11th February 2019. Leigh Woolford – “A Search for Focus”

It is interesting to notice that so many of our visiting speakers enjoy a range of hobbies and interests and, of course, they are then able to bring those things together under their photography umbrella.
An excellent case in point was last night’s speaker, Leigh Woolford (AWPF EFIAP DPAGB BPE2* FWPF Hon). Within the first minute he was posing an age-old question “What can I photograph?” – the answer lies at the end of this report. We were all interested to learn of Leigh’s captivation by photography and it was clear to see that a box of old images, slides and negatives had been passed to him that were his father’s possessions and naturally he had been bitten by the bug in early childhood ……how interesting that he won a school competition following a visit to Bristol Zoo at 10 years of age.

Our journey starts with a visit to a number of major motor sport circuits, including the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, the demanding skill of panning the camera and chasing the right image when the viewing public is now kept so far from the action, due to H & S and that careful planning to always be at the right place at the right time, all became evident. The motor sport passion also extended to local circuits and to the wonderful spectacle of the hill climb. Naturally we were treated to great drivers of the recent past, Moss, Surtees, Rosburg etc.

We were soon zoomed abroad under the heading of “Souk, Drugs and Moroccan Roll” with a trip to Western Morocco facing the challenge of, perhaps, personal danger and the objective of securing portraits of people, generally unwilling to act as models!
In no time we found ourselves in the rock’n roll concert hall with challenging light conditions, rapid guitar hand movement and occasional “acting up to the camera”. The range of costumes, settings and clever presentations, using dark added areas of equal size to the main portrait, showed us a subtle and creative skill borne of close observation of the subject.

Under the minimalistic heading of Urban images we visited the crowded former colony of Hong Kong, then local views on beaches with the ubiquitous multi coloured beach huts, landscapes of Scotland, Skye, Rannoch Moor, Glencoe including some wonderful monochrome images with spine chilling moody skies.

Naturally we were whisked away to the Norwegan Lefoten Islands, North and South Iceland with magical images of frozen lakes, dangerous snow packed overhangs, waterfalls, ice roads and studded car tyres, diamond beach and a range of Icelandic horses – what’s not to like amongst all of this?

Where did we end?
The mysterious box with Dad’s precious photos showed father and son, 50 years apart, having found the same position on a small circuit’s “S” bend taking an identical shot.
Finally we saw some lovely pictures of Leigh when he was small, his extended family and the great joy that photography extends and allows us all to share – time passes too quickly. The answer to the question is, of course, keep a running record and display prints of all sections of your family.
A super evening where all of the members of SYPC felt connected to the speaker – For more information please see Leigh’s website at – –https://leighwoolfordphotography.weebly.com/

Thanks Leigh

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