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What we're about

Regardless of your age, equipment or experience I assure you that with the locations & routes I have planned you will get great results from our walk. Whether you're sporting a professional DSLR, carbon fibre tripod & a bag full of camera porn or you're a complete novice wielding a disposable camera for the first time this group will welcome you with open arms.

I had great success with these photowalks in the States. I really enjoyed getting like-minded people together & seeing how varied & creative the shots were, even when they were of the same subject.

I'm an experienced professional photographer yet I never stop learning more from other people showing up with these marvellous little boxes that capture light. These walks attract keen amateurs & prosumers & there will always be people on hand to give out advice on shutterspeeds, ISOs & apertures.

Nikon, Canon, Sony, Pentax, Micro & Mirrorless, all welcome. I shoot with Canon's EOS system & fellow users will be able to swap lenses with me for some shots. A monopod or tripod will be useful although not essential. I also encourage you to bring a flask of coffee, although we will often pile into Laynes on New Station Street or the Reliance afterwards to compare shots, load them up on Lightroom & most importantly socialize.

Fraternization is mandatory! (' *,)

How to train the photographer's eye. I spy...

I try to have a camera with me at all times. And when I don't I like to play this little game to develop my photographer's eye.

Wherever I am I should be able to find five good photographs to take. This keeps me looking out for interesting vantage points, angles & new perspectives in even the most familiar of locations.

If I'm somewhere new I'll push for ten shots. Then come back & take them when I have the camera.

Remember, no where is off limits*


*unless it is (Like the ladies toilets)**

**Which is fine if you're a lady but a bit weird.

I look forward to our conversations. amo A little essay: Children stand to attention for the annual school photograph. Across the front row sit the teachers & behind them, hundreds of children neatly preened & uniformed. For the briefest second the entire assembly, motionless. The photographer clicks the shutter. Suddenly, as if in slow motion, the huge group scatters as children escape their enforced immobility. The neat rows dissolve & brake into indi viduals now kicking footballs or huddled in groups. None of the children realizing in that moment that the photograph was going to outlive them. A couple of generations later it might surface among old papers in an attic & someone would search for granddad among the fresh young faces. Photographs matter because they freeze moments of our lives which pass unremarkably & which seem to have little importance to us at the time. The significance, however, may be for others who search for the person we once were or the places we once knew. They can be small pieces of a jigsaw that complete the larger picture of our lives. A digital Akashic Record of pixels & some day a totally immersive scene we can holographically step into. Our future history awaiting to be captured by a little box that traps photons. These images are much more than a simple record. Photography speaks to the best & most generous part of our human nature – the desire to share what we find beautiful & interesting with others. You only have to look at Flickr or Google + & a multitude of photo sharing sites to see this impulse at work. Millions of people sharing their personal, passionate & sometimes quirky take on the world around them. Our images can involve a world of strangers in our life. How powerful is that? In 2006 I lost the use of my left eye. When I look through a viewfinder & a wide angle lens I am reunited with a field of view that I have missed. I love seeing the world through these lenses for many reasons. But that one's up there with the rest of these points. When you ask people what possessions they would rescue from their burning house, one of the most frequent answers is the photograph album or a computer with their digital images. When in panic mode it’s interesting that we would probably grab photos rather than valuable jewellery. This impulse to save our recorded memories is a powerful force which tells us much about the role of photography in our lives & our constant desire to distil our most precious moments into images. We preserve the important events & people in our lives. The ceremonies of birth & birthdays, marriages & anniversaries, holidays & new houses are all recorded because they matter. Photographs are our personal story, a timeline of our lives filled with faces & places that we love. They are our story, which we can share with others. The hundreds of images come together to form a narrative of our lives. Photography allows us to express ourselves through an art form. We notice a beautiful landscape or an old man’s lined face & we want to capture it. Each of us will have a different reason to do so but, essentially, we want to create something. However humdrum our nine-to-five lives may be, the creation of an image makes us an artist. It feels good. Our images can express joy & sorrow, wonder & sympathy. Every human emotion can find a place in photography. For many years I never valued my photographs of overcast landscape because I believed that there was no beauty in a land with muted colours & a leaden sky. I wanted the land to be alive with colour & vibrancy. However, lack of colour in a landscape makes you search for other things that often go unnoticed in bright sunlight. It could be a symmetry of hills or a tree standing out from a forest of thousands. I have suffered from depression for most of my adult life & photography gave me a language to express feelings for which I can find no words. We have a miserably poor vocabulary for mental illness & photography has allowed me to develop a visual language for some of the most difficult emotions. Photographs can grab our attention & speak directly to our emotions. Nick Ut’s photograph of a crying Vietnamese girl whose clothes have been burnt away by napalm embodies the power of a single image. At a more subtle level, we can learn lessons about a whole range of emotions. Grief has the power to wash away the luminance of our lives. There is no magic way to restore them at will. We have to be patient. But while waiting we can search for the shapes & patterns that are still there in the greyness. They will lead us back to colour eventually. At moments of great sorrow in my life I have used images to express that hope of returning colour. Photography, at its best, is a powerful language which speaks to our emotions. It allows us to tell our story & show others our framing of the world around us.

Let's show the future the majesty of today

amadeus hellequin

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