Club photography

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by dustym, Jan 21, 2006.

  1. dustym

    dustym Member

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    I have been with my club six months now a very well established and well thought of and very well attended club.
    During the year we have monochrome print competitions and colour print ,slide and digital annual competition and so on.
    I really enjoy landscape ,urban as well as out of town and I cant help but think when Im framing my scene and about to release the shutter is this going to get me place in my group is this a winner. Am I right in thinking this. Is this a positive attitude in striving for the best result or is is simply the mindset of being a club photographer, Im aslo a little put out when other photographers place in the monochrome competition converted colour digital
    prints to monochrome saying the skill is in the channel mixer and choosing the the right printer paper, or is it me being a little self obsessed in the thought if you shoot monochrome do it on film and not a microchip print it in a wet room and go to the trouble I did to achieve the end result, because I cant help being left with the feeling its a bit of a cheat, sorry if it seems a bit of a rant needed to get it off my chest, does anybody feel the same, or Im just being a bit anal.
     
  2. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    I do not belong to a club. I think photographing with a 'competitive' mindset could interfere with what I actually like doing.
     
  3. dustym

    dustym Member

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    I totally agree with what you say and Im out most weekends doing what I enjoy but the other face of club photography is the judges critiques on your work and others that you recieve of which I find very informative, the other aspect is inspiration something you may have not thought about capturing until you saw it on the light wall.
    Possibly this is why not all the forum members post a lot of their work on the forum in fear that it may affect thier reasons for taking a picture in the first place it could become to obsessive the competatve aspect.
     
  4. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    I've been a member of a club for nearly 30 years, and I believe that it has made a positive contribution to my photography. Yes, there is a tendency to get caught up in the feeding frenzy of competitions, and striving to please a juror rather than one's own vision, and these can result in one's work falling into a formulaic approach designed to satisfy the expectation of the club. But at the same time clubs provide a constant motivation to produce new work, and they provide a known and predictable venue for showing that work. So in the short term, the challenge with clubs is that of maintaining individualism in the face of so much peer pressure to conform to the group's concept of what photographs should look like.

    The other very important consideration is that clubs provide a social outlet centered around photography. Face it - photography is rather solitary activity, and photographers tend to not be the kind of folks you would normally invite to a cocktail party - ordinary people don't get excited about discussing bokeh over a glass of merlot. Clubs provide an atmosphere of equally wierd people, and we all need social interaction.

    But the problem with clubs is a bit more involved than the issue of balancing individual vision against the group-think-expectation of the club. One can have a different view and still have a place in a club over the short term, but as one's vision matures and grows, the deviation between the individual and the group will become greater. Eventually, something has to give. My feeling is that the healthy way to deal with this phenomenon is to have several group outlets - continue to be a member of "the club", and rely on it for socialization and to see what others are doing, but at the same time find other outlets for showing and discussing work that allow you to move away from the club mold.

    The other concern, at least for me, is that my vision and interests remain focused on traditional processes (which is why I'm in APUG), but the club that I'm in has moved almost totally to the darkside. At this point, I'm probably the only person who regularly shows traditional silver prints made from large format negatives. I rather enjoy being the odd man in the crowd, but there are times when I do feel isolated.
     
  5. smileyguy

    smileyguy Member

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    I just joined a local club a couple of weeks ago. I am quite looking forward to the regular interaction of members, the information and the meetings but most of all the feedback that comes from other members about my photography. I have been a hobby photographer for a couple of years now and really feel like I am working in a vacuum. I absolutely love photography and really strive to take good pictures. I read, I look at photography books in the library, bookstores, online galleries, local art gallery, always trying to see what people are photographing and calling "art". For me the club competitions allow me to focus my shooting and give me something to look for, not there is any shortage of that but it does allow my brain to work in a different way.

    As far as my thought when I actually press the button? I don't know yet. I only entered my first competition last week and haven't had any feedback yet so perhaps I haven't had my first "high" yet. I will let you know how it goes after Monday night's meeting. :wink:
     
  6. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    The club that I participate in is not one which is even concerned about judging or competitions; we don't have any officers. It's an informal atmosphere where people who like to do photography get together once a month to show their pictures based on a theme which is chosen the month before. If you don't have any pictures, you can show up anyway and get out of the house for the evening.

    Monophoto, I am in the same boat as you. The others in the club shoot practically all digital and I shoot LF b/w, some LF IR and sometimes LF color. I kind of enjoy being the odd person in the crowd, but I have also felt isolated.
     
  7. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    This is a well oiled thread, and as I’ve said on other occasions, if you feel that you are gaining from the competitive club atmosphere, then keep breathing there. Maybe a time will come when you find the judging less than exciting, but until then get involved, enjoy the experience, and learn whatever you can. Don’t worry about the digi-crowd, they are an irrelevance to where you want to go, just enjoy their daubings, and the mental gymnastics that some of the judges will go through when trying to explain the photoshop filters that you did; or should have used to improve your print. As Diane and others will tell you, there are non-competitive groups around that you may like to get involved with, just as there are some dedicated to monochrome, or non-digital work.
     
