Have you seen the price of ink?, 8th January 2024

Perhaps the first clue as to what was in store could be gained by a perusal of the respective initials after the names of the night’s speakers.
Even for those less well versed in the graduations of merit in camera club photography, these are an impressive set of achievements. But, as we heard throughout the night, they do not stop there. Both Jane and Stephen are multi-award winners at numerous photographic salons, national landscape competitions, Dorset Arts and Crafts Association (‘DACA’) exhibitions and both have previously been selected for the prestigious PAGB ‘Master of Print’ exhibition. Indeed, Jane’s recent 2024 selection was her fifth such acceptance - giving her a much cherished ‘MoP Silver Badge’.

By the end of the evening in a packed Brownsword Hall, no one was left in any doubt as to how this success has been achieved as we were treated to one beautiful print after another from Jane and Stephen. It was very much a tour of their combined journey in print, with Jane joining the club in 2006 and Stephen following not long after in 2009.

Jane won her very first ‘B’ (now called ‘Club’) print competition with a sepia toned image of some beached boats on Mull and, somewhat amazingly based on what was to follow, this remains the only internal print competition that she has won in her club career. Not to be outdone, Stephen also won his first entered competition as well, with ‘Red’.
Starting from these first print competition entries, what was interesting and clear for all to see was the progression that Stephen and Jane have made, in terms of the approach to and the quality of their image processing, printing, mounting and presentation generally. This was illustrated by the image in Jane’s first print ‘win’ being subsequently reprocessed as a straight mono - only relatively recently -and also used as part of triptych panel. The benefit of returning to old images with a fresh eye and new skills, combined with updated technology, was a good lesson to learn.

Their photographic journey took us through various genres of photography, ranging from classic landscapes, through to nature/wildlife, sport and creative work - which has recently encompassed a new love for ‘ICM’ imagery. Countries visited on the journey have included the open spaces of the US and Canada, Argentina, Norway and, closer to home, Cornwall and Scotland, especially the Scottish Isles. Indeed, another learning point was how Jane and Stephen return to past visited places to really build an understanding of a location and how best to present it photographically.

The couple are particularly known for their ‘snowscapes’ many having a distinctly minimalist approach characteristic of wonderful photographers such as Michael Kenna, and their frequent use of negative (white) space in their work leaves them both well placed for the club’s forthcoming competition with this title, as well as saving lots of colour/black ink when it comes to printing!

Despite the attempt of one club member, who shall remain nameless, to sow seeds of friction in their relationship, it was clear that Stephen and Jane’s mutual interest in photography was synergistic rather than antagonistic. Their shared passion allows them to book trips with the same aims and interests. However, comparisons made on the night between their differing outputs from these trips showed that each has their own approach as they see different angles, compositions and creative approaches to a scene, which extends into processing; one going a mono route, for example, versus the other’s colour focus.

One of the objectives for the evening and for the duo was to share their love of printing and encourage other club members to perhaps start the same journey. To this end they shared some technical details of their printer (a Canon Pro 1000 and associated branded inks) and preferred photographic papers (Fotospeed papers – exact paper dependent on desired level of texture and whiteness, but favourite papers included Smooth Cotton, Natural Soft Textured Bright White, Natural Textured Bright White, Platinum Etching and Cotton Etching – www.fotospeed.com). With a club printing day being planned for 13th April, alongside the ‘Individual Help and Mentoring Scheme’ within the club, there is a lot of support and expertise available to help ‘would-be’ printers start their own journey.

Coming to the end of this review, it is apparent there has been no mention of Jane and Stephen’s superb AVs as well as their wider commitment to Dorchester Camera Club through their leadership of Special Interest Groups, Exhibition work and Committee roles. We are lucky to have them and are thankful for a great evening of print photography.

- Peter Yendell