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Barry Collin LRPS
Having joined Chelmsford Camera Club in 1991, I started to take photography more seriously, taking photographs for their artistic quality rather than just snapshots or holiday reminders. Holiday slides can become interesting too!
After retirement in 1996 I attended courses at Southend College over 3 years, firstly on City & Guilds Photography and then on Photoshop digital photography.
From 1998 to 2012 I was President of Chelmsford Camera Club and on the Executive Committee of the East Anglia Federation of Photographic Societies. I am currently Chairman and Webmaster of the Royal Photographic Society’s Creative Group.
Many people are of the firm opinion that photography is not an art, just a method of recording “what was there” and art should be left to the painters and sculptors.
Both photographers and artists often make exact reproductions of their objects and scenes where accuracy is called for, but I cannot see why the one but not the other should be allowed to develop their work further and produce a creative end result.
In my opinion, a camera is a tool which I use for different purposes. For example, I carry one in the car to record the scene should I be unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident, and I use one when out with the grandchildren to record our happy times together. But a camera is also a tool I can use to express feelings and emotions in an image which I wish to share with those who look at my work, and for this I use my skills as a photographer when taking the image and when using post-capture treatment to make my own interpretation of the picture.
Before digital photography, I used a darkroom to produce my own monochrome and colour photographs. This enabled me to enhance the mood of a scene, to bring out the subtle tones in a subject, to place the emphasis on different aspects of the scene by (say) the use of light and shade, or by focussing on one object while blurring others, and thus improving the artistic quality of a photographic print.
Digital photography has widened the scope for this artistic creativity, putting an end to the use and disposal of harmful chemicals, film and water. It is also much easier to work in colour and the choice of presentation is greater: monochrome or colour, prints, digital slides or handheld devices. I still use “straight” photography for many subjects such as animals and wildlife and some city- and land-scapes, but I enjoy the freedom I have to express other genres using other techniques.
No matter what digital effects I use, the end result is created solely from my own original photographs.
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