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In this issue we are shown the art of capturing movement, and in two quite different scenarios: one in street photography and the other in the studio. We also see just how captivating and beautiful the natural world is - from trees and woodland to what might usually be overlooked corners of a stream. Finally we are shown how imagination, creativity and technical prowess can bring distinction successes.

4 Glasgow Field Trip

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6 Houghton Hall Field trip and photo competition results 8 One-Sixth of a Second and Poetry in Motion by Steve Geer ARPS 10 The Girl Who Photographs Trees by Marion Sidebottom ARPS 12 The Story of Blue Zoom by John Jennings ARPS 13 Distinctions

General Secretary Gillian Beckett ARPS CPAGB

Exhibition and Events Co-ordinator Moira Ellice ARPS Exhibition Secretary Matthew Clarke BPE3*

Steve Varman, Editor


Treasurer and Webmaster Barry Collin LRPS CPAGB APAGB

Vice Chairman and Assistant Exhibition Co-ordinator Nigel Rea ARPS

I would like to take the opportunity to say a big thank you to everyone who joined me for the Bristol Harbourside photo walk last month, and to all who joined the photo walks at Houghton Hall and Glasgow (competition results for Bristol and Glasgow in the next issue). I find spending time with fellow photographers the most enjoyable part of a photo walk - I just need to remember to take more photos!


Chairman Moira Ellice ARPS

Membership Secretary Bill Coles LRPS Publications Editor and Facebook Administrator Steve Varman LRPS

flickr Flickr Or search Flickr for Creative or RPS Contact: David Ryland ARPS

Archivist Barry Freeman ARPS DPAGB APAGB

Editor: Steve Varman

Cover image: Snake Eyes by David Rutter ARPS


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22 Diary

© 2019 All rights reserved. Apart from storage and viewing in its entirety for personal reference, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without prior permission of the copyright holder. The Royal Photographic Society, the Creative Eye Group and the Editor accept no liability for the misuse of any content or for any breach of copyright by a contributor. The views expressed in this magazine do not necessarily reflect the policies of the Royal Photographic Society or the Creative Eye Group. Unless otherwise indicated, all images are from, and copyright of, the authors.

Tell us about your stories, projects and distinction successes. If you would like to submit something for consideration, for either the eNewsletter or Creative Eye magazine, please contact Steve Varman at: Next issue: January 2020 Submission deadline: Nov 30 2019

The Royal Photographic Society, RPS House, 337 Paintworks, Arnos Vale, Bristol, BS4 3AR, UK t +44 (0)117 3164450 VAT Registration No. GB 753 3057 41 Registered Charity No. 1107831






he Members’ Open Day in June was well supported and started with a talk by Ann Miles FRPS on producing photo books with Lightroom. Several members brought along impressive and beautifully created samples of their books for display. After a break, Ann described how to use various creative techniques to improve images. In the afternoon, Kevin Maskell FRPS gave a talk about his recent work, which included exquisite prints of water droplets on leaves photographed in his garden. David and Joan Jordan presented the Edinburgh and Kew Botanic Garden field trips and photo competition, projecting all the images taken on the trips, including candid shots of participants. Colin and Christine Prickett talked about their recent “Breaking Out” exhibition. With all their hard work and help from friends, their exhibition was a great success and well worth the effort. The afternoon continued with members and the discussion group members displaying their recent Distinction successes, latest projects and new work. Field trips in Glasgow, Greenwich, Norfolk and Bristol were blessed with

fine weather – albeit, 34ºC at Greenwich was a bit of a challenge. These events provided splendid opportunities for networking with fellow photographers and for making new friends. Thanks to Margaret Rainey, David and Joan Jordan, Jeremy Rodwell and Steve Varman for all their hard work organising the trips. Please see detailed comments from member Clive Watkins (p.4), who attended the Glasgow trip, and our guest judge for the Houghton Hall and Gardens photo competition, Professor Falconbridge (p.6). If you are interested in organising a field trip in your region or chapter, please contact me. While spending a few days in Bristol to join Steve Varman and participants on the photo walk along the Harbourside, I took the opportunity to visit the Society’s new Headquarters. RPS House is situated in the former Paintworks complex in Bristol’s creative quarter and just a few steps from the Martin Parr Foundation. With its impressive state-of-the-art building and first-class facilities, it offers members and visitors amazing opportunities. The Space Steps: The Moon and Beyond was excellent and superbly curated. Many

congratulations to the organisers and exhibition team. With a lecture by Vanda Ralevska at Whittlesford, lectures by Roger and Angela Ford at the Smethwick Photographic Society and a field trip in Edinburgh to look forward to in October, please keep an eye on the forthcoming events in the diary page of the Creative Eye magazine (p.22), the event page on the Group’s website and the RPS Journal and website. The AGM and Exhibition Selection Day will be on Sunday 1st March at Whittlesford and we have husband and wife team, Roger and Judith Parry, as our 2020 Exhibition selectors. Roger and Judith, both exceptional photographers and highly regarded in the photography world, regularly give lectures and judge competitions and exhibitions in the UK and Europe, and we are truly honoured to welcome them to our selection day next year. Meanwhile, I wish you continued enjoyment with your photography.

