This month I heard the sad news that a truly great photographer Terry Cryer has passed away. I had the good fortune to meet him on a number of occasions in recent years, and to hear him speak. Even better, he judged some of my photos at Camera Club competitions.
Remembering Terry Cryer
In Terry’s younger days he had a job with a photographic company where he was in charge of developing film in the darkroom. I don’t know if it’s a tall story but the way I heard him tell it was this: Sometimes in the darkroom he was rather distracted by the attentions of a pretty receptionist, and as a result some of the timings of the photo developing rather got away from him. Timing is absolutely critical in the darkroom, especially when developing film. So out of necessity, Terry became a bit of a specialist with the developing chemicals. He found new ways and combinations with the chemicals and was able rescue the rather over-stewed film stock.
He built on his developing skills and became an exceptional printer. This is a far more thrilling skill than it sounds. Depth, shine, grain, contrast, all were at his command. The visual texture in his prints is remarkable.
Terry’s career as a press, music and dance photographer are well recorded. He had superb timing which allowed him to capture mood and movement in punchy images. He had some seriously A-list friends yet he was a supporter of our camera club who was kind enough to come every few years to judge the monochrome competition or to give a talk on his work.
I’ve always found the monochrome competition a bit hard, and the standard in the club is very high and hard to beat. So I was really pleased when Terry awarded me third place for this photo shot in Marazion titled “An English Channel”. The image has a strong diagonal. You may already understand how leading lines in an image can give it depth. This isn’t quite the same thing here, as the photo was taken from a high vantage point. There isn’t a strong sense of distance in the upper half of the beach compared with the lower half. As your eye scans the image left to right, the diagonal leads out of the image, which is the wrong way around really. Perhaps I should have flipped the photo on the vertical axis. All the same the contrast and the diagonal are striking and quite effective.
Note how the figures on the beach are all engrossed in their activities. The two individuals on either outside edge of the group are both facing into the centre of the picture, which has a framing effect on the action. Terry said it was “well seen” and I’ll always remember that!
Terry’s obituary in the Guardian can be read here.
The Terry Cryer archive run by his family can be found here.
Earlier posts in this series Judging a Photograph
Continue to the next blog post in the Judging a Photograph series by clicking here.
I’ll be continuing this series on photo judging each Sunday, please sign up to the email subscribers list or like my Facebook page to get notifications.