Feel the Land – Photography & Emotion – Guest Speaker Astrid McGechan
Week 20 – 26 Attendees.
Astrid began her talk by explaining how she became interested in photography when her wedding photograph was repeatedly returned from a print shop showing the wrong colours. She bought a printer, scanner and camera to begin taking her own photographs and printing them. She was very inspired after attending a Steve Gosling Workshop, when he asked the students to consider “Why am I making this photograph”.
Astrid explained that this began to make her understand the elements that need to go into a photograph to help the photographer convey an emotion or a feeling to the observer. She said “We the photographers must understand what emotion we are hoping to show and how to achieve this. We must try to achieve some connection, that provokes, perhaps memories, thoughts and emotions.”
Astrid came to realise the power of her own photographs when she put on an exhibition in her local town, and a distressed woman viewer told her that the images shown conveyed a ‘sense of harmony, beauty and calm.’
Astrid’s images began to provoke more responses from people on Face Book and when she put on an exhibition of photographs of her locality she was delighted when an elderly man brought her his book of his poems after feeling a connection with one of her Autumn Leaves images. They were able to share their feelings for this concept.
Astrid explained how she began to integrate her art into her life instead of trying to fit her photography around her working life and family.
Don McCullin a well-known war photographer said “Photography for me isn’t about looking it’s about feeling. “
As Astrid said photography is not all about expensive equipment and techniques it is about grabbing your subject and catching it in a way that connects to people.
She talked about two techniques she uses. Open photography that shows images that make people ask questions about such as “What is that woman doing, why is she there?” She illustrated this piece of advice by showing us an image of hers of a woman sitting at the railway station, waiting for a train, solitary and quiet. This made Astrid ask herself these questions. An image can be something we can put our own story to.
The second technique was to use texture to make people feel part of an image, the use of black and white images to give atmosphere, cropping to bring an image closer for example of a rough sea. Cropping close to the waves helps the viewer feel the force of the waves and movement of the water. She also uses textured layers and double exposure to help convey texture and movement in her images.
During the second part of the talk Astrid went on to give useful techniques to convey feelings, by using strong S or Z shapes that can create a strong composition, and she will mix the imagery for example of Architecture, and Landscapes, by using some Intentional camera Movement. She also uses a deliberate defocusing of the of the camera to give a blurred feel to an image.
Astrid uses small projects to aid creativity and to illustrate her own feelings sometimes and to explore.
Her talk was very inspirational, many people in the club the asked questions and engaged in discussion following the presentation. The evening was very thought provoking. Astrid brought a new way of looking at photography and many new ideas. Her presentation was supported with excellent images as you can see.
End of Season Celebration
Presentations, Illustrated Summary of the Year, and a Quiz.