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6 minute read

RPS Yorkshire Documentary Photography Group

Val Mather LRPS, Yorkshire Documentary Sub-Group

I joined the group just after I slipped a disc in my back! Luckily, the people I met were easy-going and relaxed about the fact that I could only sit down for minutes at a time and, thereafter, I needed to pace up and down with my tea and biscuits.

We are a group of like-minded documentary photographers all based in Yorkshire, with no fixed agenda, but regularly seeking suggestions from members as to what they would like to see at, or contribute to, forthcoming meetings.

In March, the Chair of the Documentary Group, Mark Philips ARPS came to talk to us as part of his travels around each sub-group. The East Midlands Documentary Group have already written about his excellent presentation, so I will simply say it was informative, well received and very enjoyable.

To date, our meetings have focused on individual photography projects, with attendees offering constructive advice, and asking probing questions, to help the photographer delve deeper into his or her project and what it is that they wish to say through their images.

We also had Peter Mudd ARPS present his successful Documentary A Panel. He talked us through the challenges involved and the advice he received at an RPS advisory day. A number of members have achieved the LRPS and are considering attempting the ARPS - the group intends to support them in this.

At Christmas, members were asked to submit five images that “said” Christmas to them and these were shared with the group at the January meeting. In May, we held a photo walk around York and shared the images at the next meeting. It is always interesting to see what makes each photographer press the shutter and how we each “see” the same scene so differently. I personally found this creatively inspiring; on both occasions the variety of different images that were made generated enthusiastic debate.

The idea for Project Yorkshire came from a desire to work as a group on a shared project. We decided that a book or exhibition was something to aim for, but initially we should undertake a smaller project, so we settled on producing a set of images for an article in The Decisive Moment. I volunteered to put the idea forward, having written a couple of articles already for DM, and knowing how supportive they are of contributions from members. After a quick email, and follow up phone call, we received the green light.

The project presented both creative and technical challenges. How would we scope the project, and how would we, as a group, share our images between meetings? We tackled the creative issue by agreeing that we would limit member submissions to five images, all of which must have been taken in Yorkshire. We also produced a set of five categories to help people engage with the project as they saw fit:

1. Landscape / seascape / cityscape / architecture

2. A portrait of one or more persons

3. Recreational pursuits

4. Food

5. Open category

We shared images through a free Dropbox folder. We asked for each image to be given a title or caption and a short narrative. These appear on the following pages. At our July meeting we agreed which images should appear in the DM article.

As a group, I think we learned how to organise a shared project from a practical perspective. The results are visually engaging and thought provoking.

In our November meeting we intend sharing our entries to the DPOTY 2019 competition, successful or not!

Project Yorkshire Images

Judges, Great Yorkshire Show
Valerie Mather LRPS

These two Judges at the Great Yorkshire Show sum up for me, the traditions behind this event, which has been running since 1838.

National Railway Museum
Graham Evans LRPS

As a railway enthusiast I could not think of Yorkshire without including this world class museum.

Biker in Leeds
Dave Richardson LRPS

This image was taken as part of a project looking at Leeds and its people.

I am the leader of the pack
Lorraine Spittle LRPS

Scarborough Scooter rally Easter weekend 2019 Scarborough was filled to bursting with scooter enthusiasts.

The past and the present 
Lorraine Spittle LRPS

Taken in the 1930s themed Pickering station, part of the North Yorkshire moors steam railway.

It must have been some fall out
Lorraine Spittle LRPS

As I walked along the sea front at Scarborough, I saw this group of people, not one of them talking - it just looked as if they had fallen out.

York Minster
Dave Richardson LRPS

My submission of a cityscape - hopefully showing everyday happenings in our beautiful city of York!

First Date Meal
Dave Richardson LRPS

My favourite genre is street photography combined with people and I thought that this image caught my sense of humour.

Yorkshire sheep farmer at auction
Valerie Mather LRPS

I took this shot to record the stoicism and good humour of the Yorkshire farmers I have encountered at recent livestock auctions. Despite currently facing depressed market prices that threaten their continued existence, they manage to be cheery and eager to share their history and knowledge of the farming community they were born into.

Wetherby racecourse
Peter Mudd ARPS

They like their racing in Yorkshire and it provides a good opportunity for action and people photography - a combination which suits me perfectly.

Sheffield Station 
Peter Mudd ARPS

From 2002 onwards Sheffield Station has undergone significant regeneration. The station facade and approach are now extremely impressive, looking particularly splendid illuminated at night.

Salts Mill, Saltaire
Valerie Mather LRPS

A reminder of Yorkshire's industrial past. Now a retail/arts centre, the Mill, completed in 1853, was a giant in the British textiles industry: exporting worldwide until production ceased in 1986.

Flamborough Head
Graham Evans LRPS

I tried to capture the sweep of the cliffs on this fantastic headland.

Sun kissed Scarborough
Lorraine Spittle LRPS

A beautiful evening as the sun gently kisses the harbour and castle