Alnwick and District Camera Club

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Alnwick and District Camera Club welcomed back former member Alan Ainsworth to give a presentation entitled The Sound They Saw – Classic Jazz Photography.

His interest in jazz started at an early age, encouraged by his father, and has developed over the years alongside his interest in photography. His main business today is as an architectural and urban photographer, but he has also built up an extensive archive of photographic images of jazz musicians. Currently one of the country’s foremost jazz photographers, Alan is well qualified to talk about this subject.

However, Alan did not come to talk about his own photographs but to tell the story of the development of jazz photography in the 20th century.

At first, jazz largely found its home in small, dark and smoky venues where pioneering photographers such as Charles Peterson and Gjon Mili used flash to capture their images. Their pictures played an important part in creating an acceptable cultural image for jazz performances where black and white musicians played together.

The advent of long playing records provided a new and influential outlet for jazz photography with musicians such as Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins controlling the use of images on their record sleeves.

As Alan pointed out, jazz is a uniquely visual art and over the years it has generated some superb photographic images which have eventually become accepted as fine art in their own right, much as jazz has itself. This was a superb, well-illustrated and refreshingly different talk giving an insight into an aspect of photography that very few club members will have experienced.

An outstanding gallery of Alan’s own colour and monochrome images of jazz musicians proved that jazz photography still flourishes in the 21st century.

The previous meeting featured winning pictures from the London Salon and the Northern Counties Photographic Federation annual competition.

First came a short series of successful entries to the London Salon, featuring some fine examples of portraits and other people pictures.

The main feature of the evening was a travelling portfolio of pictures selected from the NCPF’s 2013 competition, introduced by Malcolm Kus, who outlined the activities of the Federation and its competition procedures.

Among the successful entries were two fine coastal pictures by Alnwick club member Barry Robertson.

The evening was completed by two outstanding displays by club members. Geoffrey Bradford showed a fascinating and instructive display of extracts from a portfolio submitted for a photographic arts degree while Micheal Mundy presented a gallery of superb monochrome prints of street scenes and people pictures taken in Boston and Cape Cod.