Stark Beauty In Black And White

The evening of Monday 28th October saw a visit to the club by Steve Cheetham to deliver his talk “The Adventures of Monoman”. Steve only does 4 or 5 talks a year so we were very lucky to be one of those. He started by explaining that he got interested in photography at an early age encouraged by his father. At secondary school there was a darkroom and his interest really took off. He progressed to a darkroom at home but family and work intervened and it wasn’t until 2013 that he returned to photography. He quickly achieved his LRPS in 2014 and is now active on Facebook and Instagram photography groups.

Steve then spoke a little about the photographers he admires e.g. Jonathan Critchly, Rohan Reilly, Michael Levin and Billy Currie. All are monochrome photographers and produce striking graphic images which are often minimalist. He likes dramatic landscapes, coastal images and modern architecture. He does enjoy symmetry and this links with his use of lines and shapes. To achieve his “look” he uses lots of neutral density filters, Adobe Photoshop and Nik Silver Effects.

 Very usefully Steve described his workflow using 2 example images. As well as describing the steps he showed each image at each stage of processing which gave a clear idea of the effect of each piece of processing.

After all this Steve went through images from his wonderful portfolio. In many cases they were well-known photographic locations in the UK (Scotland, Sky, Dales etc.) and his take on them. After the UK he showed images from various places such as France, Italy and Japan, some being family holidays and some dedicated photographic trips. We then had a break during which we could examine some of these high quality prints at close quarters – and they looked even better.

After the break Steve started with architectural shots which were just as striking and individual as the landscapes. He again used long exposures, this time to blur the clouds rather than sea or river. From there we were taken to Iceland, a place he has visited 5 times. He visited classic locations and some new ones he found as he was driving along. One of the reasons he likes Iceland is that there is a contrast between the white of the snow, black of the volcanic sands and the white/grey of the sea. This makes it ideal for his monochrome work.

Steve’s commentary was both interesting and humorous keeping everyone thoroughly entertained. In all it was a great evening with some tremendous and arresting images and Steve was given generous applause by a large audience. You can see many of the images as his website here and I urge you to have a look at exponent of the art of monochrome photography.

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