Club Meeting, Storylines Challenge - Tuesday 20th February 2018.

The Vice Chairman’s Challenge ‘Storylines’ was the theme of the Morpeth Camera Club’s meeting on Tuesday 20th
February 2018. Members were invited to submit four images; each should contain a story which needs to impart a
beginning, middle and an end. The viewer should be able to see the story or read a story into the image. As usual,
John liked to add a twist to the evening and instead of the author explaining their images it was put out to another
individual, chosen at random, to describe their views on what the scene was supposed to depict, these views were
then compared with the authors interpretation. It didn’t quite go to plan; as the evening progressed more and more
members put in their threepennyworth, sometimes with comical comments, and being a very friendly bunch, there
was a lot of cheeky banter by some, who in turn were given equally critical comments when it was their turn to
present their images.
Some images were seriously discussed at length while others were given short shrift, firstly for not having a specific
story line and for not following the brief. An array of subject matter, a figure of plague doctor in physic garden, some
birdwatchers, beachcombers, children with snowmen, bronze figures, glass blowers, racism marchers & Hari Krishna
parades, were included. Also among the images submitted on the night were Paul Appleby’s traditional barber shop
where the customers were firstly having their hair washed, dried & then styled and then a scene at a railway station
of three murals which illustrated the day in the life of a steam train, which read ‘Oily rag, your face all Clean’ followed
by ‘Belly Full and Under Steam’, and finally ‘One final Run, your work is done’. Kate Phillipson’s Belsay exhibition of
artefacts followed which included the Eiffel Tower, a bust of Napoleon, the Sphinx, a train set and slaves carrying
cotton reels. The audience pondered on the connection between the elements and eventually Kate revealed that it
was a collection which illustrated Belsay Halls’ family history. Dave Bisset’s Cenotaph with poppies gave rise to the
suggestion that one could imagine young soldiers going to war, then the erection of a commemorative monument
and finally poppies being laid annually in remembrance. Glyn Trueman’s image of candles in front of a fire, one unlit,
one lit but being melted by the fire and then a heap of candle wax on the fire surround followed with a still life study
of a pencil sharpener, shavings and a newly sharpened pencil which were both considered to be fair examples of
following the brief. With John Thompson’s contribution of an air sea helicopter exercise and an inflatable inshore
rescue vessel approaching a stranded car on a causeway, he stressed that although they didn’t depict a beginning,
middle and ending, they had potential for interpretation, it was up to the viewer to read into them what they thought
had happened.
At the end of the evening, it was established that few were able to fit the brief fully in one image, many of them told
a story, some entrants had succeeded by submitting three consecutive images which portrayed a starting point, a
middle and an ending point, an example of which was a disused railway line, a jogger on an old railway line walking
track and finally a completely overgrown scene of where a railway line use to run. John thanked everyone who had
contributed to the evening which included a wide selection of interesting topics and lively interaction. He said this
was a challenge for members to read something into each image and to look more deeply into the content, finally
establishing that in any context ten images could have resulted in ten different opinions. The evening provided a
good exercise for members to submit images which had been given a lot of consideration and which provided a
great platform for debate. Chairman, Mark Harrison thanked John for a very interesting evening after which coffee
was served.