OPS Weekly Newsletter 12 May 2024

OPS Weekly Newsletter 12 May 2024


  • We need members to come forward and help run the club. The tasks are not onerous, but they are falling on a very limited number of club members. We need someone to be secretary, someone to run our external competitions, our internal competitions, our exhibitions, and also members to act as support. It is your club, but the club will not be able to function without members coming forward to take on some of the essential tasks that we all rely upon. Do contact myself of any committee member if you have any questions.
  • We are back at the City of Oxford Silverband Hall with new toilets, new heaters and freshly painted walls.
  • Do start preparing for our Panel Competition on 21 May – see attached Phil Joyce’s excellent guidance.
  • Also start selecting your 10 Best Images of the Year for our final meeting this season.


  1. Last week’s meeting: Uwe Ackermann and a show and tell from our last Oxford photo walk

Uwe started his talk by explaining what he had to do while working at Oxford University’s medical school. Besides the teaching and the training, he also did research. Research meant asking new questions and adding something new. This is ‘find something new’ approach he uses in his photography. Uwe said that everything that can be photographed has been photographed and he needs to create things that have not existed.


He quoted a line from Ansel Adams: “You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” He also had a quote from Helen Webb when we had an evening discussing our images in groups: “Uwe, I love your work. But I wouldn’t want to live in your head”. Uwe then used a few of his images, plus a toy skeleton that glows in the dark, to explain what is going on in his head when he makes photographs.


It all starts with a thought stimulated by an image, a TV programme, some news coverage, or an item in a second-hand shop. Uwe then starts to visualise the thought. He showed an image he had constructed of a woman walking through what looks like a field of black lines on a white background. As she moves forward the lines are distorted leaving her trail behind. The idea for this came from the J D Salinger novel Catcher in the Rye. Uwe took the lines from a photo of someone’s black and white top and manipulated them, he added the photo of the women and then added a red felt hat as he felt the original ‘hatless’ photo needed a bit of umph.


In response to the general exhortation to make as much money as you can Uwe came up with ‘Money is in our DNA’. He tried manipulating images of bank notes only for Photoshop to automatically stop him attempting this. He did manage to use some bank notes that managed to fool the algorithm and manipulated them into the DNA double helix. This took many hours of work. He placed the money helix into a glass room overlooking the City of London with a person looking on.


Uwe was struck by the way the hero in TV series Fleabag looked and talked to the audience, the so-called ‘breaking the fourth wall’. He wanted to make a photograph that did the same thing, a image with something coming out of the confines of the image.


He had a book about aviation that had on its cover of numerous aeroplanes all flying in the same direction. Uwe took a photograph of an airliner and superimposed it onto the book cover as if it had flown off the page and called the photograph “One is Getting Away”.

At a flea market Uwe came across and odd-looking silver spoon. This intrigued him as, though it looked like a spoon, it also looked like something else. He then set about manipulating some of his own spoons in photoshop and came up with an image of spoons looking like sperm swimming towards a hen’s egg. An image reminiscent of Woody Allen’s attempt of swimming towards the Fallopian tubes in the film “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* But Were Afraid to Ask”.


The glow in the dark skeleton was used in an image of Cycle of Fame which was a response to the wall to wall coverage of the British Olympic cycle team. It was also used multiple times as ground staff at a ‘stately home’ holding gardening implements in a response to the Lost Garden of Heligan tourist brochure.


All of these images and approach entails a great of work and hours spent in front of a computer screen using a long list of software, and most importantly, patience.


For further images please see Uwe’s Made not Taken: https://uwe-ackermann.crevado.com/made-not-taken/559368


Uwe then went on to his more conventional documentary photography. His current project is, as a passenger in a car, taking photos of what is written on the sides of lorries that pass by. He also has a project of people avoiding eye contact as they negotiate a narrow pedestrian tunnel near Oxford’s railway station.


Finally he showed his images which documented the resistance to the destruction of the shopping arcade in Botley to make way for a new development.


An excellent presentation which challenged, and informed, the conventional approach to photography and showed that the limits of photography exists not in the technology but in our heads.


In the second half of the meeting members shared images they had taken on our evening’s walk around Oxford. There were some very impressive light trails and reflections on show.


