Trueman came next with a glowing image of a boy and girl blowing out birthday cake candles, a Beamish railway
worker in monochrome with a colour popped red oil can and steam in the background, ’90 Today’ a portrait of his mother
with superimposed vignettes of her as a child and a young woman and ‘Having Fun’ a photo booth-type shot of costumed
ladies wearing enormous colourful sunglasses in lime green an pink.

Davy Bolam submitted a cartoon-like portrait with stretched, grotesque features, a Che Guevara inspired image of a
‘Biker Chick’, a near monochrome, very highly textured image of a girl with hair blowing in the wind, a creation of shape
and tones, and a moody portrait of his daughter, using special effects of antique solarisation and Nik effects.

Peter Downs and Pat Wood contributed to the evening with a collection of photographs, mainly of club members out on
shoots. A before and after session using the Fractalis, Fine Touch and age control applications, using swirling effects,
elongations and distortions resulted in a very humourous response from the audience.

Mark followed on with a few examples of his own work which illustrated his take on the challenge, using paintbrush
treatments, kaleidoscope effects in rainbow colours; an atmospheric menacing portrait of a hooded man, a moody image
of a girl behind bars and a back lit night time shot of a girl on the Infinity Bridge.

Mark commented that he was impressed by the strong monochrome and colourful images, good light reflections in the
eyes, the controlled use of blur, the ability to capture expressions, good use of low light which resulted in some original
images that showed quality and creativity. Members had obviously taken care to wait and take advantage of opportunities
to take interesting shots.

An enjoyable evening with interaction, comments and good humour concluded with Mark selecting members’ images that
appealed to him most which included ‘Pop Up’ by Sue Dawson, ‘Biker Chick’ by Davy Bolam, ‘Happy Birthday by Glyn
Trueman, ‘Josh’ by Dave Bisset and ‘Brotherly Love’ by Sue Dawson.