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Prize-winning Derbyshire photographs at the 2017 N&EMPF Exhibition

PUBLISHED: 00:00 09 February 2017

Storm Clouds over Lagangarbh Bothy by David Thompson - part of Bolsover Camera Club's Derwent Trophy-winning panel

Storm Clouds over Lagangarbh Bothy by David Thompson - part of Bolsover Camera Club's Derwent Trophy-winning panel

copyright belongs to individual photographers

Ashley Franklin reviews the success of our local photographers in the annual N&EMPF awards

The 2017 N&EMPF (North & East Midlands Photographic Federation) Exhibition, which showcases the crème de la crème of the regional camera club world, has yet again been a triumph for Rolls-Royce (Derby) Photographic Society.

Remarkably, Rolls-Royce’s 112 acceptances – the highest in the exhibition’s 62-year history – came from only 19 photographers. The club also won 36 of the 88 awards and accounted for 20 per cent of acceptances overall.

Two of those photographers – Neil Humphries and Jon Mee – won the two highest awards: for attaining the highest aggregate score in the Digital and Print exhibitions respectively.

Neil also won two major individual awards: Best Colour DPI (Digital Projected Image) for his atmospheric winter image ‘Snow in the Roaches’ and Best Nature DPI for ‘Dark Green Fritillary’.

Neil achieves his natural-looking and beautifully composed butterfly images by rearing them as caterpillars himself and feeding them on pansies. When they metamorphose as butterflies, Neil takes them outside early in the morning, carefully placing them on a photogenic plant. He then photographs his subjects and, when they awake, they fly away.

Neil has been a member of Rolls-Royce for five decades and is a key element in the unprecedented rise in the club’s fortunes which has seen it dominate the N&EMPF exhibition in the last five years.

‘Neil is an inspiration to us all,’ states Rolls-Royce Chairman Bill Hall, ‘and sets very high standards. He is also very generous with his advice.’

These are the positive aspects that drew Jon and Katrina Mee to Rolls-Royce, along with its competitive spirit: ‘As soon as we started visiting the club, we could see that it was very active on the competition circuit. To a newcomer, that can feel a bit daunting but, as the old saying goes, “you only get smarter by playing a smarter opponent”, and since we joined three years ago we have received a lot of help and tuition from various club members. The commitment and quality of the best members’ work inspires and motivates others to try and achieve a similar standard.’

‘I think it helps that we are a small, friendly and welcoming club who simply want to help each other enjoy photography,’ adds Neil Humphries. ‘We constantly share techniques and mentor and critique each other and especially encourage newer members to enter exhibitions. We also attract top photographers from other clubs who are stimulated by the high standards and competitive environment.’

There were other high achievers from Rolls-Royce in N&EMPF 2017: Brian Stephenson won the Individual Print Panel award for the third year running and also achieved a Selector’s Choice and a Highly Commended award; David Keep won Best Monochrome Print; and Jamie MacArthur won Best Natural History Print. Rolls-Royce’s Colour Print Panel also won first prize.

Other Derbyshire clubs who achieved awards include Clay Cross Photographic Society, Derby City Photographic Club, Dronfield Camera Club, Killamarsh Amateur Photographic Society and Melbourne Photographic Society.

The N&EMPF 2016 Print Exhibition is on at the Patchings Centre in Calverton, Nottinghamshire until 12th February, with an audio-visual of the Projected Image Exhibition touring N&EMPF clubs until May. For more details visit www.nempf.org.

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