Moira Bristol Photo Walk





grew up in the 70’s with photography all around me. Both my father and my grandfather were keen amateur photographers. Every family holiday or event was lovingly documented and curated in boxes of Kodachrome slides which were then regularly loaded into holders and projected for the family’s viewing pleasure. As well as the slides there were also the stacks and stacks of black & white prints on Ilford paper. I clearly remember the purpose-built darkroom in the loft of our house in Staffordshire even though I could only have been 5 or 6 years old. I recall the magic of the images appearing in plastic trays under a red glow. I wasn’t a prolific child photographer, but something of those early experiences with the basic Praktica MTL-5 35mm camera, gifted to me by grandad, eventually blossomed into a serious hobby. A 2-year secondment to Canada starting in 2003 with my young family resulted in the purchase of a Canon 300D and a couple of lenses. Not only did I document family life for relatives back in the UK, but I also began to get heavily involved in the first online photography communities, sharing ideas, techniques and joining in with photographic competitions. On my return to the UK I resisted the lure of the camera club for several years, until in 2010 I finally succumbed and joined Townend Camera Club near Irvine in South West Scotland. After only a couple of seasons, I found myself chairing the club. One of the things that originally put me off joining a club was some of the previous bad experiences I had witnessed watching other people’s images being judged. Unfortunately, those misgivings were tested almost immediately at Townend. Rather than leave, I decided to try to change things from the inside. I took part in a Scottish Photographic Federation judge selection day where I was accepted and allowed to be set loose on the camera club circuit. I now judge regularly across the west of Scotland and occasionally beyond. This year I joined the RPS. After a 4

long time on the camera club scene I found myself looking to broaden my photographic horizons. I appreciate the variety of styles and approaches encouraged and supported by the society and I felt a particularly strong attraction to the Creative Eye Group. The fact that the Chair of the Creative Eye Group, Moira Ellice ARPS, was running a field trip in Glasgow on Saturday 22nd June was a bonus! So, on a warm (for Glasgow) Saturday morning I met Moira, along with 8 others, outside the Gallery of Modern Art. After exchanging pleasantries, Moira’s husband, Neill, kindly bought us all a much-needed coffee to get us perked up and ready to hit the streets. Margaret Rainey FRPS had previously scouted our route around the city so we were well prepared for a productive day’s shooting. We set off, cameras at the ready. A few of our number had travelled quite some distance for the event: Margaret Kay ARPS (from Edinburgh), John Stewart (from north of Aberdeen), and Kirsten Bax (from Sanquhar) had travelled the furthest. John Davies, Carol Gracie, Fiona McFetridge and myself were all relatively local to Glasgow. After a wander through Exchange Square, Margaret steered us down the pedestrianised

Buchanan Street, already beginning to bustle with shoppers and buskers. With its combination of impressive Victorian architecture, modern urban design and narrow lanes accommodating interesting little shops, there was plenty to see. Turning left, we headed through the opulent Argyll Arcade, Glasgow’s jewellery centre. Then, to see some iconic Scottish murals in the entrance to Sloans Bar and Restaurant in a courtyard off of Argyle Street. Irn Bru, Tunnocks tea cakes and the classic Glaswegian chat-up exchange… “You Dancin? Are Ye Askin?” all emblazoned in vivid colours on the walls of the tunnel leading into the courtyard. Even with a smallish group it isn’t easy to keep everyone together, especially when individuals start to get into the creative zone. So, by this stage, our little group was already somewhat fragmented. Some of us continued across the road to St Enoch’s square. With the massive glass fronted shopping centre on one side, the square itself is dominated by the old Victorian subway station (now a coffee shop)


