OCA Thames Valley Group Meeting

30th June 2013

This was the third time the group has met at our normal venue of Gilbert Court, Thatcham.  Today there only seven of the eight intended attendees were able to make it, along with Sharon Boothroyd the workday leader.

We started off as normal with half-an-hour per attendee showing work in progress to the rest of us to receive critique and answer any questions that may arise.  It’s nice to see that as we settle down as a group, the lessons that we’ve been learning at previous meetings are beginning to be absorbed and showing up in the work we see.  The presentations were extremely varied, from The Art of Photography at level one to My Own Portfolio at level three and a very welcome presentation from Sharon of the beginnings of a new body of work based around images that represent prayers.

After the presentations were completed we had a very fun interlude making a group image.  Based on Inge Morath and Saul Steinberg’s mask series, we each took a brown paper bag and drew an image of how we felt we wanted to be perceived.  Although it was a great deal of fun there was a serious element to this and everyone got into the spirit of the occasion and helped Keith Greenough make several images.  Unfortunately for his a pack of Polaroid film he was using with his 5″ X 4″ camera had a light leak into the pack and ruined his attempt at instant images.  However, not to be thwarted he produced some normal film and made an image to be processed later and a digital image to boot, so all wasn’t lost.  The image concerned can be found here

Following this we took a short break and had a well deserved lunch with chat about this and that before we took on the challenge of the afternoon.

The project for the afternoon was to discuss John Berger’s ‘Ways of Seeing’, led by Sharon who’d written a very long list of topics and questions to make the afternoon fly by.

We’d all read the book and some of us had seen all the YouTube videos of the original TV series from the BBC, so hopefully properly armed we went at it and had some very in-depth discussions, new ideas from each other and, of course, disagreements on the interpretations.  My write-up on this discussion is here

I warn you it’s very long, as I felt that I had to do justice to the effort that’d been expended in gathering the information, discussing it and presenting it.  It’s certainly longer than I’d anticipated when I started it, but it’s now very comprehensive and I feel I’ve learned a great deal and taken a big step forward in understanding this seminal work.

The meeting had to close at 5-00 pm as other users wanted access to the rooms we’d had all day.  We all agreed that it’d been very worthwhile and we wanted to follow-up on this format next time which will be 17th August at Thatcham.   Anyone who decides to become a member will be welcome to apply for a place on any of the meetings we have and you don’t have to reside in Thames Valley to join.


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