Review - "Working with Textures" a talk by Janey Lazenby, 15 Jun 2020

A review by Helen Jones - "Working with Textures" a talk via Zoom by Janey Lazenby, 15 June 2020
Working with Textures via Zoom with Janey Lazenby, Monday 15 June 2020.

You have to make the best of everything life throws at you and so at Dorchester we have embraced the opportunities presented by becoming a Virtual Camera Club and are enjoying Zoom talks by amazing photographers who live too far away to visit us in person.

Last night we welcomed Janey Lazenby BA Hons (Fine Art) LRPS CPAGB BPE3 AFIAP from Wakefield Camera Club. Janey talked about working with textures and what a wonderful evening it was. We had 65 of our own members ‘present’ (when you count couples) plus 14 guests from other clubs, all keen to learn from Janey.

Janey started off by explaining that textures have lots of uses. For example they can be used to disguise boring backgrounds, mask burnt-out highlights, save a poor image and unify a composite image. Textures can add atmosphere, soul and colour and bring a photo to life.

Janey told us about her texture library. She showed us some commercially produced textures that you can download but warned us that these cannot be used in photos for competitions or salons as every element of the image must be your own. Instead she encouraged us to get out our cameras and build up our own texture libraries. She had lots of suggestions including weathered stone, paving slabs, wood, dirty glass, copper pans, rusty metal, blinds, curtains, shaggy carpets, greaseproof paper and peeling paint. Just look around you at the textures available in your home and garden. You could, of course, be more creative. Janey mentioned putting paint on to sandpaper, staining hardboard with coffee, painting emulsion paint on wood and leaving it out in the rain, or rubbing antique paper with pastel or chalk. The list is practically endless. Use your imagination!

Janey showed us examples of textures she had used in her own work, complete with a Photoshop demos so that we could see exactly what she had done. She gave us the ‘straight out of camera’ versions next to the ‘fine art’ versions and then took us through the steps needed to get there. We even saw the ‘7 Gin & Tonic’ version - this didn’t work so well – stick to 4 G&Ts was her advice!

Janey stressed there was no formula. Just experiment. Use lots of different textures; play with the opacity; move the colour sliders; try out different brushes – even make your own ‘hair brushes’ after your DIY lockdown haircut. There are no rules – the only limit is your own imagination.

She ended the first half with a quote; “The fear of being wrong is the prime inhibitor of the creative process”.

In the second half, Janey worked from scratch on four photos from our club members, sent to her just before the evening started. She had not practised on these – she took them as sent and worked her magic, trying out different textures and brushes ‘live’ on screen to show some changes you could make to your own photos very quickly.

Janey had us all fascinated. I think we were all glued to our screens. There were some questions at the end but everyone was really keen to get onto Photoshop and try out some of Janey’s techniques for themselves.. She really did show us how we could transform our images from the ordinary to the magical in a way which was easy to understand. She was funny, warm, approachable and gained lots of new West Country fans last night!

Thank you, Janey, for a fantastic evening. Emails of thanks were coming through to committee members within a short time of the meeting ending with everyone saying how much they had enjoyed your presentation. Thank you too, to Geoff Wareham, for his lovely vote of thanks.

~ Helen Jones