contrasting with the modern metal & glass replacements structure opposite. Back across to Argyle Street we strode up the busy pavement, stopping briefly to admire the carved strong men holding up a balcony above an ornate doorway, before slipping into Mitchell Street. Another mural, taking up the entire gable end of a four-story block, greeted us. An enormous painting of a young woman with a magnifying glass, hand outstretched, fingers poised to pick up an unsuspecting passer-by. In my case a suitable subject rolled into frame in the shape of a chap on a bicycle. Not quite the decisive moment perhaps, but I did feel strangely satisfied in capturing the amusing juxtaposition. We met a stylish young man in Doc Martin boots with little dog on a bright yellow lead. Moira asked him if he would mind posing for a photograph, to which he cheerfully obliged. A very useful reminder that street photography doesn’t have to be candid. Encountering more murals to explore and juxtapose, we continued our way down Mitchell Street to The Lighthouse, Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture. The splendid Charles Rennie Mackintosh designed 6-story tower was once used as the offices of the Glasgow Herald newspaper. From the viewing platform, reached via a helical staircase, those of us with a head for heights, the energy and the knees to climb, took in the uninterrupted vistas afforded to us of the city. Feeling a little peckish and in need of a well-earned rest, we all met up at 1pm

back where we started, at the Gallery of Modern Art. Time to sit back and get to know each other a little better, discuss our morning and exchange thoughts and ideas over a coffee and sandwich. We didn’t have long though before the urge to continue our exploration took over again, along with some gentle encouragement from Moira. Fiona suggested the Italian Centre in the Merchant City for some modern architecture, clean lines and water features. The sky was beginning to cloud up at this point, although it mercifully remained dry. Kirsten was on the hunt to show the contrast between old and modern architecture, of which there is plenty to be found towards the Old Fruit Market. The ominous sky was now giving a dramatic backdrop to our compositions. From the Church of St. Andrews on the Square to the Tollbooth Steeple at Glasgow Cross, there was no shortage of interesting buildings, in various states of (dis)repair. Heading toward Glasgow Green, the built landscape gave way to open parkland. Kirsten and I headed down towards the river as the sun momentarily broke through, shedding warm afternoon light onto the bridge and the water. Opportunity here for more people watching. Old folk enjoying a natter on a park bench, dog walkers relaxing in the peace and quiet away from the city.

As we headed back towards Glasgow Cross Kirsten and I met up with Fiona and stopped for a cup of tea in a café on Argyle Street. After another good chat, Kirsten had to say cheerio and head towards the station to catch the train for her long journey back to Sanquhar. Feeling refreshed, Fiona and I made our way briskly northwards up the steep hill towards the City of Glasgow College. The campus, built in 2010, is particularly impressive with a boldness


and deftness in the handling of space, form and detailing. There were so many shapes, lines and forms to work with, that despite the rather flat light, there were still unlimited compositions to be found. With time ticking on we both decided to call it a day and we headed back down the hill to meet the others at the Cross at our allotted 4pm rendezvous time. We all agreed that it had been an excellent field trip and we thanked Moira for organising it, Neill for getting her to Glasgow from Ipswich, and to Margaret for the suggested routes and points of interest. We all walked back towards the city centre with people heading off home in their separate ways. By the time we made it to the Drum & Monkey only Moira, Neill and myself remained for a well-earned libation before I too had to head to the station to catch my train home to Troon.


I am currently putting together a Group Archive. I am collecting the data from all sources and hope that members will help to make it comprehensive. The archive will include minutes of important meetings, financial statements, Group magazines, etc. We have a good collection of the magazines, but certain issues are missing. Two/three magazines were published each year from c. 1990. The title up to the Spring of 2014 was ‘Creative Newsʼ and after from issue 29 it became the ‘Creative Eyeʼ. We are now at issue 80. The following magazine issues we are missing: Noʼs 18, 16, 15, 6, 4, 3, 2 & 1 Can members help to fill the gaps in our magazine collection and send any other items which may be of historical interest? Contact: Tel: 01379 668749



Judged by: Prof. Brian Falconbridge PPRBS


s an arena for creating photographic images, with works by Henry Moore in the house and in the grounds, this year at Houghton Hall and Gardens the challenges and the opportunities are magnified. Scope for image making, in closely scrutinising individual sculptures or in exploring the relationship between the sculpture and its context, are boundless be it in contrived landscape or against the grandeur of imposing eighteenth century architecture. Linked to considerations of sheer scale, orientation to land or open sky, close texture or distant vista, the task is to select and capture an image – of necessity with some urgency - to offer a creative comment on what is there, to draw attention to an original interpretation and to give fresh insight to the familiar. Entries submitted this year reflect the broad range of possible responses using all these strategies. Choosing winners and selecting an order of merit is, selfevidently, a challenging task. Nevertheless, decide I must and the works I have chosen illustrate particular merits that form an individual creative visual statement, each with its own authority and all indicating a keen awareness of mise-en-scène.


