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Bradford 2019 Caroline Preece

Tools not Rules

Caroline extends our horizons.
Caroline Preece certainly blew away the cobwebs of the Festive Season with her very thought provoking, first presentation of 2023, entitled “Tools not Rules” in which she invited members to reflect upon, and to re-examine their relationship as photographers with those who view their images.

Caroline is extremely knowledgeable, and an excellent communicator, and she skilfully used both her own images and those of others, well known in the world of photography, to illustrate her strongly held views, and to encourage us to move beyond the technicalities of our craft ,in pursuit of higher skills.

Caroline’s approach to image making is overwhelmingly psychological. She believes that a photograph should stir the emotions of the viewer rather than be merely a photo of, or about, the world as we see it. She ably illustrated how we might have more meaningful impact in our imagery; how we might make the viewer look at what we want them to, so they see what we saw in the moment of recorded time, when we chose to click the shutter.

Caroline explained in depth her extensive use of Gestalt principles that suggest the whole of anything is greater than the sum of its parts. With this in mind, she encourages anyone viewing her work, to fill in the gaps she leaves deliberately in her own stunning compositions which are ultimately designed to convey an experience beyond the visually obvious. She led us to a greater understanding of the potential for the orientation of our images to either convey stability and security through the horizontal, or to inject a greater feeling of energy and power using portrait mode, extending and exemplifying Don Mc Cullin’s vew that, when looking at photographs, we should be feeling rather than just seeing. She urged us to consider the subliminal effects of scale, colour, contrast and saturation, and promoted the use of mono images to simplify and refine our final images.

Hers was a fascinating exploration of reduction and minimalization that drew powerfully on the work or a range of well-known professionals. It will be interesting to see how we all interpret her very welcome message that “there are no rules or guidelines to follow, only informed decisions to be made!” I do hope we can have her back in the future with a focus on the street photography for which she is well known.

We meet face to face again next week, when Diana Walker will be leading the evening where any prospective new members or visitors will be made more than welcome.

Jenny Short 06. 01.2023