My interpretation of Annie Leibovitz’s black and white study of pebbles.
Week 5, PAW, Brighton and Hove Camera Club
If I’d taken this image today, I would not be breaking the law. If I take it from tomorrow (16 February 2009), I may well be. Why? It includes images of members of HM forces, albeit in a ceremonial role. From tomorrow when the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 comes into force, capturing images including members of HM Forces, the intelligence services (how will I know?) and police officers can be considered illegal.
I should make it quite clear I have no problems in legislation that helps to fight terrorism. I watched in horror on 9/11; I spent a nerve wracking three hours on 7th July 2005 waiting to hear my husband was safe in London and a fortnight later on 21 July, I was in London on the day of the failed bombings and had to seek shelter in my organisation’s offices for over five hours, until it was considered safe to travel. However, I believe in considered, intelligent legislation; legislation that doesn’t over react.
Since the London bombings it has become increasingly uncomfortable to take photographs in public places. I personally haven’t been stopped, but I’ve been in a situation where police officers have become uneasy about the public taking pictures (and this was at a sporting event – the Tour of Britain). I’m now very reluctant to use my DSLR in London or any other major city and would only do so at what are considered known tourist attractions. I like to capture the spontaneous, the unusual, but to do so in London now I’d only use a more discrete compact, point and shoot. Unfortunately, the point and shoot I have doesn’t have the capabilities of my DSLR, thus reducing my ability to try to create a good image.
We wait to see how the law will be applied. It is quite absurd to think that tourists in London could be stopped for taking pictures of changing the guard at Buckingham Palace or the guards at Horse Guard’s Parade or the Palace of Westminster because the images include soldiers or police officers. Yes, I want to live in a safe country and one that takes every reasonable step to make it so. But the emphasis is on the word reasonable.
Last night was camera club night and my first competition. It was a bit like going back to school or university and sitting an exam. As this is the entry group of the club, everyone gets a point at least (or bronze) and so far no one has had their imaged passed (or not given any points).
The first few images were great, given silvers and golds. Then came my first entry – Peace. The judge stood back, ummed at bit, mentioned the ‘anti-nuclear’ symbol formed by the shadow; he recognised the strong colours, but then came the killer line – ‘nicely spotted, but of no particular interest, Bronze’. Ouch. I wasn’t expecting to waltz in and sweep the board, but I still felt a bit deflated.
My second image (Urban Jungle) was up fairly soon after the first. A totally different reaction. It follows the style of Man Ray (apparently), with strong lines and observation. The composition leads you into the picture and the colours harmonise. It almost got a Gold, but not quite a ‘high end’ Silver instead. Of the two images I do think this is the better one.
After the break there was time to analyse a few of the images the judge had found difficult. Peace was among them. This critique was so useful. My original image was generally liked (someone even suggested I should consider putting it up for stock selling). Then the judge started to play about with cropping it to make it an image to stand out. It was amazing. I wish I’d had the nerve to crop in really tight. Here are a couple of crops.
I’m already thinking what to submit next. I’m really hacked off though as the next meeting date has been changed and I can’t go because of work. There may be a way round it, I’ll see.
I’ve recently joined my local camera club (Brighton and Hove). It’s an active group with a really diverse membership. Next week I’m entering a couple of images into my first competition. It’s the B or entry group, so the competition isn’t as rigorous and the judging also involves useful feedback and critique.
Up to now I haven’t printed many of my images. As next week’s competition is print only I’ve spent today trawling through my library trying to select something worthy of entering. It’s not been easy. I have far too many average images which need weeding out and once printed I’ve found they take on a different quality and I’ve been doubting their worth.
I have selected a couple. Not the ones I originally had in mind, but this will really be a suck and see experience and I have nothing to lose.
The first is Urban Jungle. I spotted these trees while walking along the Thames south bank in the City of London. I’m relatively happy with the composition and colours, but would like the lighting to have made the image pop a bit more.
The second is Peace. I caught this one on a Brittany Ferries ship last summer. The life belt makes a striking shadow on the deck. I like the strong colours in this one. The colour of the sea has come out rather differently to the onscreen image.