Uncle Arthur’s slide night
What a great night!
Uncle Arthur’s slide night saw a large turn out of BPC members (include two new members – welcome Erika and Kevin) and visitors (at least 4 from my count) at our first meeting of the year.
We started a bit late, but in honour of the evening’s title, Arthur started proceedings with a wonderful recount of his recent trip to Italy in slides – mainly Venice, Florence and Rome. As he pointed out, the art was in travelling light, with only one lens on each of his two Nikon camera bodies (and a tripod). That meant more considered compositions, but the images were worth it. Once again, Arthur demonstrated the art of composition and simplicity in many of his images – both colour and monochrome – and in fact some images were recorded in both forms (the advantage of two camera bodies when you don’t have digital). A salient lesson for all of us in how to create the image rather than take a picture.
John presented some really fascinating slides, describing how he captured (with a net), cooled (in the fridge) and photographed butterflies in his light box (seemed to be has favourite tool) – 20 seconds is all you get! The picture of the dandelion seeds blowing in the wind – or at least stuck to a glass plate – demonstrated the art of illusion (Photoshop before we had Photoshop!). There were some interesting shots, and ideas for all of us. He also demonstrated how you can obtain different effects by mistreating your slides with flame – lovely bubbles! We might need to get James to request an article on both these topics for Camera Clips
We then had Ashley give us a new point of view. Ashley has only started taking slides in recent times – a slide newbie and loving it. There is a passion there that we all know and sometimes lose. We all know he likes angles and converging lines like bridges and buildings as well as some fascinating street life (no model fees to the buskers normally). He certainly had some good images, full of colour and interest. If we can only convince the judges of their merit…….but then thats another discussion. Whatever you do Ashley, don’t stop experimenting!
I presented a historical sequence of images (for me), starting with one Kodachrome image taken on an old Kodak Instamatic in January 1975 – square format, rounded corners, and holding up pretty well. When I got my first SLR in 1982 I shot a lot of Kodachrome over the years (mainly 64) and learnt much of my photography from the ground up, experimenting with things I liked to look at. The images presented ranged from plants (taken at low angles) to bugs landscapes (the 12 Apostles) to people (my wedding day 😀 and my eldest daughter at 1 year old) to events (like the first modern Adelaide Grand Prix in 1985 and the world Expo in Brisbane in 1988). The thing that emerged was that I evolved as a photographer, and that Kodachrome still had brilliant colours!
Jenny and Mark presented us with yet more ancient history – Mark in red speedos (is a certain politician channeling Mark?) and lots of hair (yes – its true!!!), Jenny with lots of fuzzy hair and bikinis (I see a red theme emerging here), their children, their houses (in the UK and NSW), their passions (Jenny and her home made kilns) and some interesting shots as they both experimented with photographic styles they’d seen (back lighting of people stands out) and a family growing up (there son on a playground horse)! This set of lively images brought home the fact that the pictures we take are record of our lives as well as representing our attempts at art.
Of course, our hobbies don’t always last, and Richards hobby of diving showed us how he spent a lot of time underwater capturing caves, fish, marine invertebrates and having fun – as well as taking risks (like going beyond the limits of your ropes, playing with sea snakes or trying to attract sharks). The image of his friend pretending to be caught by a giant clam was quite clever – but the thing that sticks in my mind is that his passion for photography and diving lived together beautifully – and produced superb images of a world we don’t see. We also saw that Richard still has the beard those slides recorded 🙂 – can you imagine him without it?
Julie and Ray presented an interesting set of slides that, like Mark and Jenny, showed both their family and their passion for photography. Julie gave us a selection of club photos from the early 90’s that included club outings – some memorable shots of weekend away outings which had a few long time club members in the mix. Of course, there were some images of a family growing up (including a young Ray), and some cute grand children (including a son who to me was a dead ringer for Ray!). Julie also showed us some attempts at close ups and nature, and despite her protestations, they were pretty good first efforts! Ray gave us some great images of life across the country – including Queensland and NSW. He also showed us that slides are not a dead end. There were quite a few images of the recent trip around the eastern states! On the historical side, there was even an image of the Sydney Opera House (not the Harbour Bridge as he said – your not that old Ray :D) under construction – now that dates him! It was interesting to note some of the older slide films that Ray had tried did not stand up well to the test of time – they had become almost monochrome.
As a young medical student, James did a stint in New Guinea. On the way out, he was handed and SLR and slide film by an uncle. The images he gave us were fascinating in many ways. Firstly, we saw a culture that was starting to move on from that frozen in time for centuries. The thatched houses were changing in their construction, the peoples clothes were changing from the loin cloth (on the women) and gourd on the mens genitalia (the ultimate cod piece – one size fits all according to James) and James interacting with the people (including some rather nice portraits and Dr James taking blood). The second fascinating part were the places – few of us have the chance to travel to remote mountain villages and interact with unique cultures now – let alone 30 years ago. The third was (as James said) that his pictures demonstrated that he was learning how to take pictures with a completely new device – his images looked a bit underexposed to me – and according to James, he also had lots of pictures heavily under or over exposed. Still – for us it showed us part of a journey in his life and evolution as a photographer, and that’s what it was all about.
Theo presented a number of quite interesting images mainly from Ursula that showed her studio shots (many detailed portraits of people) and some fascinating desktop shots. Its amazing how a coloured slinky spring, a bit of backlighting, and even the effect of ultraviolet light can change how we perceive an object. Perhaps we need a night of desktop shooting……
For those with an interest in remote Australia, Heather and Reg presented some inspiring images of their travels around Australia – many in the desert regions and remote regions of the country. We live in a stunning part of the world, and there is no doubt that the Connollys have experienced and recorded it. There were some stunning sunsets (sorry – but I’m a sucker for a good sunset 😉 ), images of the camps they set up, and even the ship where they met! One of the things you realise is that these images recorded for personal pleasure and a record are also very good images that we can all enjoy.
Eric showed us some of his travels to Spain – and gave us a history lesson at the same time. Eric’s knowledge of the history of the places he visited was impressive. The images of cathedrals that had been mosques that had been cathedrals were stunning, there were also fantastic walled castles, Roman aqueducts 4 and 5 stories above the ground, huge ships under construction in docks (in Gothenburg I think), and even a young Eric in his swimming trunks were fascinating. One of the images that really impressed me was of a building by Antoni Gaudi. For those that don’t know of this brilliant non-conformist architect, his buildings have Gothic and natural influences, resulting in complex rounded forms that challenge the way we think – a bit like some of the photographs we see at competition nights. For those interested, Eric shot a lot of his images with Fuji Sensia.
After the slides, we had plenty of nibbles and a chat……and you could see that it had been and enjoyable night from the discussions.
So, all in all, a great night of sharing our lives and passions. Its not the sort of images that we’d normally see – but interesting to find out how our fellow club members have evolved as photographers and people. The other thing is that slides are not dead – Ashley and Ray showed that! We still have a slides in our competition (one of the few clubs left that do).
Personally, I’m all for another slide night with Uncle Arthur!
BTW – for those that saw the abridged version of this – apologies – I hadn’t finished it and someone hit the publish button 😦
If anyone would like to scan their slides, we’d love to include a few if you can find the time.