OPS Weekly Newsletter 10 December

  • Project Group: Please contact Phil if you are interested in joining a mutually supportive Project Group. You would have seen his email earlier this week: “I forgot to mention last night that we used to have a small group that met to discuss and share project ideas. As projects progressed/completed we sought of fizzled out, but if you have any interest in participating in a resurrected group, please let me know and I will co-ordinate it. Also, If anyone would like a copy of the information slides from last night, please ask.”
  • Do visit our photo exhibition at the Central Library, 228, The Westgate, Queen St, Oxford OX1 1PE. It run until 20 December. Not many more shopping days left…
  1. Last week’s meeting – Turning Photos into Books with Michele Peters and A look at Project work and a look at AI with Phil Joyce.
Michele has produced some 45 photo books. She has produced for various purposes; as a souvenir, a present, a thank you, but primarily she doesn’t want her photos to sit on her computer gathering digital dust, she wants to share them with others.
In the past Michele had list of steps she would diligently follow to produce the photobook:
  1. Take photo
  2. Set theme
  3. Choose printing company
  4. Choose book format
  5. Select photos
  6. Proof read and edit
  7. Order
  8. Enjoy
This list worked very well for her but as she got more experienced with curating her photobooks she became less ‘linear’ and more ‘organic/creative’ in her process. Instead of having a collection of photos which could be part of a theme, she has the theme/s decided and takes photos with the theme/s in mind. This is much more purposeful, and she has to think about the quantity and variety of photographs she has to take around each theme. She has to consider how the images will sit together and the text and labelling of the images.
The choice of printing company is now set to Blurb which has a lot of choice in terms of type of paper and she has her favourite.
Now on to the selection: besides fitting the theme they need to work with other images. They must serve the purpose of the project, build a context or tell a story – and they have to be technologically competent. Key is to the choices is being selective and critical.
Proof reading is important (note to self when writing this newsletter) and she tends to get others to proof read, though others have been known to miss things.
The format to the book is the starting point, it determines the space and shape she has to work with. Michele will experiment with the layout, sequence the photos, leave space for text if needed, will avoid having a page blank as she paying for a blank page. She will pay much attention to the images that work well for the front and the back and also the first and the last page.
Michele is now working on the theme of Diversity in the UK urban spaces. She is using the Government’s ‘protected characteristics’ which are:
  • age
  • gender reassignment
  • being married or in a civil partnership
  • being pregnant or on maternity leave
  • disability
  • race including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation
It is against the law to discriminate against anyone who has these ‘protected characteristics’. See here: https://www.gov.uk/discrimination-your-rights#:~:text=disability,sex
This is quite an ambitious project and Michele showed some of her images which, at the moment of this new project, are work in progress.
Watch this space as Michele builds this fascinating and important project to fruition.
In the second half Phil gave us a very interesting and instructive presentation on the Photographic Project. If you are bored, fed up with the photos you’re taking it does mean you need a new camera, a new lens, an updated version of your editing software – you need a PROJECT to work on.
And the first question you have to answer is the most important and in many case the most difficult: what are you interested in? If your project is about something you are not all that interested in you will not stay the distance. But if you have ambitions with your photography and the subject is something you are interested in then you have a fighting chance of success.
The next step is the SMART step. SMART stands for Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic and Timely.
Specific: what is the topic? the focus? what is going to be accomplished? what is include/excluded? what will it look like? Write all these down.
Measurable: set yourself goals, targets, deadlines.
Achievable Realistic: do you have the experience? Time? Knowledge? Skills? Access? Equipment? Funds? Etc.
Timely: the start date, finished date, time of year, time suitable for the particpants.
Will your project involve others? Who are they? What do you want them to do? Do they know you? How can you build trust? What will be the boundaries?
Once you have all this together then you need to start pitching your idea and meet with your participants to agree the boundaries and the expectations.
