Monday, 11 March 2013
Brr, we had a cold, wet weekend here, grey and sleety. Luckily, I had booked to attend a Yorkshire Photographic Union (YPU) event in Pontefract on Saturday. The YPU is the collective of all the local camera clubs in Yorkshire, and holds various competitions and events through the year. On Saturday, they had invited two excellent photographers to show their work and I was really interested to go along.
I find that looking at other people's work can be very inspiring; I always hope something will stick with me that will enable me to improve my own photography. I'm a member of a couple of local clubs, I subscribe to Digital Photo magazine and I enjoy going to photographic exhibitions and talks. I'm lucky that I live close to the National Media Museum and Bradford's Impressions Gallery, both of which host regular exhibitions.
Saturday's guest speakers were Ian Beesley and Margaret Salisbury. Ian is a Bradford-born professional photographer I have long admired. Since the 1970s, he has been documenting the decline of Britain's industrial sector and its impact on community. He is also course leader for the MA in Photography at Bolton University. He has published several books of his images and has pictures in the National Media Museum's collection. His (mainly monochrome) work is gritty yet poetic; I find it haunting and strangely moving.
Margaret Salisbury's work is completely different, very varied. She has a good eye for colour and composition and is quite adventurous in the way she presents her work. Some of her photos were monochrome with certain elements picked out in colour, a technique I resolved to try (on better photos than the one above!)
So - a day of close and rewarding observation and learning. And a small surprise... in the grounds of the venue, I found the Rosse Observatory, home of the West Yorkshire Astronomical Society whose aim is to enthuse the public by sharing their interest in astronomy. They hold club nights, open evenings and all manner of special events - recently linking up with the BBC Stargazing Live series. I guess I always thought that observatories were out on the moors, in wild, dark spots, and had huge dishes. But this one is in quite a built-up area and had just this little dome. I'd have loved to see inside.