Last Monday (November 22), Leigh Preston (FRPS, EFIAP, MPAGB), joined us on Zoom as our guest speaker. Leigh talked us through a number of his sequences of images. He stated that in these groups or sequences there should be something for everyone – and indeed there was.
Leigh is an accomplished photographer of some 50 years and holds 2 RPS fellowships. He is also a member of the Arena Photographers and the London Salon. He has had several books published and exhibited in 7 UK cities.
Leigh likes to work in series and themes linking subject material together as a cohesive set. This stemmed from an earlier desire to work in Panels for Photographic Distinctions. Sequence work has stayed with Leigh and is at the centre of his photography journey.
1 – Leigh’s first sequence of images was Titled Autumn. Here we saw the expected glorious Autumn colours of mellow gold from both light and foliage. Many of the images were simple “Close Ups” of leaves as they fell, Woodlands in Autumn Colours and up to Rannoch Moor and the famous Blackrock Cottage all in Autumn light.
2 – Next was Georgia – A picture of Mount Kazbegi in North Georgia on the Russian border, was one of our first striking images, with an early sunrise showing an illuminated cloud and the striking mountain. We saw rugged landscapes, glaciers, studies of the local population going about their work and a beautiful picture of Leigh’s Georgian guide Katarina.
3 – Then we moved to a more light hearted sequence of Street Photography with “Dogs and their owners and Eccentrics”. The first image was a pair of “Bulldogs” sat on the doorstep in front of a beautiful door in Santorini. Then we moved to the more humorous section with dogs and their owners. Some of the dogs were almost clones of their owners ! Although almost all of our microphones were muted you could almost here the laughter coming through the ether !
4 – Next section Eccentrics – started with another humorous story around a holiday maker sleeping amongst his luggage, whilst his wife was booking yet another holiday! Followed by more outstanding Street scenes – all with a humorous story. We had pictures from Belfast, Blackpool, Scotland, Wales, Paris, Bath, Grimsby, Birmingham – Leigh states – “When walking around with a camera – just be observant, its amazing what you can see”.
5 – Something Different next – Electricity and Steel. The British Skyline is changing forever but a Photographer can capture those changes. Our manufacturing base has moved into finance and technology. For the last 50 years Leigh has been documenting that change. Electricity Pylons, Coal fired power stations and their Cooling Towers (including pictures from inside a massive cooling tower) all featured. Some people may perceive this as Grim Photography but shortly all of these structures will be removed from our environment never to be seen apart from record photographs and Leigh’s are second to none.
6 – Steel Works – huge sinister looking structures almost something from Sci Fi films. Winter is always the best season for these shots as more drama is created as the smoke and steam moves so high in the sky.
7 – Santorini a wonderful Greek Island in the Aegean Sea. This presentation took on a different look with blocks of 9 square images set on one page. The message from Leigh was to keep the images simple and for the blocks to be sympathetic. A unique way to display a lot of work very quickly.
8 – Still Life – During the recent “Lock Down”, like lots of people Leigh wanted to continue his photography and chose still life. Ties, book pages as a fan, onion rings, a glass Orb set on a white cover, 78rpm record sleeves, map and drawing tools to name a few of these well-presented interesting subjects.
9 – Portraits – Leigh explained that he isn’t really a Portrait photographer, but this set of pictures were quite stunning. Including shoots in a Stately Home, fashion shoots at a college. Many of the studies although simple, were direct, demure and captured the moment. For someone claiming “not to be” a portrait photographer these sets of images were another example of Leighs tremendous depth of knowledge and expertise.
10 – Musicians – some of the shots were of local bands, some folk, Country and Western, tribute bands and even Iron Maiden, Jethro Tull plus some individual singers like Amy Macdonald to name just one. Taking these shots is a real challenge, lots of bright light, movement and people walking across your shot !
11 – Yellowstone – Leigh was initially drawn to Urban or Wilderness Landscape photography. Which takes us to Yellowstone in the Winter of 2017, a winter of extreme snow and the only way to travel was with a guide in a SnowCoach. The whole landscape was covered with pristine clean snow. Pictures included the steam rising from the hot waters and dead trees killed by the Sulphur fumes from volcanic rock, Waterfalls frozen, Landscapes and Hoarfrost.
12 – Leigh also claims not to be a wildlife photographer but still managed shots of Wolves, Bears, Bison and Moose. Another example of his photographic versatility
What a superb evening Leigh pitched his narrative and description of all his shots perfectly made all the better with his natural humour. A report like this doesn’t do justice to the talk from Leigh. It ticked every box and something for all of us to aspire to.
For more information about Leigh and his work please see his website at – http://Leigh Preston Photography