This report is late because the really nice sunny weather has kept me away from my computer. However, beware “We’re doomed, doomed I say”, (as Private Frazer in Dad’s Army would say), because we will no doubt pay for it later with a hard winter. This evening we were visited by Graham Sergeant FRPS and Carole Speight ARPS (a regular visitor recently as a judge) who showed us some brilliant AVs, which they had singly or together produced. They have won awards so are amongst the very best around to show us this photographic art form.
Graham started by telling us the delights of making AVs and how they are a very good way to show of family history or to tell a story. He emphasised the importance of the sound that accompanies their AVs, both with music and commentary. Graham’s professional background was making documentaries for the BBC, which together with his expertise as a stills photographer, having gained his FRPS, makes him ideally placed to make AVs. Carole is of course a brilliant photographer as well and displayed her ability to take a large series of images of all aspects of a subject in order to construct her AVs.
We were shown a wide variety for our entertainment. Some were funny, some were travelogues and others showed some thought provoking sad events. The first AV was entitled ‘Photo Harmony’ and was set to Flanders and Swann’s duet singing ‘We do not go out much any more’ and featured Carol Smilie and Alan Titchmarsh amongst others and was very funny. This was followed by ‘Yellowstone” and was a very comprehensive look at the wildlife and the beautiful scenery of that park in all weathers by Carole. The third AV was by Graham and told the story of Elizabeth Twistington Higgins MBE the most remarkable lady Graham has ever met, who was struck down with polio, having been a top ballerina. In spite of her huge disability this did not let her condition prevent her from going on to teach ballet and produce shows. Amazing. Next up, ’A village frozen in time’ by Carole which told the story of a village called Twynham which was taken over by the military during WWII to train troops for D Day, which was promised back to the inhabitants after the war, but which has never happened. After this we had ‘Top Gear’ which had many quick fire images ‘extracting the Michael ‘out of the TV show. After the break Carole showed us ‘Blackpool’ which was very colourful as you can imagine. Then we had a very thought provoking AV called ‘Beeswing’, (the title of an Irish song) made by Graham which won him a Gold Medal from the RPS. It told the story of a lady who sold the Big Issue and lived in a caravan in a traveller’s commune. She got an opportunity to take a course learning painting and decorating, and she got to live in a house, Sadly she could not cope and she died of a drug overdose. That got us all thinking of the many people who have very hard lives, but are still good people. Next Carole showed us ‘Native Rock’ which told the story of slate mining in Wales and it's demise. ‘Family History’ told the sad story of a Dad who had a career in the RAF but contracted Motor Neurone Disease and showed how he and his family all coped. Very moving. ‘Documentary Photographer’ retold the story of Shackleton's Antarctic expedition with the images taken by the expedition photographer Frank Hurley reproduced from a book on the subject. Finally we finished with a short comedic AV called ‘Perfect Husband” which made us all chuckle.
Thank you Graham and Carole for a very entertaining evening which could inspire some members to have a go at making AVs, I bet?