RCPS Press Report 29th November 2017

It was a full house at this weeks meeting with lots of new faces, which is great to see. Tonight’s speaker was our president Emma Littlefair and was entitled  ‘Pushing photography to the limits’. Within the club most of us knew of Emma’s photographic talents and artistic skills regarding post-processing but I think I can speak for the majority by saying that we were all a little bit intrigued as to just how she does achieve those images.


Most of us think of this as a ‘modern’ skill but Emma first talked of famous early print photography images and the prevalence of altered reality even since the 1800’s  showing images of General Ulysses S Grant in front of what were portrayed to be ‘his’ troops during the American Civil War. Fake! The Cottingley fairies (which was actually ‘faked’ by a 16 and 9-year-old in 1917) and other historic images that had various significant figures edited in or out for propaganda reasons. Emma’s photographic journey has been rapid- the first images she showed being from approximately 5 years ago.


The initial half of Emma’s presentation depicted her work in various genres and showed the range of techniques that she uses to achieve the end result and showed that we can all push ourselves and attempt these sort of alterations to images that we take. Emma discussed the use of bracketing (taking 3 differently exposed versions of the same image and putting them together digitally to create a high definition image). I am sure we all have under and over exposed images and thrown them away…little did we realise their potential!


Emma definitely has a skill for seeing the abstract in the ordinary and showed this through images of everyday objects such as coffee cups, and showed that with a little imagination (and a hammer) images of everyday objects can become award-winning works of art. Brush effects transform an everyday autumnal scene and textural overlays and some sketching can transform supercars into super supercars.


Emma talked us through and showed us examples of how much difference paper types and printer ink quality can make – careful selection of the right paper can make your images come alive and poor selection can lead to disappointment when compared to what you have produced on screen. Who knew that so many types of metal impregnated paper existed?


The second half of the presentation gave us a mini insight into the processes involved in creating some of Emma’s work and the software used…photoshop, Lightroom, illustrator, Nik collections, Topaz plug-ins, amber light, flame painter and Photomatix pro5cHDR ……..for anyone who is keen to expand their repertoire (and deplete their pocket and hard drive space!). We then went on to learn the basics of ‘layering’ and ‘masking’ in order to take a basic image into a multi-layered textural piece of art and how the application of filters can dramatically change the original image.


Subject matter is all around us we just have to look out for it. It already exists in images we have in our catalogues or if we are new to this and struggling to see what we can do when the internet is a wide myriad of other photographers work to give us ideas and we all have  (I’m sure) an image to start with and some basic editing software on our computers. Get creative! Thanks very much to Emma for putting together this presentation and sharing some trade secrets…