1st Place

Figure in wood by Pat Atter

For presenting an ethereal landscape with a high horizon incorporating trees and shadows as regular vertical and horizontal elements. This backcloth is used as a setting for the contrasting, delicately poised and organic white ’figure’ whose sense of movement and stark white surface is complemented by blackbirds in flight (reminiscent of van Gogh’s Wheatfield with Crows). The composition combines both rigid structure and division and free movement, using a carefully reduced palette and selective tonal contrast to successfully create a memorable image with its own atmosphere of mystery and drama.

2nd Place

Houghton Moore Edge by Sue Reid

For creating an image of deceptive simplicity of shape and colour, origin and association. Ambiguity of scale and substance combine two clearly delineated contrasting elements, with the upper and larger section conveying flux and flow, with the lower section conveying more earthy fixedness. Although while in contrasting colours of orange and grey, both compositional elements carry much the same rhythm of mark-making as continuity. In its way, the image is both the feel of ancient lava on sumptuous velour and the landscape of the shoreline and sunlit water at a liminal ‘edge’. CREATIVE EYE GROUP MAGAZINE NO. 80 September 2019

3rd Place

Reclining Figure - A Pinhole Vista by Jeremy Rodwell ARPS

There are times when ‘old’ technology can still be radical and this is one of them. The device of the pinhole camera, perhaps all too sadly ignored now, offers an exquisite delicacy and subtlety of image, obliging time to look and encouragement to see. Compositionally, the white sculpture of the reclining figure addresses the bush it faces – and perhaps vice versa? Similarly architectural elements such as the line of steps have succeeded in draping into the figure and movement has become stillness, with the low camera angle ensuring strategic tonal contrast and emphasis and with the flat lawn as stage setting.

Highly commended

SkySpace - Seen in Green by Moira Ellice ARPS

The lone standing figure in environmental sculpture “Skyspace: Seldom Seen” by James Turrell is nuanced as ‘seen in green’. The image is strictly symmetrical in composition and intriguingly ambiguous in content. Many readings become possible. i.e. on solitariness, or on the act of facing away or even the implications of the theatrical and zoomorphic where the side panels becoming wing-like against the figure! But perhaps the intention as implied in the title is the exaltation of particular colour. Recognising the importance given to green, vectors direct the onlooker to the vibrant use of the colour green in the jacket and shoes as the focal element. All the more strikingly so against the muted, almost drab greys, whites and browns, it is both seen in green and scene in green.

Highly commended

Classics in Contrast by Nigel Rea ARPS

For an image of robust sheer extremes of scale and without distraction, in this case foreshortening proposes the radical elimination of spatial depth, linking the Hall to a sculpture in the grounds where we glimpse the apex of the cornice and the standing figure on high made Lilliputian by the close juxtaposition with the upper section of Moore’s unlikely Gulliver, the Large Reclining Figure.






here is something wonderful about a great photograph of life on the street. I think it’s because we humans are naturally nosy. We like to stare, absorb the details and imagine the facts, but on the street, we don’t have permission to stare. All we get is a glimpse. The great thing about a street photograph is that we have permission to stare. In 2017 I started to experiment with motion-blurred street photography – the sort where the camera is fixed in place and the subjects are moving. I was using motion-blur to eliminate the very detail that we like to stare at in a street photograph, but I reasoned that the resulting images would have 8

a look and feel closer to the glimpse we might get of strangers on the street. My theory was that, with less detail, there would be more room for the viewer’s imagination to wander – more imagination space. Well, it was only a theory, but the great thing about theories is that they drive us to experiment and when we experiment, we learn. The first thing I learnt was that to simulate a glimpse I needed just the right amount of motion-blur to eliminate just the right amount of detail. I was taking close-up images of pedestrians with a wide-angle lens. I found that a shutter speed of 1/6 of a second created photographs with a strong glimpse-like impression of the subject. The resulting images also led

to a discovery. When we walk, some parts of us move more rapidly than other parts. One leg, for example, will be stationary while the other is in full swing. Motion-blur, which is produced by the camera’s technology, makes this evident. It shows us the way we move and renders this movement in graceful arcs and soft brush strokes. In ancient times, the Roman poet Horace famously said: “A picture is a poem without words.” In that sense, motion-blur renders the poetry of motion. Some of the photographs in OneSixth of a Second are single shots. Others are combinations of two or more images from a sequence of


exposures. Their highly structured compositions encourage us, as viewers, to invent a story and, by inventing a story, create a meaning – at least, that is my intent. Poetry is, after all, supposed to encourage us to seek its meaning. Poems usually have titles. I considered possible titles for my motion-blurred images. I thought of using the instructions that tell musicians how to play a piece of music. Thus, an image of people walking slowly might be called Andante, and one in which there is some agitated and threatening action might be labelled Agitato minaccioso,

or the movement of a fast march Allegro. In the end I decided that these “understand the title and move on” labels were a bad idea. Indeed, any title that restricted the viewer’s freedom to interpret the image seemed to me to be a bad idea. I therefore decided to label the images untitled, not to denote the absence of a title, but rather as an active declaration – these images are untitled! Photographer and filmmaker Elliott Erwitt once said of photography: “I've found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”