  8. dustym

    dustym Member

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    I it would be wonderful if we had the equivalent of your club in the South East I would definatley Join
     
  9. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    Which club are you in Dusty? There's a club near me, but from what I can gather it is invitation only. Not sure I'd want to join something that exclusive!

    But then I'm not sure I'd join a club that would have me as a member! (I'm paraphrasing someone, can't remember who!)
     
  10. seadrive

    seadrive Member

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    Methinks that would be Groucho, yes? :smile:
     
  11. dustym

    dustym Member

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    Im in the Upminster camera club in Hornchurch ( yes I know why is it the Upminster Camera club then) Great place no cliques very unstuffy and great guest speakers some real class acts.

    Heres the link http://www.upminstercameraclub.org.uk/
    some members do travel quite a distance to attend.

    Be nice to see you there Andy
     
  12. Jon Butler

    Jon Butler Subscriber

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    I like that Andy, well said.

    JON The Silver Print Circle (Invitation only)
     
  13. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    ALL clubs were started by someone that felt the need for something different. The East Midlands Monochrome Group came into being because someone put a notice in the A.P. magazine which asked if anyone else was interested. They were. It's that simple.
     
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  15. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    My sense is that the formal club scene in the UK is healthier than here in the colonies.

    There were five or more clubs in this area 20 years ago - today there is only one. Admittedly, the club that survived and thrived was the club that was always the strongest and the most willing to venture out into new areas. It also happens to be close to the geographic center of the population.

    In some areas in the US there are informal groups that provide the inspiration, challenge, and socialization of clubs without the pressures of formal competition. Some simply meet on an irregular basis to share work. I suspect these tend to be more successful in areas of higher population density and/or higher concentrations of interest in photography. We tried to get something like that started in this area, but too many of the participants had jobs that required significant travel, so it didn't last very long.
     
  16. roteague

    roteague Member

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    There is some really good advice here. You just need to come to terms with what you want.
     
  17. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Andy, have you given any thought to joining the Digital Darkroom Club?

    Could be interesting.



    Michael
     
  18. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    Very droll :D
     
  19. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    Michael... I'd rather squat on a chainsaw.
     
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  20. Buster6X6

    Buster6X6 Member

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    I joined a club 6 years ago. We have 120 members, meet every Thursday- September to June. Great invited speakers ,great imaging from members. Field trips every month also meet every Wednesday to go shoot in the London area.
    Well I am still there even 85% is digital but field trips and guest speakers are worth the fee. I also belive being with same minded people is inspiration for my progress forward on my quest to become a better photographer. You can keep your individualism and learn at the same time.
    I think you made good choice.

    Greg
     
  21. smudwhisk

    smudwhisk Member

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    If only the club wasn't so far to the east .... OK, in the middle. I came across EMM some time ago but living the west side of Birmingham, it's just too far for me to travel too!
     
  22. Mike Kennedy

    Mike Kennedy Member

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    The club scene is not my cup of tea. I found that I developed a "Herd Mentality" when composing my shots.
    There are 2 groups locally. Both digitally driven. Can you imagine actually calling one session "The Digital Darkroom"? When I showed up for a meet & greet with my Nikon FE2 and monster hunk of Kiron glass one of the members had the audacity to say that it was too bad that I couldn,t afford a "REAL" camera, ie Nikon D70. Stone the bloody crows!
    I attend workshops. The annual pinhole day event is a great way to clean the senses. Currently saving my pennies in the hope (faint) of signing up for one of Freeman Patterson,s weekend workshops.
    But, if it makes you feel better as a photographer than go for it. As my grandmother used to say "To each his own. Said the old lady as she kissed the cow."

    Good Shooting All,
    Mike
     
  23. Early Riser

    Early Riser Subscriber

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    I think if you are choosing what and how to shoot based on how well some judges at a camera club are going to score your work, you are doing yourself a real disservice. Because if that's the case you're not shooting your own work, you're shooting their work. While it's possible that those judges have real experience and insight into what good work is, they could just as easily have no clue. In either case you are not expressing yourself but expressing what you think others appreciate.

    Simple solution is to shoot what you love to shoot, maybe it'll score well, maybe it won't, but at least you're being true to yourself, and most likely it'll also be your best work.
     
  24. doughowk

    doughowk Subscriber

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    We have at least three clubs in the area. In the largest one, dominated by digital, it was announced that competitions would strictly adhere to PSA rules & use only PSA judges. To me, that means enforced mediocrity since those judges gain their status thru an insular culture of what is good. The other two clubs, LF & art/alt photography, are providing a worthwhile stimulus.
     
  25. Mark Sawyer

    Mark Sawyer Member

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    Hmm. I wonder if Ansel and Edward won any competitions in their old f/64 club...
     
  26. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    "I would never join a club that would have someone like me for a member"

    Woody Allen, American