Review - An Evening with Steve Belasco, 22 Nov 2021

A review by Janine Scola - An Evening with Steve Belasco, 22 Nov 2021
Steve opened the evening at the Brownsword Hall by telling us a little of his background. He started with his early years in Somerset and his journey into photography leading him to Nottingham where he “cut his teeth” in the world of press photography, a far cry from where he is today!

In the first half of the evening, Steve presented his Jurassic Coast photography, taking us on a journey East to West and back in geological time along the Dorset and Devon coasts. Being a lover of sailing and of course, photography he decided to combine the two and devoted his time to producing two books about the Jurassic Coast and Portland and along the way, becoming an Ambassador for the Jurassic Coast Trust.

We were treated to a 95 mile sailing trip along the Jurassic Coast - for us in the Hall, on calm water; on screen something a little choppier! His images presented a totally different perspective of this well-known coastline, from the chalk cliffs of Old Harry Rocks, along to the rich sandstone of Exmouth. Throughout our journey Steve gave us a few lessons - first geology and how millions of years ago this area took a decided tilt, as a result of which it created the differing angled strata of rock; then to history and about the various quarries and the stone that was transported to London which can be seen today in many of the buildings of note.

For us in the audience, the well-known landmarks of Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove were seen from the water, along with all the other little coves en route – each wonderful image providing a different view. But it also highlighted the ‘shift’ in the landscape created all those millions of years ago, from some of the collapsing chalk cliffs suffering from the continuing erosion, to the gradual tonal change to red Devonian sandstone as we neared the end of our journey towards Exmouth.

The second half of the evening took us back to the start of his career. He quickly learned the art of being in the right place at the right time – and more importantly – to be ahead of the game to get his image on the front page of the National press before anyone else. This he highlighted with many of his black and white photographs of the 80’s era, of Torvill & Dean through to the image of a distraught mother whose daughter was missing. But it was circumstances similar to the latter, and the demands of the press agency for more photographs depicting the horror and sadness of life situations, that did not sit comfortably with Steve. This ultimately brought about a change of direction and his return to Somerset again.

An interesting evening, giving us an insight into world of the press media and their desire for ‘that image’ above all else, to the tranquillity of bobbing along on the sea looking at the landscape to reveal a different dimension from the norm.

~ Janine Scola