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Vision

2o2o

A photographic view of the year 2020 by members of the RPS Contemporary Group

North


2020 Vision Published 2021 Contemporary Group North The Royal Photographic Society

Images and content in this book are the copyright of each individual photographer unless stated otherwise. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information or retrieval system without permission of the Editorial Team.

Editorial Team: Morris Gregory Lyn Newton Wendy North

Cover Design and Layout: Christine Pinnington

Printed: InPrint-Colour, Malton, Yorkshire


It seemed like an opportunity too good to miss, bringing together the year 2020 with 20:20 vision, an expression for what is accepted as being normal eyesight. The simple concept emerging from this was that each photographer would provide images, taken in 2020, representing their usual but individual photographic approach. Little did we know at the time that a pandemic virus would have such an impact on what we all consider to be normal. Morris Gregory

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Vision

2o2o


Foreword Connecting with the contemporary The year 2020 has been a year like no other. Wherever we live in the world, when the pandemic took hold we were thrust into a completely new experience of life. The year became a time of unprecedented change; a time when our connections with the world and with each other had to be reimagined, almost overnight, into a completely ‘new normal’. Whether we were connecting with our family, our friends, our homes or our environment, the pandemic created restrictions to all aspects of our previous life, not least to our movement and freedoms. It created personal and societal stress and chaos in almost equal measure and it forced us to reimagine our concepts of ‘connection’. Whether or not overtly present in our conscious mind, connections drive our photographic work. Sometimes in an obvious or literal way, other times in more subtle ways, but connections nonetheless. We see and connect with the world in our own unique way; nobody else sees exactly ‘what’ we see and nobody else sees exactly ‘how’ we see.

Although the original concept for “Vision 2020” was quite different from what it ultimately became in this year of Covid, it has instead become something far more revealing about the conscious mind of each contributing photographer. The collective portfolios, presented together as a single corpus, present a truly remarkable legacy for the benefit of future generations. A legacy that is a unique record of how 14 photographers from Contemporary Group North connected with the world during the year of the coronavirus. I am greatly honoured to have been asked to write this Foreword and I have no hesitation in recommending this work to our friends and colleagues in the Royal Photographic Society.

Simon Hill BA MA EFIAP FMPA FBIPP HonFRPS President Royal Photographic Society

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When we connect with the world and communicate that connection through a photograph, we are presenting a unique perspective. That photograph is not simply ‘of’ a person or a place or an event, it is something more personal; we are using narrative and metaphor to convey notions ‘about’ our connection with and place in the contemporary world.


About Contemporary Group North

Contemporary North is a thriving group of friendly, like-minded photographers who meet to share and support each other’s photographic ideas and projects. Our group can claim a rich tradition of promoting contemporary photography. It all began in 2000 when my husband, Michael Lee, started the first Contemporary Group subgroup.York Contemporary Photography met for several years at Impressions Gallery when it was in York, beginning with Dr Richard Sadler FRPS as our first speaker. After several years Nigel Tooby FRPS started the subgroup again in 2012, continuing to meet bi-monthly in York. Circumstances changed and we moved to Nigel’s art studio in Wakefield where for several years we enjoyed his hospitality and its creative atmosphere. Again on the move, we found an accommodating home at Clements Hall back in York. We were settled down very nicely until Covid struck. Our meetings are now on Zoom which does have its advantages, although we certainly do miss our cosy meeting room at Clements Hall. Not being constrained by geography has meant that we can join with other Contemporary Group members around the country, and indeed, Europe. We are able to see and engage with photographers who we wouldn’t have known before lockdown. Contemporary North is flourishing; we now have our own Newsletter on the Contemporary Group webpage. We are also trying out a new monthly format. These are exciting times for us, especially with the production of 2020 Vision. We owe our “subgroup’s subgroup”, our team of four members, many thanks and appreciation for their hard work and commitment in organising and producing this splendid book. Thanks to them we have something “real” to treasure, a reminder of our photographic visions during 2020. Patricia Ann Ruddle MA ARPS Organiser


