A FAMOUS author has inspired keen photographers.

An exhibition coming to Dorchester looks to writer John Fowles, best known for The French Lieutenant's Woman, which led to a film adaptation starring Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons.

Dorset Independent Photographers will be exhibiting There Is Only Light from August 20 to 27 at Gardens House in the Borough Gardens, Dorchester.

In styles ranging from landscape and documentary to abstract and wildlife, images by the photographers for their exhibition go to the heart of the former Lyme novelist’s assertions 'that nothing and nobody is what they seem' and 'there is only light'.

The show is sponsored by Fotospeed. Dorset Independent Photographers came into being as a result of an inspiring weekend workshop in Dorchester led by Fay Godwin, a seminal figure in 20th century British landscape photography.

Members, who are mostly based in west Dorset, have come and gone since that important weekend in 1988. But the group has been meeting regularly in each others’ homes to share work ever since, and two of the founder members - Tim Edwards and Ian Chapman - are still actively involved. The group has also exhibited widely in the region, including at the Town Mill, Lyme Regis earlier this year.

Photographic styles may have evolved since the 1980s, but Dorset Independent Photographers has remained a constant presence in the region’s visual arts scene. The secret of its staying power has been its informality, its members’ willingness to share work in progress and to exchange honest but constructive criticism.

The exhibition includes information about photographic processes, and individual members will be on hand every day.

Lisa Bukalders’ photography is driven by a lifelong passion for nature and wildlife. “For me it’s all about being there, being immersed in nature, and being able to capture more than just a likeness, but also mood, character and spirit,” she says. In this, the light plays a crucial role, sometimes by softening the shimmering edges of her dreamlike images, and at others by throwing her subjects into sharp relief for an all-too-brief moment.

Images of urban life by Paul Clarke - everyday scenes that many of us might take of granted - may seem a million miles from the wilds of Scotland. But the time of day at which he presses the shutter and the prevailing light conditions will have an equally powerful impact on the final print. “This is the visual language of photography and storytelling through light,” says Paul.

John Tilsley looks further north for his photographs - to the altogether chillier light of Iceland, Finland or the depths of a North Norfolk winter. Alongside his passion for landscape, he is continuing to record New Forest Pony sales as well as the work of heritage railway volunteers.

Chris Hilton considers himself something of a photographic magpie, collecting the shiny things that catch his eye. “it’s just about the way the light reacts with that splash of colour, the interesting shape or something darting into shot - but it’s always about the light.”

Malcolm Macnaughtan’s approach takes us back to the early days of the group, and to the roots of photography itself. His body of work entitled A Land of Mountains and Flood records on large format monochrome film the effects of rapidly changing light on the landscape of the Western Highlands. The culmination of this work is the fine print made using traditional darkroom printing techniques - the embodiment of the use of light in its purest sense.

Summing up the group’s enthusiasm for this year’s Fowles-inspired exhibition theme, Tim Edwards advises: “Just be open to what light can offer.” Speaking about his abstract images, he explains: “My emotional response to the type of light on a particular day can have a profound effect on the final image. Ranging from dark and brooding to airy and joyous, colourful or monochromatic.”

*There Is Only Light, Dorset Independent Photographers, Gardens House, Borough Gardens, Dorchester, August 20 to August 27. Open daily from 10am to 5pm, with free admission. For more information email dunderave@hotmail.co.uk