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The Focus Group Online Exhibition MAY 2020

John Bradshaw FRPS

A MISCELLANY OF MONO

Monochrome work has always been my favourite and perhaps 90% of my images are in that format. I have recently been searching through my extensive archive of digital images, and those on film from earlier times.

Most of those shown here have not been exhibited before and include conventional mono, film and digital Infra-red and some toned images. The images have been acquired in England, Scotland, Italy, Cyprus and the USA.

Nigel Chapman

SEASONS

The images presented were taken at various botanical gardens and woodland locations around the south of England throughout the seasons .

The textures, colours and designs so beautifully seen in botanical subjects have always appealed and hours spent walking through our many public gardens is both relaxing and absorbing.

For those interested I only carry a small but good quality compact camera, lightweight, especially useful at my age, very versatile and unobtrusive.

Pete Bamforth ARPS

HALIFAX AND SALTAIRE

The areas around Halifax and Saltaire have deep industrial roots but they are now in the process of expanding beyond their manufacturing past. Those roots can be seen everywhere in the gigantic factory complexes that produced not only for Britain but for the world. The measure of the riches produced by the North’s workers is evident not only in the scale of the industrial plants but also in the grandeur of civic and commercial buildings. But the heavy industries in textiles and carpets gradually disappeared and these communities had to find other ways of being viable. One of these ways was found in tourism.

Dean Clough

Dean Clough was once an enormous carpet-weaving complex. The half mile long, 1.25 million square foot plant was closed in the 80s. The mills now are home to commercial offices, a theatre, galleries, restaurants and an FM station.

Overhead Shapes and Grace

The Burdock Way road system forms a series of graceful curves high over the Hebble Valley in North Halifax close by the Dean Clough complex. By themselves they provide a great incentive for a photographer to come to this part of the city.

Halifax – The Lloyds Banking Group HQ

I had been told that “the Lloyds building in Halifax was my kind of thing” so I went to have a look. I only had an hour or so, so did not have much time to study the situation. I prowled around a bit and grabbed a few shots. I must go back sometime.

Contre-jour Cobbles

Cobbles have been a paving medium since pre-Roman times and their use continued well into the Victorian era. For me, they are especially photogenic in contre-jour where, polished by a century of use, they reflect the light so effectively. The starkness of the light brings out fascinating patterns.

SALTAIRE

Sir Titus Salt commissioned the Salt's Mill textile mill and constructed one of Britain’s first model villages to house its workers. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Inside the factory it is no longer spinning bobbins and clattering looms. All of that ceased in the 80’s. Now there are three art galleries , shops, diners and cafes (with great tea cakes). Much of the gallery space is occupied by works by the Bradford-born David Hockney.

It was the day of the town’s fair and although I’m not, normally, a “people photographer” I found the folk friendly and open to having their pictures taken.

Bill McKnight

A VIEW FROM THE EDGE

Landscape is my main photographic interest, preferably in the mountains or by the sea. Most of my images were taken in the West of Scotland, the Hebrides, the North of England and the Dingle Peninsular in Ireland.

As my age, and my knees restrict my movements I often find myself walking on the side of a river, a lake, or along the shore. Water is always changing sometimes calm giving rise to lovely reflections, sometimes raging bringing big waves and rushing waterfalls. It is these moods and changes that I try to capture.

Occasionally the sky is the picture and this takes precedence over the rest of the landscape. Colour can be a distraction and lessen the mood whereas monochrome can give you that sense of drama.

A sense of movement also adds to the mood of the image so when necessary I use the appropriate shutter speed.

It was Andre Kertez who said that “I do what I feel, that's all, I am an ordinary photographer working for his own pleasure. That's all I've ever done.”

Iain McGowan FRPS

SHELTER

The photographs displayed here are a selection from a panel of images covered by the one word title of 'shelter'.

The concise Oxford dictionary describes 'shelter' as a thing serving as shield or barrier against attack, danger, heat, wind etc; screen or cabin to keep off wind and rain; place of safety or immunity; shielded condition.

In other words 'shelter' can be a very loose term when referring to photographs and what those photographs are intending to say. This selection of images includes structures with the intention of protecting its occupants in urban, scenic or rural locations. There are hints of historical events, of possible happenings long forgotten, perhaps degrees of comfort or just a sense of relief on arrival at any given location.

All locations are photographed within England, Wales, Scotland and Western Ireland at varying times of the year.

Leigh Preston FRPS

EDINBURGH FESTIVAL

Images from the annual Edinburgh 'Fringe' festival. The performers are frequently seen, in outrageous costumes, acting in brief cameos , handing out 'flyers', trying to persuade tourists and visitors to go to their shows which are held in at least 40 venues across the city.

Costumes and characterisation are the draw for a photographer. I'm a regular visitor and I thoroughly enjoy a few days wandering up and down the High Street or The Mound finding 'fun' pictures, trying to get good backgrounds without resorting to adding anything later. It's more of a challenge to shoot 'straight', getting everything right 'in camera'.

Robert Heather

SLATE QUARRIES - NORTH WALES

The wheels are still, the valley hushed and grey

No more will men be working underground

The old remain, the young have gone away

There is no reason now for them to stay

The mine has closed and no jobs to be found

The wheels are still, the valley hushed and grey

Once there was hope, but that was yesterday;

Once there was singing, now there is no sound

The old remain, the young have gone away

With pride the miners suffered for their pay,

But now their pride within the mine has drowned

The wheels are still, the valley hushed and grey

The slag heap was a mountain built to stay

Now it has dwindled to a little mound

The old remain, the young have gone away

Now old men stare with eyes that seem to say:

“We had no life, though life was all around’;

The wheels are still, the valley hushed and grey,

The old remain, the young have gone away

Pit Closure

A villanelle by Colin Palfrey

Janey Devine FRPS

SURFACE TENSION

Water covers 71% of the earth’s surface, but accounts for only 0.02% of its mass.

96.5% of the earths water is held in oceans. It shapes our continents and dictates our climate. It evaporates and creates clouds, then condenses to provide rain and snow which form rivers and lakes, glaciers and groundwater storage.

But under 0.01% of our water ends up in rivers and freshwater lakes. Fresh water - essential for life - is extremely precious.

As civilisations developed across the world, access to water was necessary. Villages and towns grew up along riverbanks and shorelines.

Populations increased. Agriculture and farming swallowed up water. Industry greedily followed. Mighty rivers were dammed to produce electricity and to irrigate crops, leaving countries downstream dry and desperate. Wars broke out.

And all around us factories pump chemical rich, polluted effluent into our rivers, poisoning and killing life. Run off from agriculture add fertilisers and insecticides to the toxic mix.

Forests and trees transpire water back into the atmosphere, allowing clouds and rain to fall inland. But deforestation continues unchecked. Each year land roughly the size of England is turned into desert.

Third world countries use the river to clean up their natural waste. But plastic doesn’t disappear. Plastic bags and bottles now clog our water highways.

And yet, we who are privileged to live in our centrally heated houses with running water, electricity and wifi, we who jump in our cars and fly to all corners of the world, take water for granted. Like the oxygen we breathe.

Big mistake.

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