Last Friday members gathered both in the club room and on Zoom to welcome Brian Mason from Banbridge Camera Club. Brian who described himself as just an ordinary club member had agreed to present a portfolio of his work in street photography.
After thanking the Bangor club for their invitation, Brian began by saying that this genre of photography is not to everyones liking as it is regarded as an unsolicited intrusion. Never the less, for Brian to record city life its people, its characters in their day to day activities has worthwhile and important social comment to make.
Many will, when thinking of street photography have in mind gritty black and white images as was evidence in the presentations last week by three local photographers of our recent societal conflict.
However for Brian working in colour is how he pursues his craft and defines his work as having several themes.
For the most part Brian employs a 16 mm prime lens which means he needs to move about and around his subject to get a good shot. After obtaining a good result Brian finds his enthusiasm much boosted and with the muse upon him is able to bring home his iconic images of city existence. Lighting direction and where it falls on a subject is of prime consideration for Brian to enable him to achieve a required result.
The first of these themes is reflections ever present in the city environment of Belfast and Liverpool where Brian pounds the streets to capture his colourful work .
Reflections in water puddles after rain that capture passing people in abstract patterns, and also people reflected in glass shop windows giving a double image effect which includes elements of the surrounding city buildings, or environment and often with the reflection fractured or distorted again providing an abstract image.
Brian finds inspiration in city wall art where he photographs people in front of these colourful works and where he finds humour and irony in an association of his subject with the city art by way of dress or hair colour .Here patients or luck plays a part as waiting for the right moment brings success though Brian says he will make his own luck and if he sees an interesting subject he will follow them in hope of getting a good image .
Women and girls with brightly dyed hair, green, red, blue, yellow, orange anything goes it seems provides much inspiration for Brian.
Here we see the girls hair matches that of the characters depicted in the wall art .
In city of The beetles Liverpool the the psychedelic Rolls Royce of John Lennon passing a wall image of the iconic personality himself defines the nature of the photographer's colourful work.
In yet another theme Brian photographs through the windows or doors of coffee shops, barber shops and nail bars, those engaged in all the activities much abundant in the city environment. Mo doubt many think that this is very intrusive, and while Brian hopes not to be spotted that sometimes can't be avoided. Some will give a withering look, some will ask why he is taking a photograph, some do not object however to avoid confrontation will be for Brian a thing to be avoided at all costs .
The homeless a difficult issue but worth recording. Here Brian often talks to and gets to know folk who for different reasons find themselves living on the streets, often with a dog for a companion. Brian pointed out that for the most part rough sleepers are good respectable folk, and revealed that kindness or generosity is often provided by those who are passing by.
Shop posters and signage provides rich pickings for Brian. The image of an elderly gent on roller blades photographed passing the shop FOREVER 21, was the image of the evening which defines Brian's unique ability to bring a rye smile to the face.
In presenting this body of work Brian gave those present a fun filled ,colourful ,insightful and his personal view of aspects of city life as it happens on our streets today.
All present wish to thank Brian for sharing the imagery of a dedicated exponent of STREET PHOTOGRAPHY and wish him every success in future endeavours.