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Jane Rees "My Photography"

What do you get when you combine a love of photography with the curiosity of an historian, a desire to travel and a passion for nature and wildlife? The answer is a tasty cocktail of a presentation to assembled Photographic Society members by Jane Rees, ARPS, a member of the local Bath Camera Club.

Hailing originally from Devon, Jane grew up in the English countryside, and was given a Brownie camera at the age of eight, by her grandfather. During what was a very entertaining and informative evening, Jane managed to weave both family and photographic history into her commentary on the stunning images taken by her over many years, with a succession of increasingly sophisticated cameras.

She studied architecture and with her like-minded husband, subsequently travelled the world, in particular America, in search of historical buildings and structures. Although her images typically do not include people, at this time, she developed a fascination for craftsmen and women of 18th century America. Trading antique tools and artefacts of the time, took them both to Canada and America, where Jane photographed the many coopers, silversmiths and bookbinders, working with traditional tools and methods. Time spent in a Living History town in Virginia gave her the opportunity to showcase, not only the historical aspects but also the flora, fauna and wildlife that abound there. We were treated to images of both the familiar and the unfamiliar Tulip Trees, Honeysuckles and White Tailed Deer native to the state, as well as Muskrats Chipmunks and vistas of murmurations of migrating Snow Geese.

The soaring peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Pyrenees , and Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks yielded impressive images of buffalo in the snow as well as wolves and coyotes. Prowling bobcats, frolicking river otters and grappling grizzlies were all captured in action, against backdrops of steaming hot springs and tranquil lakes. The roaring splendour of the magnificent Niagara Falls contrasted well with the gentle Saxifrage cascading over the rocks of the Pyrenees that brought us closer to the more familiar landscapes of Europe and Wales.

Closer to home Jane’s photos capture the textures and patterns in wood and stone, the drama of clouds over Burnham as well as the beauty of the Lost Gardens of Heligan and the detail of her other fascination which is fungi. Returning to America Jane related fascinating tales of following in her Grandfather’s footsteps, seeking locations that he had photographed in 1902, when he travelled the continent visiting, amongst other interesting places, gold mines in California and Arizona. Members remained fascinated by tales of re-discovering her long lost great grandfather’s home town in Mexico, which grew and flourished largely as a result of his actions, and where she was treated somewhat royally as his descendant! The grainy and weathered photos that have survived in Jane’s archives, taken by her ancestors, provided her with the motivation to re-record the places they visited and capture them in glorious colour and provided us with a wide variety of subject matter to enjoy . Jane was warmly thanked for her contribution to our programme.

Members will gather next week to hear the judging on the November Open Print Competition.

Jenny Short 09.11.18