Light & Land
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‘Bristol Harbourside’ with Bill Ward
11th January 2022
On a wet and windy day in December, Bill Ward and his small group of committed photographers ventured to Bristol Harbourside to immerse themselves in capturing images reflecting this wonderfully vibrant area.
Once one of Britain’s busiest ports, Bristol’s “Floating Harbour” covers an area of 72 acres - much of it the paraphernalia of heavy industry long since forgotten - steam cranes, warehouses - surrounded on all sides by a hubub of busy cafe’s, restaurants, art galleries, boats, barges and museums. Cut adrift from the River Avon and its tides by lock gates at both ends, the area is an oasis of colour and vitality - a fascinating place to spend time with a camera.
Home to numerous leading edge artists both visual and musical (Banksy, Massive Attack et al), this juxtaposition of old and new makes it the perfect place to experiment photographically.
With this in mind, our workshop aimed to concentrate on developing our skills in what are often referred to as “Creative Photography” techniques, in particular Intentional Camera Movement (ICM) and In Camera Multiple Exposures. Bill has been a leading practitioner of both for nearly a decade, and is a regular writer/contributor for the worldwide ICM Photography Magazine. He’s particularly evangelical about their ability to get right under the skin of a place, a time, a feeling, and reveal their very essence.
Right (mini gallery), are a selection of images by participant Will Anderson created on the day. Will says:
"The morning of storm Barra did not look like a good start for a day’s photography. It’s a credit to Bill Ward’s enthusiasm for Creative Photography that we didn’t let the rain and the wind drive us into the nearest café! Within a few minutes the group had gelled and were happily experimenting. Our first location was a cold and breezy Temple Quay which although it felt unpromising emerged as having plenty of interesting opportunities for ICM and multiple images – modern buildings, textured walkways, fallen leaves on the water, weeping willows etc. All of these were just waiting to be “seen” and to be incorporated into images that reflected the experience of the morning – cold, windy and wet. Castle Park was next and by this time storm Barra was chucking it at us. My images of this park are all very noir. One of them has a small blurry figure in red which looks as if it might have stepped out of “Don’t Look Now” - we weren’t in Venice, were we?
Storm Barra passed while we had lunch leaving us with a clear sky afternoon. The mood of the day had changed and my photos reflect this. The quayside gave some nice impressionistic shots of boats, barges and cranes and Trumpet Bridge bristled with pedestrians and cyclists– all good material for ICM. As daylight faded, Trumpet Bridge became a different scene completely – lights on the bridge reflecting in the water, cyclists with light trails, and brooding shadows. In daylight Millennium Square had been
interesting but as we moved into the superb blue hour the fairground lights shimmered magically in the shallow water pools, the ferris wheel metamorphosed into octopus tenacles and the mirrored dome cast a ghostly reflection. All this provided no end of beguiling images – with or without ICM.
What had seemed to start as a cold, damp and unpromising day had finished as one of excitement and exhilaration. Unfettered by my tripod (at Bill’s bidding), I had a great time – and so did my camera and my iPhone. Bill was always there if you wanted him – available, unintrusive and creatively encouraging. After the day he followed up with the participants promptly and encouraged us to share some of our images with L&L. He generously gave me some feedback on the images I shared with him and this was really constructive and helpful … “see what happens when you go too far on the blur front... really push it to a place where you're not comfortable almost for the purposes of hypothesis testing - you can always come back!”
A couple of Bill's images are below. Bill will be leading dates in 2022. Stay tuned!