Jo Knight, an award-winning photographer who has exhibited in many different countries, was our speaker tonight. The theme of her talk was the obstacles that she had to overcome in order to progress from a complete beginner to achieving her first distinction with the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain over a period of four years.
Jo only took up photography in 2013 when she decided to take photographs to show her father of the wildlife she encountered on her daily walks with her dog. She bought a third hand camera but found the manual, which was full of technical jargon, hard to understand. She then joined Penrith and District Camera Club and there found the help and support that she needed to progress her photography. She quickly developed her skills and achieved success in club competitions.
Jo has a disability and she has also suffered from a long-term illness with the result that she is in constant pain. Both her mobility and her energy are limited. While she could cope with photographing wildlife during the warmer months of the year Jo realised that the cold winter months would present a problem so she needed to find another outlet for her photographic skills. She decided to venture in to studio photography and to convert her tiny second bedroom for this purpose. This presented a second obstacle as her budget was limited so she purchased most of her photographic equipment second hand or cheaply through eBay or Amazon. Instead of hiring professional models, she bribed friends and relatives to pose for her. She then turned to taking photographs of herself often in elegant gowns, again purchased at a low cost, and, using the skills she had developed in mastering processing software, she incorporated these in imaginative and beautiful composites.
At first Jo’s images were not appreciated by club competition judges but her huge success in international and other competitions shows the extent to which she has conquered this obstacle. The final obstacle was to overcome her own lack of confidence in her work but she has now learned to trust her own gut instinct.
Jo showed us numerous examples of her exquisite work during the evening and kept us entertained with a lively and highly articulate narrative. She is a talented and creative photographer who has faced numerous obstacles in her life. Her determination and dedication in overcoming these to achieve such recognition and success in the photographic world is an example to us all.