Alnwick, Camera Club

The beautiful display of spring flowers at Bowburn Park beside Alnwick Castle.
Picture Jane Coltman
The beautiful display of spring flowers at Bowburn Park beside Alnwick Castle. Picture Jane Coltman

Alnwick and District Camera Club’s president John Thompson gave members an evening to remember when he presented an account of his latest ventures in photography.

Not content with producing high quality, competition winning pictures, John is always looking for new challenges and fresh approaches to photographing the world around him.

High key images are popular with many, but John’s approach is minimalist, where backgrounds are almost completely bleached out so that the viewer can concentrate on the main subject.

He showed beautiful prints of people on the beach, taken on a misty day with just enough detail in the background to create a convincing atmosphere.

This minimalist approach also led John to experiment with deconstructed monochrome images of buildings and other architectural features, where all extraneous background is digitally removed to create a result akin to a pencil sketch, with all salient features clearly delineated.

He has taken this technique a step further using a fish-eye lens to capture striking images of travellers walking through the barriers at Newcastle Central Station.

Camera phones are widely used for snapshots, but John has looked seriously at the photographic potential offered by the latest iPhones. He presented fine A3 monochrome prints with good tonal range and detail, showing that these cameras can produce excellent results in the right hands. He continues to experiment and no doubt we will see more results in the future.

Landscapes were subjects that John always used to treat as colour pictures, but recently he looked at the monochrome approach. When the distraction of colour is removed, larger features and patterns become more evident, encouraging a new way of looking at the countryside.

He has gone to the lengths of having one of this cameras adapted to take infra-red images, which produce even more dramatic pictures, with high contrast and spectacular skies. This is a very different type of photography and John continues to experiment with its potential.

One final project that John is working on is night photography, which he has been carrying out in locations close to his home. Already he is building up a portfolio of atmospheric images that are quite different to his usual photographs and satisfy his quest for finding a different approach to something familiar.

John described his projects as works in progress, but the superb prints he showed clearly demonstrated his mastery of the techniques.