Alnwick and District Camera Club began its new season with a presentation by Richard Stent who has just commenced his second two-year term as club chairman.
Richard is a keen exponent of traditional monochrome film photography, developing and printing his pictures in his own darkroom.
He commenced his talk by showing pictures of his darkroom and explaining the various stages involved in processing film and prints. For those whose experience of photography is entirely digital, this kind of alchemy may seem to belong to another era but it still has its enthusiastic adherents.
A serious problem, however, is the decreasing availability of film, papers and chemicals. While Richard manages to track down specialist suppliers through the internet, stocks are often limited. For this reason, he has installed a freezer in his darkroom containing a large supply of film and printing paper that will keep him busy for years to come.
The second part of Richard’s talk dealt with the pictures themselves. Another of his enthusiasms is music so the first photographs he showed were of musical instruments and scenes from the amateur orchestra of which he is a member. A particularly fine set of images of the conductor demonstrated how effective monochrome can be in capturing the atmosphere of an occasion.
Richard also enjoys street photography, illustrated by a series of excellent pictures taken in Malta, Paris, Prague, Venice and places nearer to home.
A final series of long exposure pictures, capturing movement in a very dynamic way, was particularly impressive as, unlike the digital photographer, Richard has to wait until his pictures are processed to find out if they have been successful or not.
Liberally spiced with Richard’s good humour, this was an entertaining and enlightening evening, providing an excellent introduction, not only to film photography but also to the art of black and white photography in general.