John Maw – Commercial Photography

This was a very good evening, and gave a different angle on photography unencumbered by competition rules and standards.

John showed several examples from his portfolio, and explained in each case what his remit was and what he was trying to achieve, and how he went about it. Quite scary in some cases, especially the lorry he was photographing whilst he was lying in the road inches from its wheels!

He talked about other elements of his work, such as teaching, the places he took his students to, and advised us to visit photo exhibitions and galleries to study how the great photographers worked their magic.

John emphasised that photos should be taken for one’s own enjoyment, and that we shouldn’t worry too much about competition constraints. Judges’ opinions were often subjective and idiosyncratic, and could lead one away from the pleasure of creating an image. He also thought that editing images shouldn’t been seen as cheating. Combining elements from two or more photos to make a final image was still our own work, and just as legitimate as a lucky first-time capture. Editing made up for the lighting or weather being unkind when we had perhaps the only opportunity to take photos of a specific place or subject.

The evening was very informal, and John welcomed questions and interruptions as he went along, and was very willing to discuss any aspects of photography. I think we all learnt a lot from his take on photography, and I know I heaved a sigh of relief at being given permission to throw the rule book out of the window!


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