That’s the theory. Phil then showed us three projects he is currently working on:
Dynevor Gardening Association, the Volunteers of the Didcot Railway Centre and the Keepers of the Cotswold Wildlife Park.
The photos of course were superb and showed Phil’s photography at its best. He covered just about every angle required to illustrate the people and the context they are working in.
Many thanks to Michele and Phil for an excellent evening in all respects.
  1. Next week’s meeting Tuesday 12 December: In the Footsteps of Shackleton with Eddy Lane
The wildlife, frozen landscapes and history from two expeditions to the Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica.
  1. Upcoming meetings in December and January
Tuesday 19 December: Christmas Club Night
A social evening where we will run our second group event of sharing and viewing each others images 4/6 per table. And maybe some mince pies and a glass of fizz. Run by Helen Webb
Happy Christmas. And farewell to our first half of the season.
Tuesday 2 January 2024: Show and Tell with Helen Stewart for the first half of the evening
Tonight we have a presentation in two parts from one of our lady members Helen who will be showing and talking about her images from two recent trips to very different locations, Greenland and Paris. This will be in the first half of the evening the second half is over to the rest of you to bring in images on a USB to present on the evening
Tuesday 9 January: Wildlife Photography Part 3 – My month in the Falkland Islands with Tracey Lund
A welcome return of Tracy Lund. This talk is all about my months tour around the Falkland Islands. I will take you on the journey of all the Islands I visited along with the wildlife I photographed with some stories along the way.
This presentation is being don via ZOOM into the silver band Hall
Tuesday 16 January: A Walk Around Oxford
Tonight we will be doing something different we will meet in Oxford at 19.30 (Venue to be Confirmed) with our cameras to take some night time photography you choose:”Light trails” for” long exposure”, “Street life after dark”, “Buildings” and “Shadows”, basically anything goes. Meet back up at 21.00 for a coffee or a beer and wander off again for some last shots before heading home.
Park and ride is probably the easiest thing for people to do.
We will then show maximum 10 images the following week as a show and tell with a difference.
Tuesday 23 January: Show and Tell from the previous weeks “Walk around Oxford”
Tonight we will hold the full evening to a show and tell for every photographer who attended the previous weeks trip into Oxford, for the walk about with our cameras.
10 minutes to each photographer and we should hopefully see some very diverse range of images from our talented photographers
Tuesday 30 January: Digital Lecture TALKING PICTURES with Chris Palmer
A welcome return to Chris Palmer who has been a favourite amongst our judges and now this evening he will be giving his talk called “Talking Pictures”
His talk alludes to the fact that he will be talking about his pictures but more importantly what are the pictures we view say back us/you the Viewer. The image should communicate with the viewer. He will discuss camera craft, and skills and the way he he photographs when on location. He will cover Landscape, Urban, Monochrome, and beach photography.
  1. General photographic interest
Readers reply to last week’s photographic question: Why do photographs of beautiful scenery never do it justice?
Sean Tucker on street photography on cloudy days – interesting tips of dealing with distractions
On a recent trip down to London I knew we were likely to have cloudy days with flat winter light so I gave myself the challenge of photographing the streets with an 85mm lens to use the depth of field to separate out my subjects. This is what I learned.
Cambridge photographer ends daily challenge after 13 years and 5,000 images
Martin Bond wanted to show a different side to his home city than the ‘town and gown’ divide
Northern lights photographer of the year 2023 – in pictures
The travel photography blog Capture the Atlas has published the sixth edition of its annual northern lights photographer of the year list. As another solar maximum (the period of greatest solar activity during the sun’s 11-year solar cycle) approaches, there have been displays at lower latitudes, such as in Wales, Germany, Italy’s Dolomites and Death Valley national park in the US
Megacities: life in the cities home to more than 10 million people – photo essay
From Tokyo to Cairo, 10 photographers around the world have captured a snapshot of life in their cities for the National Gallery of Victoria’s Triennial


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