Contents

Celine Alexander-Brown LRPS

6

Peter Bartlett ARPS

14

Mary P Crowther ARPS

22

Morris Gregory

30

Andrew Hobbs

38

Adrian James LRPS

46

Lyn Newton LRPS

54

Wendy North LRPS

62

Alexandra Prescott MA ARPS

70

Michael Rooke LRPS

78

Patricia Anne Ruddle MA ARPS

86

Harry Silcock

94

Jim Souper ARPS

102

Mick Yates ARPS

110


Celine Alexander-Brown LRPS My Journey through 2020

In such unprecedented times, and in part, confined to home and garden, l found myself re-connecting with the beauty of the natural world, opening my heart and my eyes to what was around me. Expressing my creativity and spirituality has been a valuable exercise for me. In a time of turmoil and great uncertainty, and the darkness of Covid-19, it has lifted my spirits and brought me solace and a sense of peace. It has been a source of hope, light, beauty and joy which has sustained me through these challenging times.


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Celine Alexander-Brown


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Celine Alexander-Brown


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Celine Alexander-Brown


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Celine Alexander-Brown


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Celine Alexander-Brown


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Celine Alexander-Brown


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Celine Alexander-Brown


Peter Bartlett

ARPS

2020 has been a difficult year for all. In many ways, I was lucky as it turned into a year of reflection, thought and, in some respects, renewal. Lockdowns and restrictions resulted in many artistic objectives not being met. On the other hand several unexpected opportunities arose directly because of the impacts of Covid-19. The time for reflection enabled me to map out a new artistic direction, to plan future projects and objectives that can be tackled once the freedom to get out and about with a camera returns. The images were all made during the first lockdown that started in March 2020 on my regular one hour exercise walks from my home in Lower Cumberworth, West Yorkshire.


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Peter Bartlett


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Peter Bartlett


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Peter Bartlett


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Peter Bartlett


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Peter Bartlett


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Peter Bartlett


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Peter Bartlett


Mary P Crowther ARPS The year 2020 has been ravaged by an unknown highly infectious disease, Coronavirus: Covid-19 High infectious mortality rates putting an enormous strain on our National Health Service, with personal welfare and the country’s economy also affected in immeasurable ways. Between March and December 2020 a web of restrictive regulations were imposed nationally through lockdowns and varied localised tier systems to try to alleviate the spread of the virus. Here are just a few momentary snapshots of some scenes seen across my local community. Imposed isolation periods, personal welfare, mental and physical health were a serious test of human strength and resilience. Mobile apps rapidly expanded with an array of functions for personalised information, tracking and trace. COVID-19 Vaccine: Tuesday 8th December 2020 at 06:30 GMT the first person in the world received the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine as part of a mass vaccination programme. We are approaching the end of a world pandemic.

Ironically this first image was one of the last photographs taken in the weeks preceding the national lockdown.


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Mary Crowther


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Mary Crowther


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Mary Crowther


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Mary Crowther


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Mary Crowther


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Mary Crowther


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Mary Crowther


Morris Gregory While the restrictions imposed upon us at various times constrained activities and limited travel, I did my best to carry on taking photographs in the same manner I would in normal circumstances. Over the last few years I have been drawn to what I call ‘intimate abstractions’, looking at details in the landscape to produce a personal photographic view. During 2020 I have continued on this path and the photographs presented here are an attempt to show the diversity of images that can be found quite locally, and also to reflect a range of moods and emotions experienced against the backdrop of the pandemic. They hopefully range in expression from the quiet and understated through to the joyful and exuberant, and in technique, from near representational to completely abstract. I was tempted to provide titles for each photograph but eventually decided to let the observer make their own mind up about them without being influenced by my own interpretation.


