Looking back with John Gardner

On the evening of Monday 21st November a packed room was treated to John Gardner’s Annual Retrospective evening. John is a highly regarded professional photographer who works both locally and nationally. He is a keen and very knowledgeable naturalist and has been a member of Wakefield Camera Club for many years. Each year he gives a visual retrospective over his photographic year – both work and pleasure. They are always eagerly anticipated and tonight was no exception.

He started the evening by explaining that he has been very busy this year which has resulted in him photographing what other people want rather than what he would like to do. However it does bring the money in! The introduction was an AV presentation that showcased the breadth of the work John had undertaken in the year, which was impressive to say the least.

 Then it was on to the meat of the evening. The first half of the evening was given over to nature photography. Images of birds, butterflies, flowers and insects paraded across the screen, with John giving plenty of interesting background to the subjects themselves and the way he got the shots. It was clear that he was true to his word that he enjoyed the commonplace as well as the rare. He has had one of his cameras converted to infra-red and showed the audience the striking results he was able to obtain. There was some overseas travel involved including 3 trips to Spain capturing images of vultures and golden eagles as well as many other species. John rounded the first half off with some examples of his commercial work and even shots of steam trains just for variety.

In the second half John went into a little more detail on his commercial work showing examples of work with pipe manufacturers, graphics equipment, health training, publications, building societies, Redrow Homes, violin making, Yorkshire Conservatories and Yorkshire Air Ambulance amongst others. He gave an account for each image of how he lit the subjects and why he had chosen that particular setup. This care showed in the quality of the images he produced and, therefore, the repeat business he received. The final part of the evening centred on his work with various models, both in the studio and on location. There was a wide range of shooting styles but all shot through with a quality which is difficult to obtain. As usual he was at pains to explain why he chose the pose and the lighting to gain the effect he wanted. All of it was very practical and gave an insight into the production of striking images.

As usual, although John probably overran his time, it finished far too soon for everyone watching. It is always amazing that these annual retrospectives always appear fresh and impressive ….. but they do. Thanks again John for another great evening.

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