Speaker Night – Roy Matthews

Speaker Night – Roy Matthews

Wednesday 08/11/2017


Light Painting Still Life


Anyone who is interested in Photographic Art, and Still life in particular was given a treat last night when Midhurst Camera Club welcomed Roy Matthews to give a talk on “Light Painting Still Life”. Indeed, Roy is an expert on this subject and his measured approach to a branch of photography that requires great patience, and a good dose of creative skill, was masterly.

We had a good attendance for the evening which was split into two parts. The first part of the evening was given over to a presentation about the history of light painting together with examples by photographers such as Gjon Mili, and Man Ray. Roy then went on to show the different areas where light painting can be used and the tools that can be employed to achieve the effects. Roy also showed examples of Dutch Still Life paintings such as: “Banquet Still Life” by Adriaen van Utrecht, and “Asparagus” by Adriaen Coorte, explaining how works such as these have influenced his photography.

Roy Matthews (left) demonstrates his technique as Elke Epp, and Colin Joe Bird intently watch.

The second part of the evening was in the form of a demonstration consisting of a small table top display of objects, a selection of light sources, and a tethered camera.

The table display was in the form of some pewter jugs and a two year-old bulb of garlic on a black velvet cloth. The camera was mounted on a tripod and tethered to a laptop through Lightroom.

After taking several shots, adjusting the camera and employing different light painting techniques, Roy ended up with a series of images with different light “footprints”. He was then able to select the images he liked, adjust them in Lightroom, and load them up as layers into Photoshop. In Photoshop Roy then adjusted the blending mode of each layer so that each layer interacted to produce a result very close to a Dutch Still Life painting.

Club Members were then invited to participate and try their hands at light painting. Like Intentional Camera Movement (ICM) there is a lot of trial and even more error involved in this. You are bound to end up with a lot of unusable images. The idea is to end up with a some good images amongst the bad. This brings us back to the bit about patience.

It was hoped that this part of the evening would be longer but unfortunately we ran out of time. It was very informative evening and I fully expect to see images using these ideas making an appearance in Club Competitions.

Roy started his photographic career in the early 1980’s with publishing house Hodder & Stoughton where he became chief photographer producing cover artwork, author portraits and advertising media. 

In 1990 he turned freelance and has since worked in many areas of photography including advertising (food & product), travel, tourism, company report & editorial for such clients as the BBC, BT, Unwins, CB Richard Ellis, M&S, and John Lewis.
In recent years Roy has also been running a variety of photography workshops, both locally and at the Royal Academy of Arts, London.

Article and Photographs by Richard Corkrey – 09/11/2017

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