On Wednesday 2nd October the guest speaker for Keswick Photographic Society members was Les Forrester, a photographer of some renown amongst the camera club fraternity. He recently gained a First Class Honours degree in Photography, has a Diploma from the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain and is an Associate Member of the Royal Photographic Society. To top it off he was recently invited to become a member of the prestigious London Salon of Photography.
Throughout his presentation Les demonstrated his distinctive personal approach to a very broad range of photographic genres. What emerged was the degree of research he conducts before he visits a new location so that he knows both the subject and the effect he is seeking to achieve before he even takes his camera out of the bag. He was quite candid, and speaking to around 35 photographers I suppose he had to be, about the post processing necessary to achieve the effects he sought. A user of Lightroom, Photoshop and NIK software, Les shared with us some of his techniques as well as explaining the effects of using the many different photographic papers. Knowing that many of the well-known favourite landscape venues had been photographed by hundreds of photographers over the years, he attempted to put his own stamp on them. This was successfully achieved in a number of ways, but his current approach is to move away from the saturated colour image to the very much more muted colouring and by being bold in the use of large proportions of negative space thereby producing quite minimalistic images.
Les’ images ranged from the classic landscapes such as the Skye Cuillins’ Fairy Pools, various waterfalls and seascapes to the less well-photographed Hartlepool Chemical Works! From farther afield, Les showed images of Portugal and explained that some of his landscapes had been accepted into the prestigious London and Edinburgh Salons. Through his images Les explained his journey in photography which has led him to more monochromatic images and architectural images with either real or manipulated symmetry.
A lover of libraries for their internal organisation, we were shown a number of dramatic images from libraries across Germany, including Berlin, Hamburg and Stuttgart.
His portfolio for his degree was called ‘Equine Art’ and Les included within the presentation a number of quite stunning images of horses in unusual poses as well as macro images of aspects of saddlery. He explained that for one shot he persuaded the handler to feed the horse an apple between its forelegs thereby getting the horse’s head in an unusual but very photogenic position.
Les’ deep interest and enthusiasm for developing a whole range of photography skills shone through as he showed masterful images from a fashion show, of sheep in winter, of landscapes close and far from his home, local harvesting, some sport, architecture, Underground railway stations and steam engines, to name but some.
But for a few exceptions such as flying birds, perhaps, Les finds the range of subjects to photograph endless.
He concluded his evening with us by showing photographs from his recent trip to Hong Kong. It rounded off a thoroughly enjoyable and very informative evening. His work is masterful and truly inspirational and more of his images can be seen at: lesforrester.com