Dennis Russ: ‘Russ’s Reflections’


Last night saw the club return to Zoom for the first time this season and it was great to welcome back members from Tiverton and Dulverton to swell the audience to 30, as well as many of our new club members who joined us online for the first time. It’s always difficult to know what you are going to get when the speaker has been drafted in virtually at the last minute but Diane’s choice of Dennis Russ from Swansea worked a treat. Entitled ‘Russ’s Reflections’, this was a presentation quite unlike any other we have had in that you never knew from one image to another just what you were going to get. The initial images of the brick walls of a mental institution perhaps did not bode well for the rest of the talk but it soon became apparent that Dennis was a one-off with a keen photographer’s eye, a willingness to experiment and a host of images that many of us would have been happy to say we had taken. We got to know Dennis very well because his presentation style was so conversational that it was almost as if he was a close friend regaling us with stories about his search for pictures with his ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ gang and his views on judges and what others had said about his images. Oh, and he also uses an air fryer to make easy meals! We even saw his frozen peas that he’d used for a competition shot - which as he said ‘didn’t do anything’.

He’d been advised by a friend not to present his images in sections or genres but to jumble them and indeed it was a real mixture that he gave us. One moment we might be looking at a rabbit perhaps experiencing the last seconds of its life, the next grunge street shots and wrecks of cars through to impressive sunsets, triptychs, macro and many experimental creative images using textures. There was however, one section which composed of numerous shots on how he'd photographed a manikin which he had been given during lockdown and these were exceptionally creepy but technically fascinating. Many of these used the analogue filter which is part of the Nik software.

So it was great evening listening to Dennis’ lilting Welsh voice and seeing his diverse and fascinating images - many of which had won him high awards. He finished by showing several panels in both mono and colour which were pretty exceptional and by then he was such a close friend that it was no surprise when he told us that he’d told the judges who didn’t like what he’d put together that he ‘wasn’t going to change it for them or anyone else’. A true maverick.

Other announcements
The Cheese and Wine Shop has invited the club back for an exhibition after Christmas when it reopens its cafe
Car parking - please use alternatives to outside the science lab to make space for emergency vehicles if needed. There is a way out of the additional parking if you park near the sports facilities as there are automatic gates that open as you approach.
A really good sum of money has been collected for the Tommy Hatwell charity but there is still time to donate if you bring money in next week.
Next week it is back to the school for our first competition of the season.