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Morris Gregory


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Morris Gregory


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Morris Gregory


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Morris Gregory


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Morris Gregory


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Morris Gregory


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Morris Gregory


Andrew Hobbs During the first months of the pandemic, we only walked from our house, not using our cars to travel any distance. Very quickly I began to compare this experience to those who lived in the area in previous centuries when most people had no other transport. We are very fortunate to live in a rural area that has changed very little for centuries with very little new building and most of that being part of existing farmsteads. The area is called Roughbirchworth and today is part of the parish of Oxspring in the Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley. It is an ancient agricultural area, mentioned in the Domesday Book, that has remained a collection of a small number of farmsteads. The village and amenities are in Oxspring in the valley. Walking daily across the fields provided the opportunity to look carefully at the landscape and its defining characteristics, which I photographed almost every day. I also began to research the history and to reflect on the lives of those who have lived and worked in the area to develop its characteristics. The 1893 OS Map of the area clearly identifies some of the main features of the landscape, especially the pathways and the boundaries of the fields, that maintain to this day the outline of the medieval strip system of farming. The names of various features and routes also have historic relationships to activities or places. For example, there was an iron age fort (marked on the OS Map as a ‘Camp’,) that later became the site of a Roman Fort and the origins of the name ‘Castle’ to be found in the area. Some of the farmsteads and farm buildings are now converted to housing, but retain the ancient names and characteristics. Farming practices have changed but the types of farming continues to be a mixture of dairy, sheep and arable. The images selected, of the many taken during 2020, are intended to present an introduction to the main characteristics of the area of Roughbirchworth and the history that remains visible today. All but two of the images are in monochrome to reflect the historic origins of the subject. The two exceptions are the first and final main photographs that show the landscape from different viewpoints and in different seasons.


The first landscapes show views of the fields of Roughbirchworth from which it is possible to see the long, narrow fields that can be traced back to the medieval strip system. The photographs were taken from the other side of the valley, looking across part of Oxspring. The two images overlap helping to show the length of the fields, as well as the hill behind. The final image looks in an easterly direction, across part of the fields still identified as ‘Roughbirchworth Common’ towards the Blackmoor Farmsteads. The ‘guide stoop’ (on this page) was erected in 1734 and is a hexagonal stone signpost that shows how Roughbirchworth was once the junction for several ancient routes connecting the east and west of England. The photograph with the sheep shows a remaining boundary stone, erected in 1756, when a long dispute over the boundary between the Oxspring and Hunshelf parishes was settled. The initials GB stand for Godfrey Bosville and his descendants, who were Lords of the Manor of Oxspring and other parishes in the area for several centuries. 39

The images of the gateposts and stone walls are a defining feature of the area. There is a wide variety of gateposts, some being large slabs of rock moved into position, whilst others have been shaped and decorated to give status to entrance ways. The damage to some of the posts illustrated, suggests that they may have been moved to their current position. It is possible to gain some indication of when a stone wall was erected from the stones used and how it was constructed. A farmer also said that it is possible to identify the builder of later walls from signature features of the construction. The packhorse bridge was on the ancient route that linked the east and west of the country that was an important salt route from the Cheshire salt mines. The present Willow Bridge structure dates from around 1734.

Guide Stoop

Gatepost Hole

Finally, as an interesting footnote in the year of the global pandemic of Covid 19, Roughbirchworth was the site of a Smallpox Isolation Hospital, built in 1896 because of an epidemic in the area. It existed until the early 1960’s used in later years for scarlet fever.

Andrew Hobbs


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Roughbirchworth Field System

Andrew Hobbs


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Boundary Stone

Andrew Hobbs


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Andrew Hobbs


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Andrew Hobbs


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Willow Bridge

Andrew Hobbs


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Autumn Dawn

Andrew Hobbs


Adrian James LRPS DISRUPTION To disrupt: v.trans. - to break or burst asunder; to disturb, interrupt, upset; unsettle; mix up. 2020 was a year of disruption like no other - Covid19, wild fires in Australia and California, storms and typhoons, George Floyd, Jacob Blake, Daniel Prude. It has seen disruption of many things at many levels, from the natural world to the human world. These two worlds occupy the same physical space but in many respects, the human race is only just beginning to realise the extent to which they are increasingly in conflict with one another. Human activity is leading to increasingly severe weather patterns world-wide and the consequential damage these wreak on the natural world and the human world. It is also increasingly encroaching on the natural world, causing environmental degradation and an increase in the occurrence of viruses such as COVID-19. The increasing impact of these disruptions urges us to think differently about both what we see and what we know, challenging the photographer to produce images that capture some of the many faces of disruption.

Black Lives . . . .


Lockdown - rush hour, A628(T) 47

Standing room only

Adrian James


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All washed up

Recycled

Lipsmacking...fast living...

