9 Oct 2008

People, horses and underground photography

Just to give you an idea of the sort of high standards my students have reached, I have posted here some photographs by Maria Falconer and Mark Esling. The pictures were taken during our latest photography holiday in Menorca. Both photographers have been to Menorca before, in fact, this was Maria’s third time. Each time she produces a fantastic set of photographs, and this year was no exception.

It is worth mentioning that although some of the photographers on these holidays have reach a very high standard, beginners are definitely not excluded. This may surprise some of you, and you may think that this will hold back the more advanced in the group, but the system works extremely well. You see, these holidays are very much about sharing, and having an enjoyable experience. No one is left out, and everyone is encouraged to produce pictures way above the level they think they can achieve. The results can be seen in my recent posts – in particular the pictures by Jeanette Suddard. Jeanette was a complete novice at the beginning of the week when she arrived in Menorca, but the pictures she produced by the end of the week demonstrate very clearly what can be done with tuition and encouragement in a relaxed atmosphere.

Maria Falconer has been coming to me for coaching for four years and she is now a highly competent photographer who is taking on many commissions. As the two portraits here show, Maria is a very gifted people photographer. However, her close-up of the horse’s teeth is an indication of her enquiring mind and her persistence once she gets a picture idea in her head. In fact I am trying to adjust Maria’s way of getting so utterly wrapped up in one aspect of a visual situation that she might easily miss out on other outstanding picture opportunities. I have no doubt she will work this out of her system very soon. Her pictures have a sensitivity and vitality that I find very refreshing and hugely rewarding.

Maria would love to hear from you on the forum she moderates – this was actually started by a group of photographers who came to Menorca, but anyone with an interest in good photography is welcome.

This was Mark Esling’s second trip to Menorca. He is the sort of chap who works away quietly and happily in almost any situation until he gets the picture he wants. He is very determined to achieve good pictures because he gets so much pleasure from photography.

His picture of the horse being hosed down with water after a race is an absolute corker. He shot straight into the light and this backlight has highlighted the spray. But, for me, the most important aspect f the shot is the timing. That horse is relishing the treatment and it shows.

His picture in the underground labyrinth of the old fort of La Mola is another cracker. The exposure is spot on and the composition just about perfect. La Mola is a regular location for our photography in Menorca, but the place is so vast that each time we go we see new places and things to photograph.

I have put together a short video of the photographers in Menorca and next week I will post it on YouTube and embed it in the blog. It should give you a real taste of the things we photograph and how much fun we have.

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