Not Reality As We Know It – Just Better!
On the evening of Monday 1st June a packed audience of members and visitors were royally entertained by Adrian Lines with his talk “Altered Reality – Better than the Real Thing”. Adrian had come over from Chorley to present his talk which centred on “creative photography” but he claims that virtually all work we produce as amateur photographers is, in fact, creative. His work neatly falls into 2 categories – straightforward photography where he tries, as far as possible, to get the image right “in the camera” with little processing, and then the creative/artistic work which is created from images he has taken and then brought together in Photoshop. He said he does a lot of image gathering where he creates a bank of images of people, backgrounds, objects and textures. He can then use these at a later date for one of his creations.
The first group of images he entitled “Big Heads, Little Stories” where all the images contained a portrait which occupied 50% of the image. The rest was made up of backgrounds etc. from other shots he had taken, brought together to create some form of narrative so that the viewer felt that there was a story contained in the image. These were very effective and Adrian’s accompanying A/V presentation clearly showed how the final image had been built up. There were far too many superb images to mention in detail here but one example would be a wonderful portrait of a shift-looking old man smoking a cigarette. This had been superimposed on the background of an old pub façade and an old-style policeman in a cape. The whole impression was of a story where the policeman was keeping a close eye on the old man with the latter wondering what he could get away with.
Although Adrian has won many awards for his work he doesn’t create images for that purpose – he just creates images he likes. Some may take an hour, some may take several hours. Often he will find a character and shoot many images and then start thinking of a story to go with them. So the creative process begins. At one time he went through a phase of substituting animal heads for the real heads on some of his subjects. He found it fascinating that there had to be some sort of relationship between the two images for the merge to actually work visually. Adrian said that the hands caused a large problem because, for some reason, human hands didn’t seem to work in these circumstances. The procession of outstanding images continued, keeping the audience totally engaged with the presentation.
The second half of the evening was a complete change. Adrian always intends to produce prints of his photographic creations and only uses the digital images as a more convenient medium for presentaions to groups. He likes people to be able to handle the prints and examine them at close range. He had brought along a large number of prints including the ones from the first half, and simply handed them out to the audience for them to pass around and examine in detail. Throughout Adrian answered questions raised by the prints and mingled with the audience to be able to provide a more personal conversation about subjects, methods and results. The prints amply demonstrated the incredible attention to detail he shows in his work and everyone was able to see things in the prints that hadn’t been obvious with the displayed images. It was true; you did have a more “involved” relationship with the print than the projected image. Just to prove that he could take “ordinary” photographs he included some natural history prints and they showed his consummate skills in this area as well.
A large and sustained round of applause showed just how much everyone had enjoyed the evening and a few lucky people went home with one of his prints. Another wonderful evening designed to get the creative juices flowing. If you want to view more of Adrian’s work you can visit his website by clicking here.