All of the photographs in the series One-Sixth of a Second were taken in Chicago. That’s where I live, in the heart of the windy city. I am represented at the Perspective Gallery of Fine Art Photography in Evanston, a town just north of Chicago. To see more of my work, please visit:




am a member of the Creative, Landscape and East Anglian Groups although I rarely get to the meetings. I joined the RPS in 2015, achieved my LRPS in June 2016, and ARPS in June 2018. I have an art and science background, studying both at University, along with photography. This fusion of disciplines greatly influences my photographic work and world view which I hope gives me a more unique viewpoint. Although photography is currently my focus, I also create work in glass and mixed media as time allows. I live in Burnham-on-Crouch in Essex and worked as a Project Officer designing tourist interpretation boards and maps for tourist hubs in the Dengie. Whilst researching the maps, I spent a lot of time on Google Earth looking at the Essex coastline. I find the saltmarsh patterns stunningly beautiful, so for my 50th birthday last year I did a two hour trip in a 2 seater Cessna photographing the coastline. I had to hang my camera out of the window and ask the pilot to bank right each time I took a picture as the window had restricted opening. Although I got some interesting pictures, I was unprepared for the cold, wind and motion sickness! I take part in the Burnham Art Trail each year and am also their volunteer photographer. I describe myself as a Biophiliac, Dendrophiliac and Arbtographer, which basically means I have an innate love of natures and its connections, and in particular trees, which I have made my photographic specialism. In 2017, I was awarded Arts Council England funding to be the artist-inresidence in Epping Forest for a year, working in partnership with the City of London. My project was called ‘You Can’t See the Trees for the Woods’ during which I took portraits of significant trees in Epping Forest before they undergo environmental change and I also documented people who live, work, study and visit the forest. This resulted in 2 solo exhibitions in Epping Forest which were also shown along with additional work at RHS Hyde Hall last November. My work was featured in the RPS Journal in March 2018 and I also got my 5 minutes of fame on BBC London News. I knew the picture below of an ancient oak in Epping Forest was special due to the reactions of people at my exhibitions, and this was confirmed when it won second place in the Action Oak category of IGPOTY. I also was awarded Finalist and Highly Commended for two additional images. The Action Oak category was perfect for me, as it combines my love of trees and nature with photography and conservation and proceeds from the sale of the book ‘Celebrating our Oaks’ goes towards research into threats to oak trees. My photography has taken me to places and enabled me to meet people that I would have never imagined. A few times I have had to kick myself and question how I ended up at a silver service dinner in the Chief Commoners Parlour at Guildhall, a champagne reception at Kew Gardens and recording a program on BBC Radio 3 with one of my favourite authors. I am currently between projects and work as a commission photographer for various organisations such 10


as the Woodland Trust. I wouldn’t say that project and commission work is the easiest path as the work is not regular and project funding can be hard to come by. In the meantime, I do other jobs such as grape picking, factory working and exam invigilation. This Spring and Autumn I am teaching small group Woodland Photography Workshops at Epping Forest, Hatfield Forest and Danbury Woods in Essex. I am also offering 1:2:1 photography tuition in East Essex. My aim for 2019 is to increase my income from photography but as I hope you will have gathered from this article, the passion for my work is much more important to me than money as a motivator for what I do. Opposite page from top to bottom: Oak Tree Reflection from the series Epping Forest Seasons. Tollesbury Saltmarsh. Grass Seed Circle. Left: Jules, Volunteer Keeper & Resident from the series Tree Stories of Epping Forest. Below: Oak, Barn Hoppitt from the series Ancient Tree Portraits in Epping Forest. All images Š Marion Sidebottom ARPS

More details about my projects, commission work and workshops can be found at: Twitter @Marionseye Facebook & Instagram @Marionseyephotography




