This week we had a super presentation from one of the most successful club photographers, Adrian Lines. Adrian didn’t really get interested in photography until 2006 but such is his talent, enthusiasm and energy that he has now gained more awards than those with long careers. MPAGB, the highest standard of the PAGB awards. FBPE, held by only a dozen or so individuals requires an incredible number of successes in BPE competitions, not to mention FIAP and RPS distinctions. So rapidly has he ascended the awards ladder that his distinctions listed in our programme are out-of-date, despite revision a few weeks ago!

Adrian had already made many excellent natural history and documentary photographs when he began to make composites and it with these that his successes began to pile up! He had a fascinating animated slide show showing us how he had created some of his first successful images (and unsuccessful ones). What really wowed the audience was that he handed round many of his prints and those who don’t go to exhibitions had their first look at Adrian’s work up close and were just amazed at the detail and quality of the work. Adrian prefers prints and last night we could see clearly why, only a print can do justice to high quality work.

There were a number of points which Adrian mentioned, some just in passing, that I think we might learn from.

Firstly, he talks to his subjects. This is how he gets that engaging look. Shots from a distance using telephoto lenses often lack that if the subject is one person.

He uses mainly one lens now. Many of us are creaking under the weight of too much, too heavy, gear. One lens is not just lighter but, carefully chosen to suit your style, soon becomes so much a part of your working that you never need to be peeking through the viewfinder, you know what your shot is going to be!

“Cutting out” quality and accuracy is far less important in doing montages than carefully blending, texturing, shading and getting perspective etc right. It is all about perception and convincing the viewer.

Printing is a good thing. It is, after all, the ultimate expression of our photography. You cannot beat the look and feel of a high quality print. It is not subject to the vagaries of projection or website presentation or a magazine picture editors constraints but your true artistic artefact.

We must get more people printing!

Thanks Adrian for a great evening.