Making a 'Digital Splash'! / by Andrew Wilson

Welcome to Digital Splash!...was the greeting I got on arriving at the Exhibition Centre in Liverpool. Digital Splash, a photography event organised by Wilkinson Cameras, took place two weeks ago on the 15th and 16th of October. Previously it was held in Preston, but as the event had grown over the past few years a larger venue was needed.

Having visited The Photography Show both this year and last I was excited to have a similar type of event like this so close to home! Read on to find out about my experience of Digital Splash.

Day 1 - Saturday

I was joined on this weekend by my mum who has wanted to improve her photography skills for a while now. I decided that for the first day we would have a wander around the event, checking out the various displays and equipment on show before our photowalk with Matt Hart.

Aside from displays from the main camera manufacturers there was a range of equipment and accessories such as bags, straps, tripods and printers on show.

Visitors trying out some of Nikon's cameras and lenses.

The Digital Splash Awards finalists gallery. Wilkinson Cameras have a monthly competition throughout the year, the winners from each are displayed here for a chance of winning the final prize.

My mum browsing the deals.

Visitors relaxing in the 'Chill Zone'.


The camera throne. Various people like guest speakers and vendors were interviewed here on camera.


Photowalk with Matt Hart


Matt Hart opposite the Echo Arena.


At the event several industry professionals such as Matt Hart, Angela Nicholson and Steve Gosling gave photowalk tours. 

I chose to give Matt's walk a go as I fancied trying out a Fuji camera and learning about Matt's approach to street photography. Matt is a street and event photographer, an ambassador for Fuji and the creator of the Fujholics social media group. During the course of the walk he talked to us about his mentality towards street photography and taught us a few tips to help capture photos of people without catching their attention.

The walk took us from the Exhibition Centre, through the Albert Dock to the Liverpool Museum and then back to the start along the riverside.


Stopping for a moment with Matt and the rest of the group.

As the walk drew to a close and less people were about I took a few photos of a few environmental details.


Day  2 - Sunday

Alongside the showcase of equipment and accessories at Digital Splash, talks were given by professional photographers. Jonathon Chritchley and Steve Bloom (the two photographers that interested me most) had their talks on Sunday.

From attending The Photography Show I found listening to photographers who have achieved a certain level of success to be inspiring, so I was keen to do the same at Digital Splash. For me, this is one of the main reasons to attend this type of event.

Jonathon Critchley

The first and last talks we attended were given by fine-art photographer Jonathon Critchley. Jonathon's work has a minimalist style and is (mostly) presented as black & white in a square format. Water is present in one way or another in most of his work, whether the subject is a landscape, boat or horse.

Both of his talks opened with the video above (cue epic music!), which he amusingly said he felt awkward following. He talked to us about his journey that led him to where he is now, and also gave us insight into his photography. Watch the video below (11 mins) to hear him discussing three different photos.

Jonathon also spoke to us about his book SILVER, but felt uncomfortable with the idea of selling them to us. Instead, he asked that if we picked up one his books he would like us to donate £30 to any cancer charity, which I thought was a really nice touch. I ended up donating to Children with Cancer UK. The quality of his photos and the book is impressive; I will treasure it.

Sleeve cover of SILVER (the text SILVER is foiled).

Jonathon was more than happy to sign copies.

Horses in Camargue, France.

Ship sails in the Cote d'Azur, France.

Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom gave our second talk of the day. Born in South Africa, but exiled during the 70's for his photos depicting apertheid life, he returned to Africa in the early 90's and began photographing wildlife. 

'Lions at dawn' - Masai Mara, Kenya. Steve gave away postcards of this photo of a pack of lions. He said it has been used all around the world and is one his most successful photos. 

It was eye-opening to see the variety of photos he has captured from Africa, not just of wildlife but also human elements, like tribes and towns. Check out the video below (3 mins) to see Steve in action capturing photos in Africa (note: for those who are squeamish there a few seconds of blood shown):

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To round out the weekend I got a few photos printed over at Canon's printing station. Vouchers were given out after our photowalk from day one, which I thought was a good take-away memento. However, I decided to come back on day two with some photos I wanted to give as gifts to Wilkinson Cameras staff who had helped me out during my own exhibition.

It had been a long time since I had seen a photographic print from a jet-printer so I was unsure how they would turn out. Needless to say I was very impressed, and would be happy to exhibit or sell prints of this quality.

The Canon Printer Pixma Pro 10S.

It's a joy to see a photo being printed.

Vivid colours and crisp details from this Canon print. I was impressed!

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So that was my enjoyable experience of Digital Splash 2016 - I'm already looking forward to next year's event! I hope this blog has given you an idea of what it was like - if it encourages you to go next year I hope you enjoy it too.

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