More than an Image - A Sam Gregory Talk

On Monday 25th November 2019, members of Wimborne Camera Club, and visitors, enjoyed an excellent talk and presentation by Sam Gregory, a local ‘Landscape’ photographer. ‘Landscape’ in inverted commas because, as Sam explained, he had moved on from conventional landscape where the image relies on what happens to be presented on that occasion - to ‘abstract landscape’ where the photographer sets out with an story and intention.

He introduced the idea of de-constructing landscapes into abstract elements, looking for balance and shape, in particular triangles and curves. He then talked about images in musical terms, as solos, singles and albums: the solo being part of an image, singles being a stand-alone image, and albums being a panel or portfolio.

His own work has moved on to what called ‘a creative treatment of reality’ using tricks such as ambiguity of scale.

He demonstrated many of these principles in the second half of his presentation, using a recent set of panels he has created under the theme of The Mesozoic - between extinctions, the story of the Jurassic Coast during it’s formation All the images were taken within a small radius on the same Dorset beach, using a structured approach:

  • Initial seeds of the idea - to show the Dorset Jurassic coast in a different way to the normal shots of Durdle Door

  • Research into the subject

  • Plan and Experiment - open minded creativity and structured reactions

  • Curate & Display - coherent groupings and final presentations.

His final practical tips invited photographers to:

  • Think about a subject or location in a variety of ways

  • Use a phone or compact camera as a sketchpad to try ideas

  • If a story has a beginning, middle end end then think about each stage and how they can progress the story

  • Try to keep the aesthetic consistent - colour, mood, energy & tonal balance.

In summary, his key messages were:

  • Successful images can be taken anywhere, at any time of day, with any camera;

  • Photographers should find the bit they like and do more of it; and

  • If you aren’t enjoying your photography then stop what you are doing and do something else!

Write up by Eric Wallbank

To see more of Sam's amazing work, visit his website:

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