Jerry Webb: Mono with an Edge talk Tuesday 18 August 2020
Jerry is a photographer who is not a slave to the camera club ‘rule book’, neither is he afraid of noise, deep blacks with no detail, blown out highlights, lens flare, subliminal angles and turning the contrast knob to 11 in his photos. If anything he relishes his contrarian approach as long as it gets him the drama and atmosphere he is looking for and he gave us a comprehensive and exhilarating tour of his wide-angle, up close and personal, style of black and white photography.
He split his presentations into several themes. First up was the weather – bad weather. He likes the rain and at times shoots with flash to get the rain looking like a shower of shootingstars. He also likes umbrellas in his shots. In his home-town of Brighton from October to December there are plenty of big waves to capture crashing on the groynes.
Jerry was not all that confident at taking photographs of people until he discovered that you could take photos of people in crowds quite easily especially in the chaos of rush hour when people are distracted, and he is effectively invisible. He had a very nice slow shutter aerial viewpoint image of a Brighton football crowd walking into the ground, they were all blurred except for one stationary official who ‘anchored’ the photo.
He went on to show images of little people, crowds of people in the photo but he said not in a L S Lowry style. He had an intriguing image taken from inside the i360 tower with the reflection of the glass and a line of people going by and a memorable image, again aerial viewpoint, of a woman in white outfit with hat walking by a volleyball team back lit in shadow. He also showed some of his street work which arguably most of his photos could be classed as street. He has stopped taking photos of children due to current parents’ concerns about their children’s images. He showed an impressive metaphorical photo of the Black Lives Matter protest in Brighton.
His favourite lighting is harsh light, the type he says you get sort on an August bank holiday – though for me it always seems to rain on a bank holiday. He also said that he likes soft grey days which affords a certain translucence to the image. He is a fan of the look of American film noir movies of the 30s and 40s and tries to mimic that look in many of his photos, it gives a graininess that goes well with his subject matter.
In the second half Jerry started by showing low view point images of a boxing club, city gents,people walking on glass pathway. He said he get on the floor a lot and for him this viewpoint adds extra drama to his images.
Jerry also showed images of structures and series of colour shots of Canary Wharfe from the from front seat of the London Light Railway train. He then went on to shots which were into the light with plenty of flare. Also dramatic shots of basketball players, a great shot of a cyclist caught framed perfectly in a diamond of a chain link fence and this superb close up shot of apiano player with someone walking into frame in the background. Plus sections ondemonstrations, Sri Lanka, tourists and finally what he called the eye – shots of peoplelooking into the camera. He says this eye contact gives power to the picture.
Asked how he goes about getting these incredible shots he said it is down to the right light in the right place and anticipating what is going to happen. He also adds a little tinge of red or yellow to his images to give them some warmth – it is his style.
He is a member of Brighton Camera Club and said that camera clubs should allow members to stray away from the edicts of convention and encourage risk taking.
He then set us a Photo Challenge to come up with a black and white image taken from a different viewpoint and offers an interesting effect. You can use images taken before the challenge was set but we would encourage you to go and with your camera and give it a go. The challenge with be ‘judged’ in October.