This week our members were hugely entertained and informed by Neil Hulme who talked about his passion for mono images. His talk “Moments in Mono” gave us a geographic tour through locations he has photographed with his increasingly unique style. He started in Northumberland and finished in the Lake District with views of the Wirral, the north west coast, North Wales, Venice and the Peak District along the way. This was liberally laced with his self-deprecating humour and tales of the “near misses” encountered whilst attempting to capture these images. Such “near misses” included sinking waist deep into salt marshes whilst fleeing the oncoming tide and a narrow escape from a marauding herd of Blackface sheep.
Neil spoke of the inspiration he has had from such photographers as Michael Kenna, Rohan Reilly, Stephen Cairns and Josef Hoflehner. He explained in detail how he obtained his images. Although they may seem simple and somewhat minimalist Neil showed what care and attention was taken to capture exactly what he had in mind. This frequently involved careful attention to weather forecasts and driving significant distances at ungodly hours. His images are often taken using filters to create long exposures with emphasis in composition on leading lines, separation of components within the image and careful tripod placement.
Neil has a very individual style and throughout his presentation he informed us of the techniques he uses in post processing. He draws the viewer’s eye to focal point of the image with careful selective lightening and darkening. He often removes the horizon line to create a surreal, ethereal feeling. He emphasises the leading lines within the image. Neil also brought with him prints of his images which demonstrated with even more clarity the quality of his work.
Feedback from members afterwards was very positive and I am sure that many of us were inspired to hope for dank, murky, misty mornings to go out and try our hand at his style.