David Stout “Casablanca to California” 4th April 2018

For tonight’s meeting we welcomed back David Stout EFIAP PPSA DPAGB of Whickham Photographic Club, Gateshead. David, who judged one of our internal competitions at the start of the season, was revisiting to give a projected digital presentation titled “From Casablanca to California”. This was a photographic tour over two continents from North African Morocco to the North American states of Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Utah, Nevada and California.

This proved to be travel photography of the highest order with exquisite images of very varied subject matter, brought to life by an engaging and entertaining commentary. Each photograph conveyed the uniqueness of the location and gave a visual insight into the character of the place. This was achieved by showing the inhabitants, whom David had persuaded to be photographed, and the urban or rural environment which defined life in the areas visited.

In Morocco he showed us the architectural splendour of the royal palaces as well as street scenes which revealed the practices of the people in everyday life. Interspersed with the scenery, he captured insightful portraits of the inhabitants.

A Berber elder tribesman or a young girl dressed in a traditional niqab. As David explained, his success in securing these candid portraits, normally so difficult to get agreement for, was down to a courteous approach combined with a few words of local dialect and a good deal of brass-necked charm! The landscape covered everything from desert scenes to the complex environment of a tannery with its myriad of processing wells.

Moving across the Atlantic to the USA brought a huge contrast in the imagery on show but with the same photographic attention to the details of place and peoples. We were taken on a road trip extraordinaire as we moved southwards from the volcanic and mountainous national parks of Yellowstone and Grand Teton, through the mystical rock formations of the Bryce and Antelope canyonlands, to the desert dunes of Death Valley and the iconic mountain scenery of Yosemite in California.

Our journey through this rural spectacular was mixed with the urban splendour of the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, the glitzy excesses of  the Las Vegas strip, the eerieness of gold-mining ghost town Bodie  and in David’s final destination, San Francisco, the starkness of the Alcatraz island prison and of course the Golden Gate bridge. All of these destinations were illuminated by the quality and the perspective of our visitor’s photography and his revealing and witty anectdotes which brought them to life. His photographic tour de force was greeted with enthusiastic thanks by the members at the end of the evening.

Although our formal meetings of the season are now ended, we will report on our informal photographic club sojourn to Edinburgh and district on 17-19th April. This will be followed by  an exhibition of photographic prints of our members at the Northern Photographic and Video Show to be held at the Rheged Centre, Penrith, on the weekend of 12-13th May. Attendees are most welcome to visit us at our stand, where members will be happy to provide advice on photographic equipment and techniques and to talk about our activities and the attractions of membership of the Society.  The next season will start at 7.30 on Wednesday 5th September at our venue of the Friends Meeting House, Elliot Park, Keswick, CA12 5NZ. This will be the AGM of the Society together with a social evening with buffet to welcome new and continuing members and, as always, visitors are most welcome to join us.