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Suffolk photographer Brian Beaney’s retrospective proves that sometimes the camera does lie

PUBLISHED: 13:30 27 September 2018 | UPDATED: 13:58 27 September 2018

Dawn at the Ferry by Brian Beaney FRPS, part of the retrospective exhibition at Wingfield Barns Photo: Brian Beaney

Dawn at the Ferry by Brian Beaney FRPS, part of the retrospective exhibition at Wingfield Barns Photo: Brian Beaney

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East Anglian landscape photographer Brian Beaney has been offered a major retrospective by theRoyal Photographic Society. Arts editor Andrew Clarke went to meet him and was bowled over by the fact that the world is no longer as it seems

Red Boat by Brian Beaney FRPS, part of the retrospective exhibition at Wingfield Barns Photo: Brian BeaneyRed Boat by Brian Beaney FRPS, part of the retrospective exhibition at Wingfield Barns Photo: Brian Beaney

For Suffolk-based photographer Brian Beaney, there has always been a fine line between art and photography. Brian has never accepted the saying: “The camera never lies”, because, as he points out, there has been magic created in the dark room from the very earliest days of photography.

The dawn of digital photography and the advent of computer image manipulation software coincided with Brian’s retirement from the world of marketing and graphic design.

During the early 1960s he had been a keen landscape and social history photographer – one staged gang fight between a group of bikers even attracted the attention of the local police – “I was advised not to attempt anything like that again without informing them first”.

But, pressures of work and family life meant that photography took a back seat for many years until retirement gave him the opportunity not only to pick up a camera again but to embrace a new world which allowed you to manipulate the pictures you had taken.

Brian builds his images up in layers, adding and removing elements, changing the position of objects for compositional reasons, boosting light levels in some areas, enhancing shadows in others, boosting the size or prominence of rocks in one area while playing with a tangle of roots in another.

One image, seemingly taken in the blink of an eye, can take months of painstaking work at a computer before it is ready for printing and exhibition.

Refugees Welcome  by Brian Beaney FRPS, part of the retrospective exhibition at Wingfield Barns Photo: Brian BeaneyRefugees Welcome by Brian Beaney FRPS, part of the retrospective exhibition at Wingfield Barns Photo: Brian Beaney

Brian said: “The advent of digital imaging has allowed me to use my graphic and art skills to take my photography beyond the moment of capture. The images are digitally painted with light, mood and atmosphere that I hope will epitomize the peace and tranquillity of the scenes and landscapes. I try to bring back to my pictures some of the “buzz” I experienced when I took the shot. Sometimes the pleasure is just using the imagination.

“The process of creating a piece of photographic art from a photograph is exceedingly time consuming, every square centimetre has been enhanced in some way or retouched to blend into the conceptual image.”

Over the years more than 90% of his finished pictures have been accepted in national and international exhibitions, including The Royal Photographic Society’s International Exhibition and The London Salon of Photography.

Stoke Bridge 1961 by Brian Beaney FRPS, part of the retrospective exhibition at Wingfield Barns Photo: Brian BeaneyStoke Bridge 1961 by Brian Beaney FRPS, part of the retrospective exhibition at Wingfield Barns Photo: Brian Beaney

Now this coming week Brian is being honoured with a major retrospective of his work as part of the Royal Photographic Society’s annual regional show at Wingfield Barns on the Norfolk/Suffolk border.

The Brian Beaney Retrospective along with the RPS Regional and Nature Group exhibitions are on show at Wingfield Barns, Church Road, Wingfield, IP21 5RA from Saturday September 29 to Sunday October 7 from 11am to 4pm.

The galleries are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays and admission is free. Brian will be in attendance on Saturday and Sunday.

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