Review - Contemporary Travel Photography - Chris Hilton, 11 Nov 2019

A review by Val Brierley - Chris Hilton LRPS introduced us to his world of Contemporary Travel Photography - in his own inimitable style.
Contemporary Travel Photography was what we were promised and it was certainly travel photography with a difference.

Chris Hilton has a unique and very individual style and a very entertaining way of presenting his ideas. He showed us how he began to develop his style, from trying to copy what others had produced and being dissatisfied with the results to experimenting with monochrome images and being influenced by various artistic concepts such as obstructed views.

He showed how series of images of Mount Fuji by a 16th century Japanese artist in which the mountain was partially to nearly totally obscured was a technique just as relevant today and he treated us to some fascinating images of his own taken of landscapes with “stuff” in the way.

His journey to his own style really began to firm up with a trip to Iceland where he ignored all the usual touristy photographs in favour of recording what the reality of living in Iceland was really like, deserted playgrounds, back streets and partially obscured cars in a car park. He illustrated his travels off the beaten track in Uzbekistan with an entertaining series of images of gas pipes, including someone up a wooden ladder welding them, cars at a gas station filling up in blast chambers as the process is so hazardous, and men running across fields towards him waving their arms (just being friendly), none of which are the usual tourist photographs but illustrating the reality of the country so much better.

Chris also demonstrated the used of colour with a nod to Mondrian’s style, with his images focussed on how colours worked together – a red hat and red flowers, yellow shoes and yellow floor, blue jeans and blue paint, also with big blocks of colour most notably on the diesel trains in Uzbekistan. He also showed how the focus of a photograph can vary so much – what is the main focus of the photograph was a question he asks himself and he asked us. The point was illustrated with an image of a wall with a hole in it showing a view of the mountains beyond – was the wall the focus, the mountain or indeed just the hole?

His talk was entertaining, thought provoking, instructive and challenging and a very interesting evening.

~ Val Brierley