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Bill Ward's amazing photography

The other side of the villain!
Actor Bill Ward, of Casualty and Vera fame, and well known for his often unfortunate demises in Coronation Street, Emmerdale and the like, delivered Thursday’s presentation with the high levels of energy and enthusiasm that characterises his amazing photography. So often cast as the vile and abusive villain in his work, Bill consciously sets out to use photography as a means of rebalancing his life. He seeks the quiet solitude of places that are the antithesis of his professional life; places that help him find “the real me” away from the commercial, and often crowded work of stage and screen. As such his stunning images reflect the Tyneside and Lake District of his youth, the Manchester Canals and Yorkshire Dales of his time in soaps as well as his love of Somerset, the Levels and all things Bristolian, as a result of living locally.

Wherever he goes, Bill seeks out water with camera in hand- rivers, bridges, seas and skies, exploring and capturing the energy of the landscapes, often in the glorious light before dawn. People are sometimes depicted, but always at a distance and always very small, in comparison with the expanse of the natural world with which he is so obsessed, and that he captures so well. His philosophy is to “just turn up and make something of it”, and he urges us to do the same, with the very sound advice: “If in doubt, just go!”

Bill talked animatedly about the dramatic landscapes he has photographed along the coasts and on the beaches, wallowing in the glory of the mudbanks, the twisting tidal waters immersed in the sights and sound of the surf. His haunting landscapes range from rugged rock formations in blue light, to soft and undulating shades of sands that merge with skies to create the sense of calm he craves. He certainly follows his own advice to us, to do whatever we please, to take pictures of “whatever we bump into” and convert our images to tell the our own unique stories.

In something of a contrast, the second part of the evening featured the more abstract images he creates using intentional camera movement and multiple exposures like none I have ever seen before. He took us with him on his “voyage to an unknown destination” where he admits he is just “mucking about” in the playful way advocated by Doug Chinnery and Valda Bailey . Still clearly obsessed with Mother Nature in all her forms, Bill explored the beauty in shapes and forms, lines and light, created through movement of his camera or by his subjects, over time or in long or multiple exposures. Bill’s presentation was extraordinary, with something for everyone, communicated in a thoughtful, but awe inspiring manner ,that had us hanging on his every word. As a group we felt very privileged to hear him speak and to view his work, and he was warmly thanked. We look forward to the opportunity to have him back, perhaps next time in person.

Several members were out and about in Westfield earlier in the evening recording the switching on of the festive lights, the first of many events that will give us all opportunities for the “Christmas Images” required for the Witcombe Memorial Trophy, the digital deadline for which remains 6th January so we can make the most of our evening in Bath, as well as family gatherings for subject matter. Our Picture of the Year prints now need to be handed in on the earlier date of 8th December to fit in with our judge’s commitments

Jenny Short 25.11.22