  1. Next week’s meeting 14 May 19.30 at the Silverband Hall – Third Print Competition

Judge for our Third Print Competition Martin Pattern DPAGB LRPS BPE4

Martin Pattern is a Photographic Judge for The CACC and surrounding regions. He has won multiple honours and medals in exhibitions around the world and have had his photographs published in national newspapers both in print and online. He is based in Hertfordshire and we are very pleased to have him judge at OPS


  1. Upcoming meetings in May


21 May Panel Competition

Judged by Phil Joyce FRPS.

If you are unsure of what a photographic panel is then please see Phil’s excellent introductory guide which is attached. Also here is a video on how to put a panel together using Lightroom by, that man again, Joe Houghton https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3PHK8sU1qA


28 May AGM and your 10 Best of Year

The AGM will be followed by the showing of members’ selection of their 10 best of the season


  1. Photo themed events in Oxford


Oxford Photographic Society’s Annual Exhibition

Cloister Gallery, Soldiers of Oxford Museum

Park Street


OX20 1SN

From 4 May to 26 May. Note it is not open on Mondays



There are lots of photographic exhibitions on at Artweeks, including Rob Ferrand’s and former member Douglas Vernimmen’s. See here a full list of the photography themed events: https://www.artweeks.org/festival/advanced-search?keys=&field_site_number_value=&field_medium_value=photography

Also Judie Waldmann got in contact about her exhibition and said she “Would love to get photographic feedback from such a knowledgable group”. She her exhibition details here:



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


Saul Leiter: An Unfinished World

17 February – 2 June 2024

10am – 5pm

MK Gallery

900 Midsummer Blvd

Milton Keynes, MK9 3QA


American photographer Saul Leiter (1923 – 2013), one of the most important practitioners of the post-war period and a pioneer of colour photography, celebrated for his evocative images of New York City in the 1950s and 1960s, is the subject of a major survey at MK Gallery.


Leiter photographed every day for sixty years, keenly observing daily life and discovering beauty on the streets of the East Village neighbourhood where he lived his entire adult life and which became his enduring subject. Upon his death in 2013, Leiter left behind a remarkable collection of around 15,000 black and white prints, at least 40,000 colour slides, a similar number of black and white negatives and over 4000 paintings, only a handful of which had seen the light of day. Once lost to obscurity, his work has since been rediscovered and revaluated for its ground-breaking role in the emergence of colour photography.


Saul Leiter: An Unfinished World at MK Gallery is the largest exhibition of Leiter’s work to take place in the UK, featuring 171 photographs alongside a selection of over 40 of Leiter’s lesser-known paintings.



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

8 IMPORTANT Composition Tips for Better Photos – video

Jamie Windsor

So, you’re looking to improve your photography and you’re (rightfully) told that composition is the key to a great photo. You proceed to read up on compositional rules and you realise there’s a lot to learn. The rule of thirds, the golden spiral, the phi grid, the Fibonacci sequence, leading lines, arabesques and dynamic symmetry. It all looks very complex and confusing.




Welcome to the May edition of the RPS Update. In this issue we announce the International Photography Exhibition 166 selectors, unveil a new touring exhibition visiting the Royal Albert Hall and take a look at the Joan Wakelin bursary winners over the last nearly 20 years.



Pulitzer prize winner for feature photography 2024 – in pictures

Associated Press photographers Ivan Valencia, Eduardo Verdugo, Felix Marquez, Marco Ugarte Fernando Llano, Eric Gay, Gregory Bull and Christian Chavez have been awarded a Pulitzer prize ($15,000) for their poignant photographs chronicling migrants and asylum seekers in their arduous journey from central and South America to the US border



The last gasp: Hull life during the fishing industry’s death – in pictures

In 1971, photographer Alec Gill began documenting the lives of Hull’s Hessle Road fishing community, as the city witnessed the downturn of its main trade



Kraszna-Krausz photography book awards – longlist

Space exploration, African fashion and Bulgarian communism are among the subjects of photography books longlisted for this year’s Kraszna-Krausz awards. The competition recognises individuals who have made an outstanding original or lasting contribution to literature concerning photography. The winner is announced in June




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Oxford Photographic Society