• John Starzewski

An evening with Alan


Last night members had the pleasure of hearing Alan Harris reflect upon the nature of photography and he illustrated his talk by reference to some of the acknowledged masters of this sometimes misunderstood art.

The search for meaning and context in an image was a central aspect of Alans’ talk, and he believes that some club judges skew their comments largely to the technical aspects of a photograph. Of the images shown originated by masters like Martin Parr, Jane Bound, Chris Killip and others, Alan demonstrated that the technical aspects of an image can be secondary to the impact of the image and the creative intent behind it.

There are exceptions but a too rigid adherence to technical perfection cannot always substitute for creativity. As ever a balance is needed. The pleasure of a technically perfect photograph can be great but we were urged not to neglect creativity, this way we should be able to increase the impact of our work.

Alan therefore encouraged viewers to look through a picture and not at it. What does the image convey? Ask yourself that question and review your own work especially those pieces you consider did not match your intent accurately. That way lies learning and improvement of your art.

Framing was another aspect often neglected; does it direct you inward or outward? You have to decide what suits an image and how to achieve that.

A picture taken is a moment in time frozen for an instant and that can be used in a variety of ways to convey meaning despite the ephemeral nature of capturing a subject in a fraction of a second.

Finally Alan showed us some of his work in the Welsh valleys documenting aspects of post industrial decline and our recently lost heritage.


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