Alnwick, Camera Club

The Tenantry Column in Alnwick by Jane Coltman

Street photography was the subject of Dave Mason’s presentation at Alnwick and District Camera Club.

Now living in the Canterbury area, Dave has spent most of his life in South London, which provided plenty opportunity to photograph the people around him. His aim has been “finding the extraordinary in the ordinary in documenting the surreal happenings on city streets”.

Dave’s first sequence of pictures, Borrowed Art, was of people photographed against posters and graffiti. Many were humorous, while others offered social comment, but all were incredibly well seen and composed.

Dave likes all his pictures to tell a story. None is posed and he does not add or remove details digitally. Many of his most successful pictures are monochrome as he only uses colour where it adds something to the overall effect.

His next series, titled The Moment in homage to Henri Cartier-Bresson, resulted from Dave’s close observation of people, enabling him to capture telling postures and facial expressions in a very natural way.

He seldom engages directly with his subjects, taking pictures with a small, inconspicuous camera, but demonstrates a clear empathy with them. Even in his most amusing images, you do not feel that he is mocking his subjects, but simply enjoying the humour of the situation.

To achieve good results he often observes people at a distance and waits until they are quite near before seizing the moment to get the picture.

Different viewpoints provide different opportunities, as he demonstrated with pictures taken through shop windows and from the top of a bus.

A series of pictures under the title Galleries recorded people in relation to works of art. This included a set showing people who matched in some way the pictures they were looking at, a good example of Dave’s ability to see something extraordinary where most would pass by.

He continued with a wide selection of pictures taken in the UK and abroad. All shared his ability to seek out something unusual, engaging and often amusing.

He concluded his highly entertaining and inspiring presentation with The Main Event, dealing with pictures at festivals and parades. He finds that the best pictures are at the beginning or end of an event when the crowds disperse and the main participants become more relaxed.

The events covered ranged from the Lord Mayor’s Show to Gay Pride and zombie gatherings, a good reflection of the wonderful diversity of humanity that provides Dave with his subject matter.

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