Martin has been taking photographs for very many years and is a member of Worcestershire Camera Club where he leads the Digital Imaging Group.
His illustrated presentation “Looking Outside the Frame”, with the subtitle “Making the Ordinary, Extraordinary”, emphasised that you should take photographs for yourself and not for anyone else. It reflected his love of creating images from unlikely subjects and he shared loads of tips and techniques to help people find pictures “anytime, anywhere”.
Indeed, Martin started by claiming that “I can take pictures anytime and anywhere. It’s just a matter of trying”. This was followed with a quotation from the American photographer Elliott Erwitt – “Photography is the art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place. It has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”
The rest of the presentation demonstrated the truth of all those statements.
Martin explained that, while his photography is wide-ranging, it is mainly about trying to make pictures that are different from everyone else’s. He likes exploring different ways of getting pictures and takes lots of shots as he explores his subjects from many different perspectives. Accordingly, he gets most of the work done in-camera and only has to do a limited amount of processing. These days this is mostly done in Lightroom, although he also uses Photoshop and Corel Painter. He usually displays his images as prints for his talks. But the current pandemic circumstances of course mean they have to be digital.
Martin’s opening suggestion for finding pictures was looking for shapes, patterns, and textures. These can be found all over the place and his own examples included grass growing between duckboards, roofing tiles, an old dumped cooker, glass bricks, rust patches on industrial machinery, lines and shapes in rocks, and wet sand on beaches.
His limited processing might be just increasing the contrast or the colour. His recommended techniques included simply pushing up the Dehaze slider in Lightroom.
Among other suggestions from Martin were:
- using negative space (putting small subjects in wide-open spaces);
- isolating details (and taking them out of context);
- creating abstracts (so viewers don’t immediately know what they are looking at);
- changing viewpoints (especially using a low viewpoint and shooting upwards – it creates interesting perspectives and shapes); and
- changing lenses (Martin enjoys using a fisheye lens and shooting from a low level).
Martin is especially keen on intentional camera movement or “ICM”. This is best done in dull, overcast light to avoid highlights and – ideally – against an even, clear background. You must take lots of pictures. And experiment with shutter speeds and panning upwards, downwards, sideways, diagonally, and even in spirals or randomly! Martin’s own examples included people, buildings (including in Venice), woods, flowers, reeds, a pier, and night-time shots. You can make your images in colour or black and white. And the horizon does not have to level. He did admit that some of the same effects can also be achieved in Photoshop, but in-camera is much better and much more fun. He mostly does ICM handheld but it can be done on a tripod, especially if you have a geared head.
Another of Martin’s favourite techniques is multiple exposures. Sometimes with just a few shots and/or limited movement between shots, sometimes more extravagantly with lots of shots and/or lots of movement. Martin’s subjects included flowers, plants, buildings, and the Cutty Sark. Again, some similar effects can be achieved in Photoshop, but in-camera is more spontaneous. Recently Martin has been shooting multiple exposures on his Smartphone using a special App.
Other techniques he suggested were worth exploring were:
- textured overlays (his camera can take one picture – ie, the texture – and overlay that on any others taken subsequently);
- mirrored images (this is done in Photoshop with images being “flipped” or rotated);
- artistic focussing (basically this is using shallow depth of field, especially with a long lens set on manual focus and finding the focal point by rocking back and forth);
- defocussing (with a bit of overexposure and a shallow depth of field); and
- off-camera glass (taking the lens off the camera and instead using some other form of glass such as an old enlarger lens).
Martin also mentioned that he has a Lensbaby Velvet 56 lens. It only really works with flowers. But it produces very different results from a macro lens.
Martin’s devotion to photography, particularly his desire to create images that are different from anyone else’s, shone through the presentation which was liberally illustrated with his own very original images and panels. His style is imaginative, experimental, creative and always interesting.
This was a fascinating evening of remarkable visual art. Clearly, there are photos everywhere, you just have to look for them.
More of Martin’s work can be found at https://martinaddison.photography/home
Martin can also be found on Facebook, ISSUU, and YouTube.