On the evening of 14th January the club received the president of the Yorkshire Photographic Union , Alan Stopher CPAGB. Alan was presenting two topics – the YPU and its work and then his own photographic “journey”.
As Alan explained so well the Yorkshire Photographic Union (YPU) is an important and integral part of the camera/photographic club network in the region, which itself is a region of the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain (PAGB). He started with the aims and structure of the organisation and then highlighted some of its work. This is very wide ranging encompassing as it does the awards (CPAGB, DPAGB and MPAGB) as well as workshops and education which aim to raise the standard and profile of the region. They have had some success in this nationally as in the past Yorkshire was at or near the bottom in national competitions but now they are above half way and working to go higher. The YPU also organises all the judges used in club competitions, lists of speakers, mentors for developing photographers and providing communications around the region. Alan gave plenty of detail and certainly it gave a lot of clarity as to the role of the YPU. In answering questions he explained the relationship with the Royal Photographic Society (RPS). It is a completely separate organisation with its own aims and objectives but there is a good, cordial informal relationship between it and the PAGB. One area of difference is that the RPS supports professionals and deals with legal issues etc. whereas the PAGB is more concerned with club matters.
After a break Alan gave an excellent account of his photographic “journey” with lots of examples in both print form and digital projections so that the large audience could see them properly. He started when he was 16 aiming to record the last of the steam trains. When work came around he joined a club for the first time in London and learned how to develop and print his own black and white images. When family came along, like a lot of us, photography became mainly holiday “snaps” but he did try to bring the skills he had learned to the images even though they were all for his own pleasure. Eventually he joined a camera club again, this time in Huddersfield and has found that through continued membership his photography has improved. He went digital rather late in the day (indeed he was one of the last 3 film photographers left in the club).
Alan provided all this information whilst he showed prints and images from this wide body of work and maintained an enthusiastic, informative and engaging commentary throughout, often laced with light humour. He often explained what the prints were and what he was trying to achieve. The subjects covered some of his other interests (trains and waterways) as well as travel photography covering Cuba, Peru, South Korea (overland by train via Vladivostok!!), Bosnia, Vietnam, Budapest, Istanbul and Sri Lanka. It was a splendid journey in more ways than one. At the end Alan displayed prints from two of his projects which members gathered round and discussed with Alan.
It was a very enjoyable evening which provided something for everyone. Many thanks to Alan for presenting it and he has kindly supplied some images so you can see some samples of that “journey” below (they are in chronological order – click on an image to enlarge it). These are his words to accompany them.
The first is a darkroom print. That second is partly a B&W taken in 1974 and a digital image taken in 2016, both mine taken in the same spot in Wolverhampton. All the others are digital.
The night train is at Wolstyn in Poland, Andean Village Store was taken in Peru, Tito was in a railway mess-room in Bosnia, Waiting for customers was taken in the Grand bazaar, Istanbul. Java mills 2 is the first in a set taken in the sugar mills. It shows the massive equipment which initially crushes the cane. Thanks again Alan.