Last month’s issue (No.79) celebrated the Creative Eye Group’s annual exhibition. For the cover we chose Blue Zoom from the many eye catching images chosen by our selector, William Cheung FRPS. This month, John Jennings gives us an insight into how Blue Zoom was created. - Editor


y ARPS Statement of Intent made a point of capturing a sense of a dancer’s movement in camera, limiting post-processing to tonal adjustments, tidying of backgrounds and cropping. After 6 months work, I reached a point at which I thought I needed one last image to go in the centre of the panel, and I wanted to try something along the lines of what became “Blue Zoom”. I subscribe to Purpleport, a website designed to host portfolios and provide communication channels between photographers, make-up artists, studios, models and dancers. When Ayla’s name appeared in my inbox, already booked for a shoot with another photographer in my home town of St Albans, I arranged to book both her and the Maltings Theatre in the town centre for a shoot. The theatre was nearly ideal for the purpose, having a dark, grey vinyl floorcovering on the stage, a dark grey curtain at the back and banks of overhead stage floodlights already set up, giving Ayla plenty of room to travel from left to right. I brought two of my own speedlights and “modifiers” and set them up near Ayla’s


start and finish points, trying to restrict the amount of light spilling onto the floor and curtain. I put a 24-70mm f2.8 zoom on my Nikon D800, mounted it on a tripod and tethered it to the laptop. You can see the setup from the accompanying photos. I started at f5.6 and 3 seconds shutter speed, reduced it to f11, and then f22 for 2 seconds, over the course of 20 minutes tinkering. I also adjusted the speedlights’ power and position/angle during this time. I brought Ayla onto the stage and between us we developed the movement for the shot. The whole process for this shot took about an hour. When I took my panel for an ARPS Advisory day, I was told that Blue Zoom didn’t fit with the rest of my panel as well as I had hoped. As I had been able to create some other images with Ayla on the day, this happily did not prove too much of a setback. My intention had been to use minimal post-processing for my panel, but the finished shot I entered for the Creative Eye Group’s Annual Exhibition took quite a few hours’ of work. My original mistake was in not preventing light spilling onto the back curtain, thinking that I was fixing that by under-exposing the raw file, and believing it would be straightforward to eliminate the stripes caused by the folds in the curtain. Usually that might be true, but here, once I had correct exposure on Ayla, the curtain folds were very visible through the blue, blurry organza.





had walked past this stream in Pembrokeshire many times. It was only when one autumn day I spotted that there were quite a few colourful leaves on rocks in the stream that I decided to get my boots wet and have a look closeup. That first day piqued my interest; after that when in Pembrokeshire I started to get up before dawn to catch an hour or two in the stream before breakfast. With time I came to appreciate the patterns within the flow of water; eddies, standing waves and interference patterns all made interesting subjects. I found that shooting from just the right angle was important to capture the best reflected light. Although I had used a macro lens for my first images, I switched to using my 85mm tilt-shift lens. Using tilt enabled me to achieve the maximum subject sharpness whilst shooting from an angle to the subject. I tried using a polariser, but in most cases found it to be unnecessary as I could control reflections by choosing the right viewpoint. Very few of the images required a neutral density filter as most were taken in relatively low light. As the project developed, I realised that it might have potential to develop into an ARPS submission. Luckily, almost all of my work had been in 5x4 format, portrait orientation, my favourite format for

intimate landscape and abstract imagery. Also, being fairly abstract in nature, I was able to subtly change colours or flip images. This made it relatively easy to fit the images into a panel. I developed the format for the panel on screen as a collection within Lightroom. I had taken groups of images at different times of year and in different conditions. Some, in cloudy weather, were almost monochrome. Some, taken in summer as the early light hit the tree canopy, produced strong yellow/greens interspersed with blue from the sky. Others, taken in ‘blue hour’ before dawn, were almost monochromatic blue. Leaves also added a colourful note. I formed sets of images according to their prevailing colours and then arranged them so that the overall panel would have a sense of design. I then used Lightroom to compare opposing pairs of images to refine their colours and tones so that they balanced. I committed myself to showing the panel at an informal distinctions advisory session organised as part of the Landscape Group’s conference. I printed the images at 30x24 cm (I was later to learn that this is slightly larger than the normally recommended size) as I personally find this is just right for a 5x4 portrait format image in a 50x40 mount. I was relieved that


At Rest

Into the Mix


the images were very well received at the advisory session. It was recommended that I replace one rather abstract image and reprint a couple to tone down the highlights. Replacing just the one image proved problematic as I just couldn’t make the panel work with any of my potential alternatives. In the end I took one new image to replace it. I also found an image lurking in my Lightroom catalogue that with processing proved to be one of my favourites, so I rearranged the layout



to accommodate it, replacing a print that I had never quite been happy with. One of the best things about the advisory session is that it had given

me confidence that my ideas for the panel layout worked; I thus felt happy to rearrange the panel without seeking further input.

The assessment session itself went really well, with all of the assessors voicing very positive comments – a relief after all the hard work!


