Bridgewater Photo Club – Photographer of the Year
Tuesday, January 26, 2016 – Each year, the Bridgewater Photographic Society holds a series of competitions in a variety of photographic genres, and the photographer who scores highest across all competitions is awarded the trophy for Photographer of the Year. Last Tuesday, the club was treated to a wonderful presentation by the 2014-15 Photographer of the Year, Karen Parnell-Herrick.
Karen is a relatively new member to the club, and to digital photography. She told us about her early disappointments with photos from a trip to the Grand Canyon, and her struggles to learn the technical aspects of her camera and the computer side of digital photography. But, she decided either to improve to a point that she was happy with her efforts, or to give up the hobby altogether. Karen’s determination and hard work paid off; last season was a banner year for her growth as a photographer, culminating in her win of the club’s Photographer of the Year award.
Karen’s presentation spanned the breadth of her picture-taking last year, from trips to Montana and the Carolinas to her award-winning entries in the club’s competitions. She combined explanations of a few images with automated sight and sound essays displaying a range of images from her trips and her photographic exploits. We learned the stories behind some of her portraits (rubbing plant soil on her husband’s face to “grunge him up”), photos in other genres, and photographic essays. And she talked about her favourite lens – a 50mm ‘prime’, which she used for a great many of her entries.
One of Karen’s most popular entries from last year was her sight and sound essay entitled “Madam, Your Hat”. The idea began with four vintage hats and some jewelry and accessories that were her mother’s. She put the word out, and by the end of the project she had 61 hats along with dresses, furs, gloves and other vintage accessories. She spent hours taking pictures with a number of different volunteer models, then many more hours editing the pictures and assembling the sight and sound essay. Karen brought one of the more fantastic vintage hats to the club for people to see.
Karen’s presentation concluded with an explanation of her award-winning image “Oh, Those Eggheads”. It started with an Internet inspiration, and took her into uncharted territory in digital post-shot processing. While she admits that she may “never want to do that again”, the resulting image is emblematic of her desire to learn, and her determination to hone her craft.
John Burnett then gave a short talk about Inspiration and Influence. The presentation focused on some of the photographers and images that he “discovered” when he first started learning photography in the early 1970’s. Along with some brief background information about each photographer, John spoke about the qualities of the images that intrigued him, and what he learned from them.
The club also reviewed the results from its Still Life photo competition. Congratulations to Honour Award winners Darlene Awalt, Julie Naas, Richard Novossiltzeff, and Karen Parnell-Herrick.