Bill Ward - In Search of

Date Published 
Wed 7 Oct 2020

On Tuesday 6th October we had Bill Ward giving an absolutely brilliant presentation. Bill spoke for almost 2 hours in total but had generated so much interest, he very kindly hung on for almost a further hour or so discussing his images and inspirations.

Bill is a very successful actor of stage, film, and TV with over 400 episodes of Coronation Street to his name, and over 300 episodes of Emmerdale.  On top of that he is an award winning photographer having won both landscape of the year and seascape of the year images in the past. In addition to that, he is a Geordie, born and raised in Gosforth, so although he was speaking to us from Bristol, he soon reverted to his Geordie roots.

In the first part of the show Bill concentrated on his landscapes, initially talking us through how he got into photography and how, now, it has become his escape from the intensity required to fulfill his succesful acting career. One problem this gives him is that, although he has time off, as his work is mainly in the evening, it generally prevents him from getting "golden hour" shots, therefore a lot of his landscape and urban shots are taken at midday. The landscapes, many of which were from Northumberland, were simply fabulous.  Bill showed how he loved a muted palette to work with and, in many instances taking a minimalist approach, he made courageous use of negative space, with the actual subject very small in the frame.

In the 2nd half of the show Bill progressed to his more creative use of the camera, particularly in respect of intentional camera movement and multiple exposures in camera. Bill uses very little post processing and some of the multiple exposures involved up to 30 images blended together, mostly in camera using the 3 blending modes within his Pentax cameras. The most fascinating part of this was when Bill explained how he first visualised an ICM or ME shot and gradually worked up to something which approaches how he imagined it. He demonstrated this on about 20 or so shots of the Clifton Suspension Bridge which gradually evolved into a type of Egyptian monumental shot. Bill explained that for ICM he may take about 400 shots in a session getting approximately 2 keepers, which is about my succes rate when using a tripod!

We had 55 attendees and the overwhelming feedback was that this was the best session we have done to date, for showing us how an artist visualises what he wants, and for exposing us to pushing the boundaries in creative work.