2009 Exhibition in the Nicholson Institute Gallery; Denis Thorpe, Guardian Photographer; Close Up Competition.

Designed to Amuse! That's our collection of prints from the Humour competition. If you would like to raise a smile, just come along to our 2009 exhibition at the beautifully renovated Nicholson Institute Gallery. There you can judge for yourself these very comical scenes. You might be able to spot the winner, but choosing your overall favourite of the show could be a little harder.

Over 200 of our recent quality images, across a wide range of subjects, are on display. If you want to enjoy a visual feast, it is on from 10am to 4pm, Monday to Saturday, until 21st November and entrance is free. The exceptional beauty of the Staffordshire Moorlands in the landscape category is a joy to see.

Whatever your favoured subject – landscapes, natural history, creative, photojournalism, miscellaneous – they are all there in abundance. You won't be disappointed and if you want any advise on your camera work our stewards are all club members. 'Something for everyone'. 'Very talented'. 'Stunning'. 'Given us ideas.' These are just a few of the many compliments visitors have kindly written about our photographs.

At the club recently, we had the pleasure of viewing the work of Denis Thorpe, a distinguished photographer with the Guardian newspaper from 1974 to 1996, whose assignments took him worldwide. It was Denis who, acting quickly before it was completely dismantled, made a photographic record of the interior of the home/workplace of L.S.Lowry. This is invaluable, beautifully portraying as it does, the man and the celebrated artist.

The candid images Denis captured in his work are full of expression, whether of peaceful activities or conflict, sadness or joy, or his wonderful landscapes. The humanistic scenes are truly picture-stories. His enthusiasm for the job and his emotion about the subjects really shone through as he enlarged on the circumstances of each image.

This included one of his most memorable and moving assignments, photographing Brian Keenan following his release as a hostage. The two became such friends that Brian opened a show of the photographer’s work at The Lowry in 2002. The book, “Denis Thorpe on home ground” is a wonderful record of those times in the UK he reminisced about; a lot of them we find etched in our own memories.

Last week, for our Close Up competition, the vast majority of entries were natural history subjects. These ideally lend themselves to being projected large scale onto the screen. It is simply stunning to see nature's majesty in such minute detail, a secret world for us all to enjoy.

Our judge, Terry Bickley ARPS, was strong in his praise of the entries on display and did not relish his task of selecting award winners. Eventually, he gave special merit to twenty three of the sixty entries, as listed on our website. In third place was Tony Kinder for 'Wren with Insects', a perky bird with sumptuous meal, second was Linda Battersby with 'Hibiscus', a pristine flower with ethereal glow, whilst the winner was Paul Matthews with 'Hoverflies on Poppy', picture perfect.

Tomorrow in the Dove Room, SMDC offices, we have David Southard on Wild Arena, which offers workshops in natural settings. Visitors are welcome, entrance is £2.

Next Monday, 9th November, the Digital Group is holding a workshop on compiling audio visual sequences with instructions from Keith Brown, an expert in this field. It commences at 7.30pm in the Choir House, next to Cheddleton Church. Visitors' entrance fee is £3 including refreshments.

Report by Ann Sharratt

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