The Shard


Opposite page from top right, clockwise: Disruption, The Evil Eye, River’s Jewel, Bow Wave, Blue Water #1, Water Spirit

STATEMENT OF INTENT Caught in the flow


My inspiration evolved from childhood holidays, when I spent many happy hours playing in the river whilst my father was fishing. Now, many years later, I have rekindled that fascination with the gentle flow of water over rocks. These images were captured in a small stream in Pembrokeshire. Limiting myself to three short sections, I visited repeatedly from before dawn to after dusk to best capture the light and reflections. The solitude and limited subject matter encouraged me to concentrate on small details, finding angles where the prevailing light would amplify and enhance the patterns in the water. My aim was to capture the patterns in the flow, surface tension, interactions with rocks and leaves, and the reflected colours of the woodland canopy and the sky above. In this way although I show only small sections of the water, the woodland environment is verymuch present.




aving taken early retirement in mid-2016, one of the things on my To Do list – now that I finally had the time – was to have a crack at the FRPS. Only some 19 years after my ARPS, so probably high time! Choosing subject matter was a hard one. RPS Assessors see everything; repeatedly. How to find something that wouldn’t bore them rigid, and would successfully pique their interest? I felt that 16

showing them something new could be half the battle, so I thought about what I’ve been learning in recent years about creating Digital Art from my images. That has involved becoming proficient with Photoshop, and also learning some ‘new technology’ around what can be achieved with processing on iPhone and iPad. Long story short – being a fan of both abstract photography, and architectural photography, I decided to combine

them, and see how much further I could push things by digital processing. I called my panel “Abstracts Squared”, because I was starting from abstract images, then further abstracting them digitally. I decided to represent this symbolically by producing square images, and also made the creative decision to go monochrome, to emphasize purer shapes and lines. The bulk of the images were taken in 2017 around the City


1) Original image

2) Tangle effect

3) Fragmented

4) Original image

of London, King’s Cross and Docklands, where modern architecture proliferates. Glass, chrome, steel and concrete were my raw materials, which were shot abstractly then experimented upon with various iPad apps. The number of ‘artistic’ apps available is legion, so part of finding a process was to whittle down which one(s) worked for me to create a look that I liked, in making my images even more abstract. A lot of experimentation brought me to TangledFX and Fragment. Each of these is multi-faceted and complex in its own right, and almost infinite variations in processing are possible, so again, a lot of time and trials went into finding which particular settings used in which particular combinations gave me a look that I found interesting. I also discovered along the way that a totally abstracted version of the original was unrecognisable




1) Original image

as anything at all, so I decided to ‘dial it back’ a bit, by layering and masking the iPad processed version with the Photoshop one, to leave some element of the architecture intact and recognisable. This gives the eye something to connect with, and lets you wonder about the rest of the image. Ultimately, I found a process from Lightroom to Photoshop to iPad to Photoshop, which created an “abstract-squared” version of my original image, and then I applied this process to about 30 images, from which I chose those for my panel. Going square and monochrome helped achieve a consistent look across the panel, and printing was done on Fotospeed Platinum Etching paper, then mounted in white mounts. I’m pleased to say my panel went through all stages of the FRPS assessment cleanly in 2018, and is now shared on the FRPS Galleries section of the RPS website.

2) Tangle effect

3) Fragmented

4) Final image

I’ve been an enthusiast photographer for more years than I care to think about. I shoot pretty much anything, except ‘people’, who are entirely too unpredictable for my liking! In recent years, I began to want to ‘do more’ with my images, and took online courses in digital artistry, learning Photoshop in depth. I now combine photography and digital art in creating my imagery. My work can be found at




Snake Eyes



t has taken three submissions to achieve my ARPS distinction which started when I attended a camera club presentation of ICM (international camera movement) in early 2018. I trotted off to capture Abstract London with evening blends of neon and ambient using various combinations of zooming, spinning, and panning whilst focussing on people or cars or buses or theatres or any combination of subjects my camera could find. Creating abstract images in this way is great fun and under the illusion that my fun would miraculously transform into a distinction I duly presented my panel in October 2018. It did not go well. I received my

failure letter shortly after and the words were along the lines of “if this style of photography is continued the images should be more consistent in style” so taking this as a BIG negative I ditched ICM. Shortly after my fail a camera club competition of “Curves” led me to try to create the classic image of an egg balanced in the cradle formed between two intertwined forks. This worked well so it was with 15 different combinations of eggs on cutlery on black acrylic with a dark background (and some bubbles blown over the images for good measure!) that my next presentation was assessed in March 2019. My failure letter this time was however hugely positive with words



of “excellent technical ability and presentation the photographer is encouraged to continue with this style and introduce variation to their work” – I’d got everything right but there was simply a lack of variation. Hindsight is a wonderful thing of course but sometimes it takes a panel of RPS Assessors to point out the obvious! Inspired by my rejection letter my third panel was planned carefully; I drew fifteen squares on paper and sketched images of raw eggs, breaking eggs, cooked eggs, boxed eggs, eggs formed into flowers, eggs formed into snakes, etc., etc. I gave consideration to the direction of light and shade and balanced

the visual weight of each image to create a fun and varied panel – key word here – “varied”. In June 2019 my assessment went very differently to the previous two – the assessors acknowledged the creative process I had gone through, saw the humour, recognised the quality of presentation and technical aspects but most of all saw the variation in abundance with limited subject matter. So over a year after starting it was quite an emotional moment when the Chairperson called my name and announced a recommendation for an ARPS distinction and it’s corny I know but I did respond with the classic phrase – “I am Eggstatic” – well what else could I say ?

