Phoenix Group


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The Phoenix Group provides an informal forum for constructive criticism and analysis of members’ work through mutual discussion.
It is open to all members of the Society who wish to take their photography to a higher level.
Group Secretary Neil Scott FRPS EFIAP/s



The Phoenix Group is an informal discussion group – no subscription, no committee – and its raison d’être is to act as a forum for people to talk about their photography in a relaxed atmosphere.  The general idea is to bring along a few images (prints and/or PDIs, and maybe up to a dozen) and put them up for discussion.  These may be images from a personal project that you are undertaking, from an idea that you are pursuing; they may be the germ of an idea for aiming for a distinction. You may be thinking of entering exhibitions or salons.  You might just want to get an opinion of some of your favourite photographs!  However we are no longer able to discuss or comment on images that are in the final – panel – stage for RPS distinctions.  You must attend one of the RPS Advisory Days or forums to get advice from appointed RPS advisors and adjudicators.

You will get honest opinions at the Phoenix Group, and everyone can join in our discussions.  We welcome members of all abilities from beginners to experienced – we are more interested in content than cameras, photos rather than Photoshop.

So if you think you can benefit from our approach, please come along and join us.


 Meeting 31 October 2019

The first meeting of the group attracted a mere eight members, only two of whom were new visitors.

Nonetheless we had an interesting evening with a variety of topics.  Muriel Binnie opened for us with a strong set of black and white images of the shopping mall in Grangemouth which has become run down, in spite of the huge petrochemical plant there.  Many of her photographs showed “For Sale” notices on commercial buildings.  While the subject matter was depressing, her images were powerful.

Brian Flemming then took us through his “summer holiday snaps” which were dominated by his visit to Chernobyl.  His images were stark and showed the state of the town and the exclusion zone.  There were images of feral dogs, of derelict buildings, most of them in a state of advanced decay, and bizarrely, dozens of wrecked pianos.  It must have been an awe-inspiring experience and we hope that Brian will come back with more of his images.

Eamonn Cullen then asked for advice about his prints.  Apparently while his PDIs do reasonably well in EPS competitions, his prints don’t.  We had a good look at his half-dozen prints and a lively discussion ensued with abundant advice as to what he can do to improve things.  We hope the advice is successful!

New member Chris Norman then showed us some superb photo-books of images from the north of Scotland.  The presentation was excellent and he was interested to know if it would be feasible to publish them.  The main problem seemed to be that in spite of the really excellent images, the cost of production would require the selling price to be well in excess of the “impulse-buy” public.  Not only that but there is a huge range of such books already on the market.

Finally Neil Scott should some of his current obsession with surrealism.  He showed a set of very minimalistic images, on a surreal theme – the unexpected juxtaposition of objects in an irrational way.  While a definition of surrealism is “As beautiful as the chance meeting, on a dissecting table, of a sewing machine and an umbrella'”, Neil’s images were much simpler and more mundane – involving small pebbles, empty snail shells and sad irons, for example.

Unfortunately time ran out before Chris Osborne could show us his latest creations, but he has been booked to lead off the next meeting of the group on November 28.  We look forward to that.

Neil Scott
Phoenix Group Co-ordinator