Ursula Prucha – a tribute

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a11_Ursula - self portrait - set BPC 12.8.10

Self Portrait – Ursula Prucha

I joined the Blackwood Photographic club in 2007 and at that time the photographers vying for top spot each week were Gary Secombe, Roger Lancaster, David Douglas Martin and Ursula Prucha.  It saddened me to hear last week that Ursula had passed away after battling with poor health for the last few years.

Now I have gone back through the archives and selected some of my favourite images that Ursula has produced. (see below)  I was always struck by her intuitive knack to capture a strong and compelling subject.  She had a tendency to create closely cropped and central compositions with gorgeous saturated colour and compelling textures. After a few weeks of competition I felt that I had to go up and compliment on her images.  Ursula was never a person of many words.  She thanked me for the compliment but didn’t give away any further insights into her techniques.

As time passed I recognized that in fact Ursula worked closely with her husband Theo who did a lot of the post processing.  They worked as a team.  The combined effort  was at times compelling.  I was often catching myself envious of what they managed to pull out at competition.

I will finish with one of Ursula’s signature images.  When Theo told me that she was going down hill, he would suggest some new images for her to put into competition.  “No” she would say, and would select out her old favourites, even though they had been seen so many times that people were growing tired of them.  Regardless she still looked on them fondly.  This last image makes me smile.  It was taken a long time before I joined the club in a still life workshop.  It is called Contemporary Illusion and consists of a brass flugelhorn, a mask and some sheet music entitled Angelus by Gabriel Morel.  It is cropped to a square frame.

A10_Ursula_Contemporary Illusion_set-1

James Allan

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