Photographs by David Rutter ARPS






DIARY MEMBERS’ 2019 EXHIBITION When: Thursday 5th to Thursday 26th September 2019


Time: Thursday evenings 7.00pm to 9.30pm or by appointment.

When: Wednesday 30th October to Wednesday 30th November 2019

Where: Smethwick Photographic Society, The Old School House, Churchbridge, Oldbury B69 2AS, UK

Wednesday evenings from 7.00pm or by appointment.

Event Organiser: Judith Parry ARPS

Where: Edinburgh Photographic Society, 68 Great King Street, Edinburgh EH3 6QU, UK Enquiries: Sandy Cleland FRPS

Telephone: 01314 274224

Telephone: 01968 676271



‘The Experience of Creating Images’ and ‘Time to Stand and Stare’ When: Sunday 6th October 2019 (10.30 to 4.00pm)

Our Exhibition Selectors will be Roger Parry ARPS and Judith Parry ARPS

Cost: RPS Member £10.00, Non-member £15.00

When: Sunday 1st March 2020 (10.30am to 4.00pm)

Where: Whittlesford Memorial Hall, Mill Lane, Whittlesford, Cambridge CB22 4NE, UK

Where: Whittlesford Memorial Hall, Mill Lane, Whittlesford, Cambridge CB22 4NE, UK

Please see enclosed booking form or visit the RPS Creative Eye Group’s website for details.

For details, please see the Events page on the RPS Creative Eye Group’s website.



‘Movement and Moment’ and ‘People and Places’

Displaying the 2020 Print and Projected Image Exhibition

When: Thursday 24th October 2019 (7.00pm to 9.30pm)

When: Saturday 4th to Monday 13th April 2020. 11.00am to 4.00pm (Please note: The Galleries closed Monday 6th and Tuesday 7th)

Where: Smethwick Photographic Society, The Old School House, Churchbridge, Oldbury B69 2AS, UK Cost: Members £3.00 Non-members £4.00 on the door. Enquiries: Judith Parry ARPS

Where: Wingfield Barns, Church Road,Wingfield, Suffolk IP21 5RA, UK

Telephone: 01314 274224

CREATIVE EYE GROUP FIELD TRIP: EDINBURGH A photo walk, exploring historic Dean Village and the surrounding area. The day also includes a visit to the London Salon of Prints Exhibition at the Edinburgh Photographic Society in Great King Street. When: Saturday 26th October 2019, 10.30am to 5.00pm

CREATIVE EYE GROUP MEMBERS’ OPEN DAY When: Sunday 7th June 2020 (10.30am to 4.00pm) Cost: RPS member £10.00, Non-member £15.00 Where: Whittlesford Memorial Hall, Mill Lane, Whittlesford, Cambridge CB22 4NE, UK For details, please see the Events page on the RPS Creative Eye Group’s website.

Where: Dean Village, Edinburgh EH3 7UA, UK. Meet at Dean Bridge, Queensferry Road, Edinburgh EH3 7UA, UK For details, please see the Events page on the RPS Creative Eye Group’s website.




Ancient Beech Roots from the series Epping Forest Seasons © Marion Sidebottom ARPS

Triangles by David Harris ARPS


The Shining Serpent by David Harris ARPS


THANKS FOR READING ...and a big thank you to this edition’s contributors. We welcome submissions from Creative Eye Group members, so if you have a distinction success, story, image or a project that you would like to share, please let us know. Feedback is very welcome and gratefully received, please send your comments and suggestions to the editor.

CONTACTS Steve Varman (Editor) Website

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Profile for Royal Photographic Society

RPS Creative Eye Group Magazine September 2019  

Includes Reviews of Field Trips - Glasgow; Houghton Hall competition winners, The Poetry of Motion (Chicago) by Steve Geer ARPS, The story o...

RPS Creative Eye Group Magazine September 2019  

Includes Reviews of Field Trips - Glasgow; Houghton Hall competition winners, The Poetry of Motion (Chicago) by Steve Geer ARPS, The story o...