On Wednesday (4 March 2020) Sue O’Connell FIPF ARPS EFIAP/d1 DPAGB BPE5* and husband Peter Brisley ARPS AFIAP DPAGB BPE2* found their way to Leighton Buzzard to deliver their lavishly illustrated travelogue “Travels Towards the Edge”.

As well as being distinguished travel photographers, the couple are also members of Bristol Photographic Society, PAGB accredited judges, and Fotospeed Ambassadors.

More of Sue’s work can be seen at www.sueoconnell.photography  |  And Peters’s work can be seen at www.peterbrisley.photography

Over twenty years of photographing together, Sue and Peter have journeyed to the less explored, less popular, parts of the world and endeavoured also to push their own photographic boundaries.  Rather than “travel photographers” they prefer to think of themselves as “photographers who travel”.

They divided the presentation in two.  Sue delivered the first part and started off with a quick introduction to the travel photography guidelines laid down by (among others) the Royal Photographic Society and the Photographic Society of America.  Obviously, it is important when entering travel photography competitions to stay within such guidelines.

Sue then moved on to give us her photographic take of their many visits to Libya and Syria (before they were marred by civil wars), Oman, Indonesia, Myanmar, Mongolia and norther India.

Libya included the oasis town of Ghadames, desert landscapes, the Umm Al Maa oasis, and ancient Saharan rock art.  Syria included Damascus, Aleppo, Palmyra, and desert falconry.  For both places it was a case of “that was then”; they are of course very different now.

Oman was described as “a wonderful place”, “an oasis of calm, and “not too westernised”.  There were pictures of the Nakhl and Nizwa forts, portraits, camel racing, and the fabulous (and quite recently constructed) Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat.  From Indonesia we saw the Mount Semerin and Mount Ijen volcanoes of East Java and the Jambur Fashion Festival.  In Myanmar we saw fishermen, the fish market, villages and villagers, and monks and nuns.  Mongolia was all about the eagle hunters, their magnificent birds and their way of life.  And in India we were transported to the Kumbh Mela (the festival of the sacred pitcher) in India’s Uttar Pradesh region on the edge of the Himalayas with pictures of sadhus and pilgrims.

Sue finished with a musical slideshow of “faces we have encountered” with enchanting images of the many characters met on their travels.

When Peter took over to deliver the second part, he explained that when the digital age arrived he had never previously been on a computer.  But he had adapted well and was now keen on creative manipulation.  “I like tweaking”!

Peter gave us his own, distinctly artistic, photographic take on many of the same places.  Monochrome is his passion and he began by showing us atmospheric B&W pictures of the Oman camel racing, the Indian pilgrimage, and Myanmar nuns.

Then there were colour pictures from Myanmar and Indonesia.  These were followed by pictures demonstrating “Motion”, also from Myanmar and Indonesia, plus Mongolia and (featuring bulls fighting) India.  Next it was “Structures” with buildings in Oman (especially the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque) and Iran.  And then murals in Persepolis in Iran (“what was left after Alexander the Great destroyed it”), some triptychs, images from Mongolia (camels, horses and eagle hunters), and some landscapes from Myanmar (Temples in Bagam), the Gobi desert (animal tracks and dunes), and volcanoes in Indonesia.

Like Sue, Peter finished with a musical slideshow of some of the people they have met on their travels.

There were some stunningly good images in both parts of this talk.  And, as well as the projected images used to illustrate them, Sue and Peter also provided a wonderful display of their prints.  Together they showed us, in their own particular styles, both the sights and their own personal insights into these countries and the peoples who live there.  They also thereby showed us just what can be achieved if you have a passion for both photography and travel – not to mention a keen interest in the cultures visited and a perceptive eye for an image.

This was a terrific presentation and gave us a most enjoyable and inspirational evening of photography.

More of their work can be found at



Subsequently, after Chairman Mike had emailed his thanks for “a superb presentation”, he received the following response from Sue.

“Thanks so much for your super quick response – we’re so glad you enjoyed the evening.  You’d be surprised how many clubs don’t bother with a “thank you” which is always a bit disappointing.  As a speaker you are often sitting in traffic jams or cheerless pubs or battling through the rain to get to a venue and when someone takes the trouble to express their appreciation it really does make it all worthwhile!

We enjoyed our visit enormously – the venue (once we got Sat Nav to play ball) was excellent, but it was you and your members who created the very welcoming atmosphere.  I think we’ve rarely had so many chats with individual members, whether it was about our experiences, our techniques or just travel in general, and we were particularly gratified by the interest in the prints.  But we also heard fascinating tales from people who’d been to some equally challenging destinations.  It’s always amazing how much accumulated travel experience there is in a club.

So our turn to thank you for inviting us to LBPC and making us so welcome.  It was quite a long haul for us but we both felt it was really worthwhile.”