OPS Weekly Newsletter 11 February 2024

OPS Weekly Newsletter 18 February 2024




  1. Last meeting – A passage to India and Brazil. Sandra Devaney’s visit to India and Linda Wride’s trip to Brazil  


Sandra began her talk with the recollection of her first OPS competition experience back in 2018. She had recently returned from a visit to Vietnam and was keen to get feedback on her competition entries. The judge was less than enthusiastic about her images which left Sandra initially disappointed but spurred her on to do better.


After visiting a Steve McCurry exhibition – he of the green-eyed Afghan girl, Sharbat Gula – Sandra knew what she wanted to do, take amazing simple portraits of people and concentrate on what she likes not what judges like.


In late 2023 she booked  a trip with Charlie Waite’s Light and Land to Rajasthan in India, arriving in Delhi and then onto Udaipur, Jodhpur and Agra, and stops along the way. Delhi was in the grip of a thick smog but Sandra got some great portraits street workers, some taking a rest break, others toiling and others unselfconsciously posing for the camera. She took shots of workers carrying loads on their heads at the Old Spice Market and in Photoshop magically got rid of distracting elements by using ‘generative fill’. Charlie Waite was very helpful and very generous with his advice. One little tip, but an effective one was: if you have blue and yellow in your shots you are guaranteed that people will look at them.


The next day it was off to Udaipur in Rajasthan. Sandra showed various images of a woman carrying a heavy load on her head which was bright red, she stopped to pose and looked extremely elegant in her sari. Charlie had another tip: if someone is in the sun with shade it brings them to life, and Sandra showed several images using this effective way to capture people.


While on this trip Sandra wanted to develop her environmental portraits. One particularly simple and effective one, and one that Steve McCurry would be proud of taking, was a woman sat on a step with a traditional brush next to her, the building’s walls were of a soft reddish-brown tone, and everything fitted perfectly together. The woman was taking a break from sweeping the steps which went off out of the top of the photo behind her. She had deserved this break.


The trip then went to the camel and horse fair of Pushkar. This is usually a very hectic place but it was election time and many people had gone back to their villages to vote. She came across a man selling brushes who told her that he did not want his photo taken, only to return posing with his brushes and Sandra got a great shot. It is the cover shot of her photo book of her visit titled Romantic Rajasthan.


All in all a very successful visit and presentation. Sandra showed some excellent portraits that even a camera club judge would like.


In the second half Linda showed her images from an organised visit to Brazil. This was not a photographic trip but one geared to the appreciation of architecture, art and landscape run by Insight Architecture. There were not many opportunities for taking photos but Linda grabbed what she could whether on her camera or the camera on her phone. The images Linda got did not appear at all rushed or unconsidered and you’d be hard pressed to tell which photo was taken on which camera. Her trip went from Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro, 15 days and 15 people on the trip.


Linda very effectively organised her presentation in themes. The first theme was Churches and Linda showed heavenly shots of the very traditional Candelária Church (Igreja da Candelária) in Rio de Janeiro. This would not look out of place in any major European city with its Baroque style with neoclassical elements. Brazilian architecture though shook off this traditional mantle with the exceptional vision of Oscar Niemeyer (no relation to the footballer now playing in the Saudi Pro league).


Niemeyer’s churches and cathedrals were something else. Brasilia’s cathedral looked small for the outside, sort of a squat concrete wigwam but inside it was massive with the fantastic use of lines and coloured glass all leading the eye upwards. Linda had amazing images of this cathedrals and those of his students, such as Edgar Fonseca, who designed Rio de Janeiro’s Cathedral. Again strong use of lines and light leading towards heaven.


Next up was Education. A Harry Potteresque Royal Portuguese Reading Room, then the brutalist style of the University of Sao Paulo which Linda called the South Bank on steroids. In Rio the University is a half mile long brutalist edifice which in the middle is softened with an open-air garden. The roof wasn’t built so a garden was created which is very well tended.


Shopping Centres were next. A multi-purpose one which had an impressively art deco designed cinema in Sao Paulo. Also a residential development called Higienópolis in the art nouveau style similar to the designs of Victor Horta in Belgium.


There were also Galleries, Museums, Cultural Centres, all captured by Linda’s expert eye for detail and composition.


An amazing journey into Brazil’s extraordinary and world leading architectural and artistic heritage. All this was summed up eloquently by Juliana, who is from Brazil, and who said her eyes were opened to a land that she had lived in but had seen and thanked Linda for exposing her to another side of her country.