Adrian James


Navajo Reservation 49

Wide open spaces

Adrian James


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Storm damage 4

Storm damage 5

When the bough breaks

Adrian James


May 2020

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Whirlpool

Adrian James


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Californian sky

Heather burning 1

Adrian James


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Heather burning 2

Adrian James


Lyn Newton LRPS A Word in Your Ear 2020 And so, 2020, on your watch, life changes over night - a new normality evolves. Loss of human touch, masked faces, neighbours avoiding each other in the street. Restrictions in movement. Fear as the rising death toll is intoned each day. And yet, 2020, despite all of that, you have given us a challenge - a chance to show our mettle, to go out and discover something different and worthwhile in the mess that is your year. Marcel Proust talks of a voyage of discovery which consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. So, confined to my local area I set myself a challenge - go out, with my new eyes, onto the nearby beach and see it as I have never seen it before. 2020, you are a year I do not want to see again, and although, you have passed, you will remain forever in the history books of the world. But what you did, for which we can be grateful, is force us to strip back all the unnecessary detritus and depend on our human resources of fortitude, resilience and creativity. A chance to take stock and re-evaluate. So begrudgingly, I thank you.


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Lyn Newton


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Lyn Newton


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Lyn Newton


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Lyn Newton


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Lyn Newton


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Lyn Newton


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Lyn Newton


Wendy North LRPS Memory and Loss My 2020 vision has been to use photography to share emotions, evoke a mood and tell a story. My story tracks the changes through the spring and summer of 2020 and starts with the brilliant light of May, when I spent so much time in the garden and ends in August in what became for me the darkest of days.


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Wendy North


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Wendy North


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Wendy North


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Wendy North


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Wendy North


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Wendy North


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Wendy North


Alexandra Prescott MA ARPS Cause and Effect - The COVID-19 Chapter I am a volunteer wildlife worker and constantly see the results of the unfair monopoly we believe we have of our planet’s resources. This year (2020), there has been little opportunity for personal action, only time for contemplation. A COVID-19 Chapter in my Cause & Effect* Project is a result of that contemplation. The COVID-19 Chapter Images on the following pages are allegories for the possible cause of the virus and the effects on the ecosystem.

*Cause & Effect The consequences of excessive use/disposal of plastic, habitat spoilage to game shooting and the demand for the rare and exotic as trophies and or food, are that the eco system suffers. As we encroach on habitats, we make survival harder for the incumbent residents. Whether because of poverty or culture, when society by inaction, encourages the use of the exotic as food, we encourage the transfer of viruses e.g., COVID-19 and Avian Flu. The cast in the ‘Cause & Effect’ images are from my Cabinet of Curiosities (a 16th Century Scholars tool to help turn chaos / the unknown into order) and props from the footprint of our developed culture.


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All that glisters is not gold

Alexandra Prescott


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The bat - A classical Chinese feng shui symbol for prosperity.

Alexandra Prescott


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Neither fish nor flesh, nor good red herring.

Alexandra Prescott


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Personal Protective Equipment Side Effects –1

Alexandra Prescott


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Personal Protective Equipment Side Effects –2

Alexandra Prescott


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Death on a Mink Farm

Alexandra Prescott


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Vanity of vanities. All is vanity.

Alexandra Prescott


Michael Rooke LRPS An island in lockdown “We see things not as they are, we see them as we are.” Morrie Camhi As a beautiful 2020 summer turned into a dark and gloomy autumn, the landscape changed, as did my mood. The early optimism that the pandemic would be over by Christmas turned to realism as we faced a winter of discipline and isolation. In October, for 12 days, I went out to familiar locations on the Isle of Wight with my camera, alone, and looked afresh at the landscape, bereft of the usual holiday visitors. Everything looked very different.


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Michael Rooke


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Michael Rooke


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Michael Rooke


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Michael Rooke


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Michael Rooke


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Michael Rooke


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Michael Rooke


Patricia Ann Ruddle MA ARPS A glorious day at the seaside during the summer when hope was on the horizon. Although no stranger to Scarborough, this was my first visit to North Bay. The day was cloudy and bright, and it was a joy to breathe in the fresh, crisp air. Lots to photograph from the rocky outcrops and rock pools to the long stretch of sands overlooked by Scarborough Castle. I found myself intrigued by the rocks at the edge of Scalby Mills, alongside the old sea defences that created a trickling weir. I’m no geologist, nor do I know one type of rock from another, but I was gob-smacked by the sheer variety of the different types – all in one short sweep of the beach. I scrambled up and down, here and there, taking many photos. This one day free from being cooped up in quarantine gave me a sense of contentment. The photographic process became meditative. These rocks connect to the past and to the future, with their many layers they display resilience in the face of a millennium of weathering. Their essence may be stability, but they also have the capability to evolve and adapt.


