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Anita Kirkpatrick – My Photographic Panels Journey

On Friday 28th January 2022 Bangor North Down Camera Club had the pleasure of welcoming Dr Anita Kirkpatrick FPSNZ AIPF LRPS via zoom, to give a presentation on her Photographic Panels journey. Anita has a number of distinctions to her name, the earliest being a Licentiateship Royal Photographic Society achieved in 1999 followed by a Licentiateship Photographic Society of New Zealand in 2013. Anita’s latest successes are the Fellowship of Photographic Society of New Zealand and Associateship of Irish Photographic Federation both in 2021 which she completed and achieved within two weeks of each other. Anita lived in New Zealand for 7 yrs and did her first New Zealand panel whilst she was there.

Anita started her presentation by sharing her top 4 elements of what should go into a panel, such as content (something you love to photograph), photography (your vision, personality), editing (basic or advanced) and presentation (paper/mounts/size). Anita also stated that the layout of a panel is an art in itself and factors, such as how the photos in the panel all relate to each other, is extremely important. The relationship between the photos could be colour, shapes, texture or a specific topic. The position of the photos is equally as important, for example the images at both ends of the panel should have an element in it which should point towards the centre of your panel. This adds to the flow and how pleasing it is to the eye. You also have to write a statement which describes what your panel is about and how it represents the vision you had while constructing your panel of images. The statement allows the judges and others to see the panel in the same way so they can also see and understand the connection between panel images. Anita did share a panel throughout her talk which was not successful for an Associateship of Irish Photographic Federation in 2020 which was unfortunate but informative to see why it did not pass and what judges had picked up on. Below, however, is a summary of her successful panels.

Anita’s then showed us a panel of ten images which she had submitted for her Licentiateship Photographic Society of New Zealand in 2013. She was living in New Zealand at the time she put the panel in. The set of images carried through a diversity “flow” from image to image whether it be colour or shape, etc. The first image being a rounded spoon heaped with peas and then followed by a landscape of Moeraki boulders which brought in the green and dome shapes in the previous photo. The next 4 were water images and seascapes taken with a slow shutter speed, ending the panel were action photos and portraiture photos. As Anita went from one photo to the another you could see each relative connection between them.

Anita’s next panel was the set of images she put together for her Associateship of Photographic Society New Zealand. It was based on the tragic events around the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris. She only used a few items to create the photos, which were cardboard, pencil leads, pencil sharpening's/shavings and the small pencils left after sharpening. It was fascinating to hear Anita describe each image she had used in this panel and how she had arranged the 12 leads together as they symbolized those 12 people who had passed away. It was also incredible to see how she arranged everything to illustrate different aspects relating to the attack, from a speech bubble to the Eiffel tower to the French Flag. Every image was shot at different angles to see which one worked best.

Anita’s next panel was for her Associateship of Irish Photographic Federation in 2021 and was called “The Troubles”. She started creating her panel by drawing a storyboard first of her memories from the troubles. She did a little sketch on paper, of the symbols that were significant to her story. Anita decided she wanted to do this panel in pencil leads and sharpenings, similar to her Charlie Hebdo panel. It was very clever and inspirational to see how she used the pencil leads and coloured pencil leads to create two school ties (for example) one red, white and blue and the other green, white and gold to represent both sides of the community. Other examples of symbols depicted were a car fire, Stormont, Checkpoint, to name but a few. These symbols were all illustrated with pencil leads and shavings.

Anitas’ final panel named “They are us” was again based on a terrible tragedy that struck two Mosques in Christchurch where she and her family had lived. This panel was for her Fellowship of Photographic Society of New Zealand. A lone gunman entered the Mosques and killed 51 people including 4 women. Anita again showed us a storyboard to tell the story and again she went to work on her panel of images, anything that came to mind she wrote down and drew a rough symbol to represent what she saw. This time she introduced broken glass as a medium in her images which again was astonishing to see how it was used and, in such detail, too. Once the panel was complete, she went to all lengths to get it printed and displayed in Christchurch where the body of work truly belonged. Anita was sent an emotional photo of her friend beside Anitas’ panel of images hanging up in the convention which was very moving for her.

Bangor North Down Camera would like to thank Anita for her wonderful, ingenius and inspiring presentation regarding her Photographic Panels journey and how to interpret a story using the simplest of medium and photographing it, which in turn, comes across in a very strong and emotional display.

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