'What Makes a Good Photograph?' 3 September 2019   
Standing in for the club Chairman, David Wilkinson welcomed everyone to the first meeting of the 2019-2020 season and said it was good to see so many potential new members.
AM RichardAvedonDavid said the season had already started with a bang as the members print exhibition had been opened a few days previously. The exhibition showed the high standard of photography by club members and he urged any that had not seen the exhibition to go along to the Devizes Museum. Due to Caroline Wright organising workshops and encouraging members who had never seen their images printed. David said that 25% of the print entries were from those in the club’s Beginners Group and some had also been awarded Highly Commended’s.

David then introduced tonight’s speaker Andrew Mills ARPS. Andrew has been a professional photographer for all his working life with a wide range of experience in advertising and commercial photography as well as studio work. AM ManRayHe has travelled widely and held many exhibitions of his photographs and now lectures in photography at degree level so is well qualified to give his opinion on what makes a good photograph.

Andrew explained that he was going to take us on a journey through some famous photographer’s work. Although the photographs he is about to show he regards as good or interesting they would probably not be marked highly in camera club competitions.
Many of the images were experimental in their time and were taken with the limited equipment available.
Early photography was regarded as an art and was mainly the prerogative of the wealthy aristocrats. The photographer had to have a good knowledge of chemistry, how a camera works  and how to take an image with the equipment of the time which was bulky and heavy. Setting up a plate camera took a long time and exposure could take several hours but nevertheless superb images were produced which have stood the test of time and are highly regarded today.
Great care was taken over posing and lighting studio images and photographers of the day managed to set up their equipment outdoors to record events and street scenes of the time.
Images showing the fashions, living conditions and events of the time are of great historic value. War scenes, industrial landscapes and street scenes were among the many images shown in the presentation also beautifully posed portraits that rival any taken today.
AM TianenmenLighting is very important as well as good composition but equally photographs need to catch a moment in time that can never be repeated.
Most images shown were in monochrome but coming more up to date there were some superb colour shots, many taken before the convenience of digital photography and modern equipment. Faster speeds now allow more scope to catch the action but the old photographers were very inventive and managed to photograph some amazing events.
Shown above is a stunning image 'Glass Tears' by Man-Ray taken in 1932 and above right is an early image of 'Marilyn Monroe by Richard Avedon.
Images were also shown by many living photographers such as Tim Flach & Richard Cook but images are still under copyright.

Andrew himself takes many candid shots portaying life and events in many countries and also superb wildlife images.
Shown left is a poignant moment taken in Tienenman Square, Beijing and shown right is one of Andrews many images of Romanian peasant folk going about their daily lives.
See Andrews website for many more images.

Many thanks to Andrew for sharing his knowledge and giving such an interesting and inspiring presentation. PM