The evening was separated into two distinct parts – a portrait of photographer Alice Austen given by Carol and then a revision of skills for long exposure images from Chris with, of course, a challenge for us.
Inspirational Photographer: Alice Austen 1866-1952
Carol gave us a real insight into the life and times of Alice Austen along with many examples from Alice’s archive. Alice was a pioneering photographer in the days when very few women were able to follow this pursuit, collecting over 8000 photographs during her lifetime – all meticulously recorded and stored.
Austen was born into a privileged and wealthy family on Statten Island, New York, where she lived for most of her life, beginning her photography at the age of 10 and becoming a proficient photographer by her 18th birthday. Her independent personality was evident in several ways. First, she travelled around freely with all her kit on a bicycle, secondly she was the first woman on the island to purchase and drive her own car, also travelling solo along the east coast of Europe and last, but by no means least, Alice was in a same sex relationship with Gertrude Tate, both living in the same house as her parents (who did not approve).
Austen is especially noted for her street photography capturing life in the Victorian era as well as her fascinating insight into the extensive immigration happening at the time, with all arrivals initially disembarking on Statten Island, close to Alice’s house. Following the stock market crash of 1929, Alice lost her wealth and privilege, ending her days destitute and separated by society from her partner; their dying wish of being buried together was denied.
This is an inspirational tale of determination and achievement. Further information and examples of Alice’s images is readily available from the Alice Austen’s House Museum and many other websites. There are many lessons we can all learn from this tenacious spirit and ability to overcome obstacles to success.
Many thanks to Carol for raising our awareness of this interesting photographer – the details were well researched and excellently presented with lots of relevant and informative photographic examples.
Long Exposure Challenge.
Last night Chris Andrews set a Challenge for the club to take some images using the technique of Long Exposure. This evening was a follow up to an excellent presentation from Joe Houghton who explained his love of photography using Long Exposures. His presentation included some of his wonderful award-winning images
Joe said he felt ‘Long Exposure gives Impact, Pre-visualisation, Surprise, Thought, and Consideration.’ It is our challenge to practice what we have learned and to present three images on May 4th to the club.
- We are to be able to think through the process and explain why we picked the subject we have chosen.
- Talk about the kit we have used.
- Discuss the settings we have used.
- Talk about what we have learned in the process.
To help us with this Chris refreshed our memories by leading us through a power-point showing the way to do long exposures, settings etc.
He discussed the camera kit that would be needed including tripods and filters.
Chris went into a description of Neutral Density filters showing us various examples and linked this to an extremely helpful chart which explained timings, exposure lengths and shutter speeds, aperture settings, and manual mode. Chris explained the difference between varying graduations of filter and the use of a Polarizing filter.
Chris finished his presentation by suggesting a website (in his opinion) offering good value filters and he mentioned the pitfalls of many filters. He discussed other extras that might be helpful such as a remote control for your camera, and extra rings which enable a filter to fit all your lenses.
Lastly Chris kindly suggested areas around Aylesbury where small waterfalls and weirs can be found.
The evening was very clearly planned, easy to understand and listen to and all elements of Long Exposure technique was covered. He finished by showing us some of his lovely images taken locally. The challenge is on!
Overall – another superb evening. Thanks also to Chris for masterminding the overall club programme.
Kathy & Carol