A thoroughly inspiring evening. Many thanks to Sandra and Linda.



  1. Next week’s meeting Tuesday 20 February: “Street Photography My Way” with Peter Crane

Peter Crane’s talk is a dpi lecture entitled ‘Street Photography My Way’, it’s where he will take you into his world of Street Photography, covering in particular the various techniques, tips and the equipment he uses, seeing and catching moments in time that OPS club members will relate to.


  1. Upcoming meetings in February and March


Tuesday 27 February: Rosebowl Competition Via Zoom – Hosted by OPS

Round 3 with Oxford PS, Wantage CC, Croxley CC and Harrow CC.


Tuesday 5 March: Print Competition No. 2

Judge will be Kevin Day


Tuesday 12 March: ZOOM Presentation – Phil Savoie with his talk  “The Principles of Photography talk”


Phil Savoie talk is geared to inform everyone from the seasoned pro to beginners.


The talk contains a significant chapter on Astrophotography. He will address the often overlooked topics covered in Principles of Photography.


19 March: Best Use of Light

Judged by our very own Phil Joyce


  1. Exhibition at the central Library, Westgate, Oxford


  1. Photo themed events in Oxford


Eco-Friendly Photo Developers OVADA

Learn how to use plant-based chemicals to make your own eco-friendly photography developers.

10-1pm/Standard Cost: £75 / Pay Less: £60 / Pay more: £90/Sat 24th Feb 24 OVADA Warehouse14A Osney Lane Oxford


Chemigrams with Sally Gunnett OVADA

Learn about an alternative photographic technique that uses household substances to create images.

2-5pm/£37.50 – £62.50/Sat 24th Feb 24 OVADA Warehouse14A Osney Lane Oxford


Launch Event | Elena Gallina, Çiknia jonë: Our Girlhood Rhodes Trust

Explore the Kosovar practice of collecting and trading paper napkins at this photography exhibition.

6:30pm/Free/Thu 29th Feb 24Rhodes House South Parks Road Oxford


Bluebell photography course

Capture spring’s stunning display of colours whilst exploring the Arboretum. Learn various methods to photograph trees, plants and views with your own camera

10.30am – 1pm/£50/Sat 4th May 24 Harcourt Arboretum Nuneham Courtenay


Meadow photography course

Capture our wonderful meadow in bloom in the summer whilst exploring the Arboretum. Learn various methods to photograph trees, plants and views with your own camera

10.30am – 1pm/£50/Sat 15th Jun 24Harcourt Arboretum Nuneham Courtenay


Natural Photography Workshop

Leave the cameras at home and try a photography workshop with a difference. Create your own beautiful prints from plants and explore a new experimental photographic technique that references Sir John Frederick William Herschel’s discoveries in the 1800s

10.30am – 2.30pm/£50/Wed 3rd Jul 24. Harcourt Arboretum Nuneham Courtenay


  1. Photo exhibitions further afield


Best photography exhibitions to see in 2024

One of the best ways to gain inspiration for your photography and exploring different styles is by experiencing and viewing the work of other photographers and artists. We’ve put together a selection of the best exhibitions on around the UK during 2024 to see photography; including exhibitions that present photographs alongside other disciplines.


Below, you’ll find the information you need including dates, location and ticket details to plan your trips.



  1. General photographic interest


Between the stacks: How the Bodleian Libraries are embracing photo custodianship

Richard Ovenden has spearheaded a photo focus at Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries, helping ensuring archives find secure homes and rediscovering historic images



Saul Leiter review – glorious survey of an impressionist with a camera

MK Gallery, Milton Keynes

Leiter looked at the street life of Manhattan and beyond with precise ideals of beauty and an infectious joy




War, peace and goalkeeping pandas: Bert Hardy’s nostalgic Britain – in pictures

From bomb factories to royal weddings via the odd 17-stone wrestler, these wonderful black and white image capture the country as it fought – and recovered from – the second world war



What’s new about The Photography Show this year?

The Photography and Video Show is taking place at the Birmingham NEC from March 16-19 this year, after a gap of 18 months. It is now the biggest consumer photography show in the UK, if not the world, but what is new about the event this year – apart from the chance to get up close and personal with the hottest new mirrorless cameras and lenses, or hear some great talks?



Royal Photographic Society

What’s On

Find upcoming events, talks, and exhibitions from the RPS, whether at RPS House in Bristol, across the UK, or abroad.