We spoke to Eleanor Coke, a featured photographer in Winchester Photographic Society’s 2022 annual print exhibition, currently at City Space, The Arc. A recent beginner, she has made a significant impact with her exquisite takes on James Bond cars! She spoke to us about her fascination with her camera, her newfound love of black and white photography and what she has learnt from her time at Winchester Photographic Society (WPS).
When did you first start artistic photography and what kind of training have you had?
I purchased a small camera and for ten years, had it hanging around and would just take it to events. At the time I really struggled to understand how cameras work. When I retired four years ago, I decided to pursue photography, I needed a purpose and when I took photos occasionally, I really enjoyed it. I decided to make a membership to WPS my starting point. They run competitions and every member is invited to participate, but they do so much more. They also host different speakers, outings and workshops, which for a newcomer photographer is an incredibly good, comfortable place to start. Many members of the society have been doing photography for a long time and they know how to use 35mm film and reveal in a dark room. Whilst I came into photography in the digital era, I still appreciate that many members are willing to share their own experiences with photography.
I was also fortunate to pursue photography lessons from the Hampshire School of Photography. At the class, we were paired up with another student and we were given an assignment every month. One of the assignments was to do black and white photography, and some of the results of this task are presented in the WPS Annual Print Exhibition, currently at City Space.
The Third Time it's Enemy action - Goldfinger is an impressive take on the luxury and cine-noir characteristics of the James Bond saga. Could you tell us a bit more about what lies behind these photographs?
We visited the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu. They have a great exhibition of the James Bond cars at the moment and I decided to challenge myself and take photographs of the cars. It was really quite difficult to photograph, the cars are kept in great big warehouse with huge lights on the ceiling. I had to move around a lot to try to make sure I did not get overexposed images. Because you got shadows from other things that hung over the ceiling of the exhibition room, it made it extra challenging. The space is also very well lit, I aimed to capture the light patters on the metal. Doing this series of photographs has taught me that what I really like is small details, seeing patters which you do not normally see. Landscapes are not particularly my favourite, but I quite enjoyed photographing the detailed reflection play on these cars. I like black and white photography, as it is quite clean and brings out much more detail. I like the change in tones to something quite black to anything in between, it really did bring out the detail which I believe probably if the photograph was in colour, you would not have seen the reflection in such contrast.
What could you recommend to people in Hampshire interested in pursuing photography?
I think that if anybody is not only wanting to learn photography, but wants to better their photography, WPS is a good place to start. Being able to see some of the work of the photographic members, but also hearing from a rich range of speakers is great. WPS always gather excellent quality speakers across all the genres of photography. Just seeing other colleagues’ work is inspirational and it offers many ideas. I would suggest to young photographers to go to their local photographic society because members will be helpful and teach you how to operate a camera and make the best use of it. But most importantly, just to pick up your camera, to go outside and enjoy it. I just love it; I really enjoy photography. It is just mindfulness in the moment of using the camera, and it does not matter whether it is your phone or a sophisticated camera.
Winchester Photographic Society 2022 is now at City Space, The Arc until 15 May 2022. Prints are available for sale, and you can vote for your favourite photo for the People’s Choice Award, which will be published at the end of the exhibition. Visit City Space at The Arc to purchase your prints, available for collection when the exhibition closes.
Visit www.winphotosoc.uk to learn more about the society, see examples of members’ work and view the programme of events.