If you’ve ever fancied picking up a camera and being creative, perhaps there could be an opportunity at Ilkley Camera Club which always welcomes visitors and new members. The club’s Friday night activities for 2024 are now underway with a programme including talks by some of the country’s most accomplished photographers.
The first speaker of the year was Brian Lloyd Duckett, one of the few professional street photographers and founder of StreetSnappers which runs workshops throughout the year around the UK and overseas. Brian is also the author of the best-selling 52 Assignments, a series of books to help aspiring photographers improve their skills. Find them on Amazon
Based in Southport, Brian began his talk by decrying the poor quality of much street photography that is shared online, “much of the street photography we see is bad and boring, not very interesting. The photos must grab our attention”, he said. “You see many photos of the backs of people, people looking at mobile phones or standing against a wall”.
To gain a sense of what good street photography is Brian advocated turning to some of the great photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Martin Parr or some of the celebrated women photographers like Vivian Maier.
“Street photography is not about perfection, it doesn’t matter”, said Brian recognising that many camera enthusiasts are obsessed by the technical quality and buying expensive gear. “A cheap camera like an old Olympus Trip bought on Ebay for £20 is good enough”, he said, “go for a fixed lens of say 28mm or 35mm and don’t carry round loads of equipment, you don’t want to look like a photographer”. It’s important not to waste time fiddling with settings so he recommended using manual settings with the aperture at about f11 and the focus at about eight feet.
Brian then went on to describe approaches to street photography that might help take photos to the next level. Establishing a specific project is a good idea, for example Brian’s focus on Hen and Stag Nights in Blackpool, for example. Storytelling is very powerful, looking for expressions, actions or relationships that suggest a narrative. You can also take the aesthetic approach by looking for the play of light and colour, perhaps being more abstract. Brian said, “many of the great street photographers have taken a highly observational approach by seeing quirky connections and unusual juxtapositions. You can look for the oddities of life”
Then there’s the question of what to do with your photos. Shooting images with a theme and producing a photo book is becoming increasingly popular and affordable.
If you want to know more about Brain Lloed Duckett’s work or perhaps join one of his workshops you can visit heis website brianduckett.com
Ilkley Camera Club is currently meeting on Friday evenings at 7.30pm. Some meetings are held at St Peter’s Church Hall in Addingham and others on Zoom. For more information visit the Club website at ilkleycameraclub.co.uk or their Facebook page, facebook.com/ilkleycameraclub. Visitors are welcome