|'New Digital Adventure - Be Creative'|
This week we welcomed the return of Colin Harrison FRPS FBPE FIPF MPSA MPAGB MFIAP APAGB EFIAP/d1 to Devizes to present his talk entitled New Digital Adventure - Be Creative.
He started with an Audiovisual presentation showcasing some of his award winning images, before clarifying the meaning of the impressive array of letters after his name. He also gave us an insight into the process of qualifying for various distinctions by entering images into International Salons.
As a start to his Digital Adventure presentation, Colin listed a range of ways that we, as photographers, can be creative. Beginning with creating a mood when taking an image; through simple processing such as removing elements in the frame, converting to monochrome, and boosting colours; to creating montages and incorporating aspects of other images. As an example of combining pictures, he showed us an image of the front of a car and another of people looking at a large billboard. The combined image showed the car crashing through the billboard and causing damage to the pavement.
He ran through a range of images at a fairly fast pace, showing us the full range of his work. Many were fantasy images, many of which, he said, didn’t have much of plan but he just tried things out and filled spaces. These included petrol pumps in a shoot-out in a cityscape, skeletons playing billiards, a monorail going through a ruined abbey and aliens walking through a crop circle.
There were also many images of people in altered situations. Some portraits were given impact with a grungy look. Others provided a mood, such as a miner at a pit-head. Other were imbued with a sinister edge, such as an image of a pretty little girl in a cornfield, but with a ruined car and a ghostly house in the background - and crows flying around the house. He pointed out that the ghostly house was an image of an ornament for a fish tank! The crows were a repetitive theme in several of his images.
He also had some photo-journalistic images which had little creative processing but presented the mood of the moment. These particularly included images taken at repatriation ceremonies in Royal Wootton Bassett and at Remembrance Day parades.
Colin talked about the techniques that he uses, saying that almost all his images are taken hand-held and in JPG format. He uses Photoshop layers to combine images, and brushes to add effects such as spatter and grunge and to create the effect of snow.
He directed us to his website where he has some Hints and Tips for providing creative effects. He also uses Redfield Fractilius to provide high fractal effects, especially with flowers and fur. He said it is brilliant with beards!
Colin also told us that most of his base images are taken at events such as Steam Fairs and War Enactments. He was particularly enthusiastic about Comic-Con and the Ragged Victorians. Most of these events involve people in themed costumes which he can then use with elements from other images to create his own artistic pictures. He told us that he always tries to arrive at these events so that he can photograph the “performers” as they are arriving and before the crowds gather.
Colin showed us some of his new work which he has sent to this year’s Cork salon and for which he is awaiting the results. And to finish his presentation, Colin showed us another Audiovisual presentation of images taken in the canyons in USA to the music of Colours of the Wind from Pocahontas.
On behalf of the whole camera club, our chairman thanked Colin for a wonderful evening of creative imagery which is sure to have inspired us with new ideas for our own photography. DF
Images © Colin Harrison top left: 'Clock Watcher' Top right: Mystique Left; Alternative Transport Right: Portrait of Holly