Review - "The Power of Photography as an Art and a Science" with Eva Polak, 22 Feb 2021

A review by Jane Lee - "The Power of Photography as an Art and a Science" with Eva Polak, 22 Feb 2021
The Club broke a distance record with a talk from Eva Polak direct from her home in Auckland, New Zealand. Zoom has its limitations and we dearly miss our physical meetings but it also opens up a whole new world (quite literally) of possibilities.

Eva is a creative photographer who uses a variety of techniques including ICM, multiple exposure, macro and shallow depth of field to capture a moment in time. All her images are created in camera with minimal post processing of the RAW files.

In the first half Eva showed a fascinating presentation in which she talks in great depth about capturing the effect of light which she illustrated with beautiful examples of her work. She explained how photography is a visual journey where we all see the world differently and how it is both an art and a science. An art because it is expressive, shows how you felt at the time and how it can make an emotional connection and touch other people. A science as it relies on the technology of the camera and we need to learn and practice the technical aspects so using our cameras becomes second nature leaving us free to create.

Eva explained how we see with our brain rather than our eyes. The left side of the brain analyses whereas the right side controls our feeling, emotions and images. Once we start to really ‘see’ she says we will never see things in the old way again, ordinary things will look very different and we will start to see the possibilities. We need to learn to photograph the ordinary and describe objects in visual terms and shapes rather than analysing them for what they actually are. For Eva, light, colour and lines are the building blocks of photography and she encourages us to use them all creatively to capture the essence of the subject.

She encouraged us to follow our instincts and let our creative inner spirit guide us, to not be afraid of making mistakes and be willing to try new things in order to grow creatively. It will take practice and we will need to experiment over and over again and not worry about the outcome. She reminded us that creativity is a process not a product and there is no right or wrong way and no rules, only results.

In the second half Eva went through a number of her images in great detail and openly explained the techniques she used and why she chose them and answered our questions. With ICM she tries to imagine how it will look and whether a particular movement will enhance or mess up the image, always thinking in terms of the light, colour and lines. She recommended 1/10th second as a good starting point and that soft light will help create more blurred edges.

Eva enjoys creating a series of images on a subject and showed us some of her lovely AVs. The first ones featured amazing macro images of dandelions and then moss which became alien landscapes with the addition of coloured spoons! Her creative images of ballroom dancers, people on the beach, children, dogs and waves gave us all something to think about.

Eva believes you should always create for yourself and if you have fun doing it and it gives you joy then it is something worth doing. It was a fascinating evening and a refreshingly inspirational talk. Eva even stayed on to chat afterwards; she didn’t need to rush off to bed as her day had only just begun!

(If you are inspired to know more subscribe to Eva’s website evapolak.com for a free e-book, regular newsletter and lots of tips and advice.)

~ Jane Lee