Friday 27th January 2012 – Ralph Bennett – My Photography

Although Ralph Bennett is a regular attender at the weekly meetings of the Bangor and North Down Camera club it has been quite a while since he has exhibited any of his pictures. In fact the last time was in 1997 when the club met at the premises of the Royal Naval Club. That was also the year when Ralph was awarded a Distinction by the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain, one of the most prestigious  bodies in amateur photography.

Quite a few members, especially those who have joined in recent years, have never seen his work but they were treated to an eye-opening presentation of Ralph’s talent on Friday evening. Dividing the night into two halves he displayed both colour and monochrome prints, most of which had won or been placed in club competitions and many of which had gone on to achieve commendations in the Northern Ireland Photographic Association contests. His black and white prints, in particular drew admiring comments as they demonstrated Ralph’s prowess with the infra-red technique  – a process very rarely seen these days due to the digital advent and the expensive nature of the film.

His subjects ranged from a Donegal farmhouse to the Palm House at Botanic Gardens but it was the depiction of everyday objects seen in a different light which attracted the highest interest. A twisted metal fence, a lone tree in a meadow or the menace of approaching storm clouds – given the Bennett touch with a polarising filter they each told their story in emotive shades and hues. He also explained the painstaking procedures involved in  the infra-red process, demonstrating how the film required to be loaded in complete darkness inside the confines of a black coverall body bag. He admitted that this was one manoeuvre he didn’t miss!

As Ralph is deaf his presentation was given through an interpreter Rosie Budd. With, at times bewildering speed and accuracy, she translated Ralph’s signs and relayed back any questions. The ease with which they  communicated was explained by the fact that it was Rosie’s father who had started Ralph in photography – some fifty years ago. From his initial efforts with a Kodak Brownie he had progressed to sophisticated single lens reflex cameras and has now updated his equipment to digital, although he admits that the computer part of the printing process does give him some anxious moments – an admission which brought murmurs of empathy  from the audience.

After the tea interval Ralph introduced an array of his work in colour, a large part of which was portraiture. He also dropped a gentle hint that perhaps the club members were not making as much use as they might of the excellent studio facilities available for portraiture. Finally he didn’t actually say as much but given the reception his past work was given he might well be persuaded to take the lens cap off and add a bit more bite to the Bangor competitions in coming months.

John Bennett


4 thoughts on “Friday 27th January 2012 – Ralph Bennett – My Photography

  1. someone suggested that an av is made of his work so the people who were not able to make it are able to see his brilliant work

  2. Friday night was one of the best nights i have had at the club since I started and to think we have this talent within our very own club
    Who needs visiting speakers
    I was so impressed with Ralphs work and the fact that not only does he take the photos he also prints his own and cuts his own mounts makes it even more impressive
    He has won so many prizes he cant remember how many stars he has he is very modest about it all
    It would be good to see him join in the clubs wed night and put a few new pics on a flash drive to show us beginers how to see a good photo

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