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Patricia Ann Ruddle


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Patricia Ann Ruddle


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Patricia Ann Ruddle


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Patricia Ann Ruddle


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Patricia Ann Ruddle


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Patricia Ann Ruddle


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Patricia Ann Ruddle


Harry Silcock I see myself as an observer of people who records a fleeting moment and that my photographs of them are a candid, unposed visual record. I prefer to go in close to seize the moment, because it is the only way to capture the kind of image I am after. Up close means being near to, or even entering the subject’s personal space, so it has to be done quickly and tactfully, and dare I say sometimes surreptitiously. Asking permission from the subject can take away the spontaneity of street photographs. A long lens is rarely part of my camera gear and most of my photographs are taken using a wide angle lens. Technical competence in operating the camera goes without saying, since I have no time to be focusing or adjusting my camera’s settings. Whilst moments in street photography usually happen quickly, at the same time I am looking for the quirky, the unusual and even the idiosyncratic. All this may seem simple, but it can often be difficult to do well. Whilst concentrating on the subject, I have to be acutely aware of everything going on around me. I consider every aspect of my photograph to be important, including those parts in the periphery of the frame. My aim is to compel the viewer to question the ordinary. I am capturing everyday moments, ideally in a way that make them appear to be surreal and sometimes even absurd. Different countries have their own rules about photographing people in the street, so it is wise to check this out first. Thankfully in the UK one can take photographs of people in open public spaces without fear of breaking the law. I have been taking photographs for over 65 years, yet I never cease to be fascinated by what I see in front of my camera.


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Harry Silcock


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Harry Silcock


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Harry Silcock


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Harry Silcock


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Harry Silcock


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Harry Silcock


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Harry Silcock


Jim Souper ARPS The Calder The flow of water can be both soothing and mesmerising. My first walks by the side of the River Calder were a means to boost my mental health and to explore a more mindful approach to photography. They became the catalyst for a project. The images shown here are the beginnings of that project. My intention is, over the next 18 months or so, to photograph the river along its full length, observing its history, flow and character.


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Jim Souper


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Jim Souper


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Jim Souper


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Jim Souper


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Jim Souper


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Jim Souper


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Jim Souper


Mick Yates ARPS Coronavirus UK The project combines a photograph taken daily during the Covid-19 crisis - either at home from the studio or during some personal exercise locally - with a news headline from that same morning. There is discordancy and often paradox between the headline and the photograph. Throughout lockdown, nature was always there, oblivious to our human, existential issues. Yet every day, nature was different, hour by hour. The light and the weather tell part of the story, as the daily photography reflected the routine of months of home-lockdown. There are 120 photographs, starting on March 16th when social distancing was imposed with the last from July 13th as the UK started opening up again. At the beginning of the pandemic, headlines had similarity. But, as time passed, partisan politics arose, particularly after the Dominic Cummings episode which affected public trust. On some occasions, I took photographs with a morning headline in mind. On others, I let my daily walk drive the photograph, a flâneur on the local byways. The intent was never to be predictable.


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Mick Yates


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Mick Yates


If you would like more information about Contemporary Group North Contact Patricia A Ruddle, Group Organiser email: patriciaruddle@btinternet.com

The Royal Photographic Society RPS House 337 Paintworks Arnos Vale Bristol BS4 3AR Tel: 0117 316 4450 email: info@rps.org www.rps.org VAT Registration No. GB 753 3057 41 Registered Charity No. 1107831


It seemed like an opportunity too good to miss, bringing together the year 2020 with 20:20 vision, an expression for what is accepted as being normal eyesight. The simple concept emerging from this was that each photographer would provide images, taken in 2020, representing their usual but individual photographic approach. Little did we know at the time that a pandemic virus would have such an impact on what we all consider to be normal. Morris Gregory

Profile for Royal Photographic Society

2020Vision : Connecting with the contemporary  

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