People & Portrait Photography Around the World – Edward Parker

We welcomed Edward Parker back as our guest speaker, with a very different talk from last time – then it was all about trees, but on this occasion it was people.

Edward has led a varied life but currently is Trust Manager at Springhead Estate, hence his love of plants and trees. However, on this occasion we learnt a little about his life as a photo journlist, working on projects as diverse as WWF and Vogue. What we learnt is that both projects actually involve photographing people and the skill is how to do it in a way relevant to the ‘story’ being told.

Being a photojournalist is not without its hazards – whether it be trying to capture a model drinking cocktails, who is intent on consuming them prior to the shoot being over, or trying to photograph some stunning sand dunes being lit by some interesting side light – that actually turns out to be on some important border crossing and you and your pupils end up surrounded by armed police that only speak Spanish.

Back to the People & Portraits, composition is spoken about in any genre of photography and using 1/3’s is key to making a stronger image and allowing the foreground and background to blur out of focus also works in portraiture.

After seeing many images throughout the evening some posed, some candid and some reportage style, it became apparent that Edward has learnt the skill of dealing with the people as well as the photography, we were given many tips to try out according to the environment, whether it be too much sun or low light or poor backgrounds. And we were urged to be bold – ask interesting people if they mind be photographed. Essentially, we have no excuse for not giving it a go, difficult situations can be got around with a little bit of thought (although I may not try photographing where people are armed).

I think this was my favourite talk by Edward and hopefully I will retain some of his tips in my memory.

Eric took the opportunity to book us in for a visit to Springhead in the summer and Edward generously has offered to be on hand to help.

Rachel Cooper

I have been a club member for several years now and find I learn something whichever club event I attend. I enjoy the Studio Group evenings, but equally am happy photographing whatever the surroundings provide at home and out and about.

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