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Photographic Influences - Gerry Coe

On Friday the 8th of January, the talk at Bangor & North Down Camera Club was entitled ‘Photographic Influences’ and it was given by one of our own club members, Gerry Coe. Gerry is an award-winning professional photographer, a well-known expert on iPhone photography, and a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society (FRPS). In his talk Gerry covered his major photographic and artistic influences from his life in photography.

Gerry used some of his favourite photographic books as the basis of his talk. Many of the photographers are very well known, others are his own personal favourites. Gerry started with one of the most famous photographers of all, Ansel Adams, whose iconic American landscapes helped establish photography as an art form. Gerry discussed Edward Weston and his son’s Brett and Cole who all played important parts in the history of photographic art. Gerry covered other important landscape photographers such as Bruce Barnbaum, John Sexton and Fay Godwin.

Winston Churchill by Yousef Karsh

He covered the work of important portrait photographers such as Yousuf Karsch (one of his most famous images was a somewhat menacing portrait of Winston Churchill) and the often controversial Robert Mapplethorpe. Mapplethorpe’s portraiture style was an important influence on Gerry’s professional work, and his work helped establish Gerry’s signature style which was to produce high key ‘pencil portraits’ for his clients.

Gerry also talked about John Claridge, who was a contemporary of David Bailey, and who Gerry has become very friendly with after meeting him at a photography event some years ago. He also discussed the work of the renowned English photographer, John Blakemore, famous for his ethereal images of flowers and his skill in capturing the English landscape, John has been a visitor at the club on a few occasions in the past.

Gerry also discussed the work of two of his favourite contemporary American photographic artists, Dan Burkholder and Fran Forman, both of whom are good personal friends, and both have given talks at the club this year via Zoom from the USA.

Gerry finished by discussing some art forms and artists who had also been important influences on his photography. He discussed his love of Japanese prints and showed us a few of his personal favourites. He also talked about the work of several of his favourite local artists such as Neil Shawcross and Terry Flanagan.

We would like to express our thanks to Gerry for sharing the work of these important photographers and artists with us, it was an interesting and inspiring evening.

Next week is the club’s annual ‘Panels’ competition, where members enter a panel of six images on a theme of their choosing. It is always an interesting evening which challenges entrants to produce a set of images, rather than competing with the normal single image format. This competition is a good starting point for members interested in producing larger panels for use in photographic distinctions.

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