You will gather from the title that Fred is a Londoner and proud of it, although you’ll notice that his Honours now read FRPS not ARPS. He is a member of Beckenham and Malden Camera Clubs.
The Royal Photographic Society award three levels of distinction, each requiring increasing levels of photographic excellence and an increasing number of images to submit. A Licentiate (LRPS) requires 10, an Associate 15 (ARPS), and a Fellowship (FRPS) 20 or 21 images, so a Fellowship is the highest level of distinction awarded. The images must be presented as a ‘panel’; a cohesive body of work displayed in a specific presentation layout.
I spoke to Fred before the meeting and congratulated him on his ‘F’, achieved in June of this year. He said that he thinks in ‘panels’ and that gave him an advantage when it came to preparing work for the RPS distinctions.
Fred is drawn to the shapes, lines, patterns and colour harmonies in his subjects, basically the abstract side of picture composition. His pictures are pre-visualised, so he has a pretty good idea of the image he wants before he takes it. Once he has decided on what he wants, he doesn’t waste much time taking the picture. Although he takes some landscapes, unlike dedicated landscape photographers, he hasn’t the patience to wait around for the light to be right.
He said he wasn’t bothered about cameras so there was little point in asking him what equipment he uses. The technical quality of all cameras is pretty impressive nowadays, and we all know that it’s really not the camera that takes good pictures, don’t we?
To begin with we saw some of Fred’s early work and although he took a variety of subjects it was pretty clear early on the kind of subject matter he had a preference for. He is well-travelled and we saw pictures from many different locations like Marrakesh and the Galapagos Islands. It caused some amusement when the first photo he showed taken in the Galapagos Islands (a wildlife photographer’s idea of paradise) was an abstract taken at somewhere like the airport. Granted he showed us later some great shots of brown pelican and some marine iguanas, but by that time, the damage was done! From his point of view, the location of where he takes his pictures doesn’t really matter.
His general approach is to aim for a panel of pictures fitting a theme, like ‘The colours of the rainbow’ or ‘The letters of the alphabet’. From then on, it’s a case of looking for images that will fit that theme, wherever that might be. It is clearly a system that works very well for him.
Fred has kindly let me share some of his ARPS panel pictures with you. One of the RPS requirements is that you must supply a written Statement of Intent with your submission. This enables the assessors to see how successful you were in achieving your aims. So first, here is his Statement for you to judge it for yourselves:
Colours and Lines – A Series of Urban Extracts
By Fred Barrington
‘I take photographs because it helps me to see things that I would otherwise pass by.
My aim is to show what I have ‘visualised’ at the time of taking, and so my pictures tend to be manipulated in a very basic way in order to achieve this effect – mainly by emphasising the particular aspects that I have seen, especially the colours and Composition, so I tend to crop and straighten as well as enhance the contrast/saturation, but not to change the image from that which I visualised when I took the picture..
This panel shows a series of details that I have recorded in urban environments around the world, although their actual location is unimportant.’
Fred did not show us his FRPS panel. The images for this were all take at the Hotel Abama, Tenerife and can be seen on his website at Fred Barrington – FRPS.
Thank you Fred for sharing your brilliant pictures with us.