Foto Synthesis – Inspiration for doing things differently!

There was a full house on the evening of Monday 23rd November for a wonderful and lively presentation from Clive Haynes FRPS and Martin Addison FRPS entitled “Foto Synthesis – On Screen”. Clive started proceedings by informing everyone that their aim was to release us all from the “tyranny” of camera club competitions! This rang a bell with many in the audience as several competitions have taken place over the last few weeks.  Clive said they wanted to put over things not in the normal camera club “box” and try to make photography fun again.

To make his point Clive started by looking at “lensless” photography – yes, that’s right, removing the lens and taking shots. Extension tubes with a filter taped to the front can solve the dust problem and he showed some beautiful ethereal images created in this way by shooting some lights at night. As he said, they may not win competitions but they are wonderful images. After these examples he showed how he used multiple exposures in creative ways by moving the camera throughout the multiple exposures. This created some fascinating images taken inside churches etc. Using only two exposures he has created some unique “mirror Images”. They aren’t really mirror images as they are created by doing a multiple exposure with two images but in between each image the camera is turned upside down. It really looked as though they were reflections in water but somehow you knew they weren’t. Certainly not the same as doing it in Photoshop. The next technique was using a flatbed scanner as a camera. Just by following the scanner light as it made the scan with objects or lights you can again create some eye-catching images. Clive’s last technique created some science fiction type images of other worlds which impressed everyone and it was only at the end he told us all that they were actually shots taken in a garden centre looking down the centre of glazed planters at close range!

Martin then took over to give us a sample of his work. He started with a sequence of shots taken at Tate Modern. This illustrated how out of focus shots can be just as evocative, if not more so, than the normal pin sharp images. They certainly conveyed movement and atmosphere. Martin then showed that even foggy weather can be a photographer’s fried with some wonderful shots taken in Northumberland. At the same time there were beach images created of the incoming sea using multiple exposures and scenes looking along the beach which may not win competitions but many would want hanging on their wall at home. He wrapped up this spot by again looking at multiple exposures but this time having one constant exposure as part of the series, in this case the texture from a photograph of stone.

Clive then took over again with a series of images titled after ancient gods which were very convincing but had been created from original images of things such as a fairground ride and a horses tail! He then illustrated the use of multiple images in a panel to give a better impression of a place than any set of single images would. The ideas kept coming – kaleidoscope effects created with a free Photoshop plugin, images created in camera but then modified by using mobile phone and tablet “apps” to create effects not easily achieved on a computer. Martin came back with one of his ideas of bubble pictures. He created a wire frame and dipped it in a solution of washing-up liquid, water and glycerine and then photographed it close up. To bring the talk back to slightly more conventional techniques, Martin showed images he had taken of rocks on a beach. However by shooting close up he drew out the patterns making them almost abstract in nature. All of the above was packed into the first half of the meeting so it was really a whirlwind tour of inspirational ideas.

In the second half Clive and Martin presented a series of A/V productions illustrating their techniques, but also how putting them together with appropriate music etc. can create a whole further dimension. On the way we visited, amongst others, Brittany, poppy fields, stately homes, Cardiff Opera House, Christmas Shopping, Berlin, ice, road markings, a carnival, Fotheringhay – a truly eclectic mix of subjects but all showing their unique style to great effect. The evening finished with a final presentation – actually in 3D! They had brought along the appropriate glasses and everyone could see the 3D effects very clearly.

All in all a fascinating evening which held everyone’s attention to the very end and it will be interesting to see if some of their ideas crop up in members’ images over the coming year.

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