The Greek Photographic Society of Crete

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by arigram, Mar 28, 2007.

  1. arigram

    arigram Member

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    The Greek Photographic Society of Greece is an organisation throughout the country with many local clubs. They cater mostly to amateur but even professionals join them. They are like every photo club in the world.
    After a couple visits to their meetings, to their exhibitions but also taking part myself in one, I have decided they are not for me really.
    My objections come mostly from their philosophy which seems to be Taliban-like: strict by the book following of the "Rules" (do not tilt the horizon, observe the 2/3rds, not more than one woman in the frame,etc) and a very restrictive certain aesthetic and subject matter choice.
    Their leaders seem to have coined the term "The Cretan Movement" to picking out sterile photographs that represent Crete: the old man, the old woman, the cute child, the old village, etc. The rare photographs that are exempt are usually of over-dramatic, cheesy character, either because of the lighting, the staging or the subject matter. Most often, the winners in their contests have to fit those very particular styles, as if they are really aggresively pushing this Movement idea to establish themselves.

    The problem is that they "rule" the local photographic world. Even the local public exhibitions and contests are judged and organised by them. Which of course means that the local photographers have to bend over to their ideals or their social manners to be part of the photographic scene. I've even heard the rumor, that the parent organisation decides each year the winners of the national contests before hand, before having even seen the photographs ("let's give it to Crete this year").

    Here's their latest contest:
    http://www.efecrete.gr/Contest06.htm
    and their main page in english:
    http://www.efecrete.gr/Enindexnew.htm

    What do you think?
    Am I overexagerating and being a snotty bastard?
    How do I deal with it? Should I chill out and go with the flow?
    Try to be accepted and learn to be cool?
    I am at the beginning of my photographic life, don't I need the social networking?
     
  2. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear Aristotelis,

    Exaggerating? You? Well, all Cretans are liars...

    Seriously, this sounds like ALL the photo clubs in the UK of 30 years ago and a good percentage -- maybe half -- now.

    For the networking: there are always a few people in any club who are Young Turks (well, perhaps not in Greece, but you know what I mean). Ignore the Crusty Old Members (not an attractive image) and talk with the ones who think like you. Of course if you're the only one, that's a real bugger.

    Our last local photo club in the UK (Thanet) was pretty much as you describe but maybe 10 per cent thought differently and another 30+ per cent could be swayed by the beliefs of the 10 per cent. It doesn't take long for that to create a paradigm shift. Also, one photographer -- Marie Muscat-King -- moved from ill-informed amateur (few people gave her any real help) to professional, with encouragement from the Young Turks (and Old Anarchists such as ourselves). See http:\\www.secret-studio.com. Click on the little logo thing on the film page to get in.

    Frances cheated. She entered four pictures in one competition, shamelessly pressing the right buttons, and came first, second, fourth and sixth. Having demonstrated that she COULD play by their rules, she never tried again; and the rules changed slightly.

    So yes, it's just about worth it. Remember that lovely cartoon by the late Willie Rushton: an air hostess with the caption, "Do not be deceived by my loveliness, traveller: secretly I despise you."

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  3. eddym

    eddym Member

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    Now THERE'S a stupid rule if I ever heard one!
    Do they even allow women photographers?
     
  4. Andrey Donchev

    Andrey Donchev Member

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    Don't worry too much! Same sh*t here in Bulgaria, but in other way. All the photography must be digital. I'm ignoring them! My life is my life and I can do with it whatever I want. I buy photo-materials from other parts of Europe and show may photos only to my friends!
    Just be yourself!
    Who knows, someday, maybe, we can make an SE European Photographic society! We all live already in the global village anyway!
     
  5. Tony Egan

    Tony Egan Subscriber

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    Ari,
    The "problem" I see is obsession with competitions, points, honours and the Trophy Shot mentality it promotes. Also, very few members seem to get out and look at exhibitions or involve themselves in anything other then the club. It becomes a self-perpetuating culture. Like Frances I have "played the game" and won prizes and trophies and awards but really it's just too easy and ultimately unsatisfying. I find few opportunities to have a deep, meaningful discussion about a photograph or photography. I'd rather see the members show a few photos and talk about their thoughts, feelings and motivations than listen to a visiting judge ploughing through a perfunctory, cliched evaluation of 150 images in 2 hours. Even when I'm doing it I get sick of myself and want to leave the room!

    I have been president of a club in Sydney and do the rounds as a judge trying to gently change the paradigms with little success. I usually connect with a few people who know there must be more to photography than what they experience in a club. Often the best advice for the more talented and ambitious is to leave the club scene altogether.

    Why do I still turn up? Well I also see it as a community-building activity and an opportunity to teach which I enjoy. We help members who are sick or down on their luck, get involved with the community etc. There has been a significant decline in membership of community groups like Rotary, Lions etc. in the last 30 years with changes in lifestyles, working hours, and communications technology which makes the practice of meeting in person in a clubhouse seem somehow a bit old-fashioned. Also, as the resident B&W analog bigot, as everyone rushes to digital all the old darkroom gear ends up in the back of my car!

    Here's an idea. Keep going. Be very enthusiastic and involved. Volunteer to be on the committee. In two years you will be president. Try to change from within. GOOD LUCK!!!!!

    Cheers Tony
     
  6. lesd

    lesd Member

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    Tony,

    What you said is absolutely how I feel about my club. I was asked last night if I was entering the monochrome print competition. 'No' was my answer 'I am not in the mood for competitions right now'. This really seemed to puzzle the competition secretary who equated lack of interest in competitions with lack of interest in photography. I still go along because I like to see people face to face even if they do not share my approach.

    Les
     
  7. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    I experienced about the same here in DK. Though I had a good time in the photoclub I joinedback in 2001 it quickly became a question of producing pics for the competitions. Then the danish photosociety started interfeering with the rules of every single competition no matter if it was local, national or international. No it was more about administration than the joy of photographing, more about rules than expression your visions and more about D vs A than what do I like to do or learn.
    When the judges of the competitions and a great deal of the members started bashing, taunt and scoff slides as a rule I quit. When I was there I experienced the greasepaper era, the round tower era and some more eras of that kind. one photographer succeed with greasepaper and soon all pics entered are done that way.
    Photoclubs can be great places but they can also be a pain ita.
    Cheers
    Søren
     
  8. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Where in Bulgaria are you?

    We're hoping to get there in May/June. Is that the best time? (looks like it from our weather books). We like photographing old cities, villages, sidewalk cafés -- any suggestions? You'll see the kind of stuff we shoot at www.rogerandfrances.com.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  9. laverdure

    laverdure Member

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    Where I'm from, it seems, if you don't like what the galleries are doing, you just open your own...

    But seriously, borrowing a space and holding a show needn't be too hard, could be kinda fun. A few months ago I saw a show held in an alley. Guy just showed up, taped his pictures to a wall, set up a few floods, no problem. No one seemed to mind.

    Kind of inspiring, really.
     
  10. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    Monet, Renoir, Degas, Cezanne; sound familiar? All had a little trouble getting their work accepted by the establishment. Do you feel comfortable in their company, if so worry not, and continue along your chosen path?
    Rejection is the rule, acceptance the exception.

    For myself I do participate in camera club life, as well as groups such as this, both because I enjoy the company of like minded individuals, and because I feel that I should put a little back into the pastime that I enjoy. As for my pictures, following advice from a sage whose work I much admire, I try to produce pictures that please me, rather than others; be they judges or not. Occasionally that which I produce finds wider acceptance, which is nice, but by no means essential to the enjoyment I derived from producing it.
     
  11. Denis P.

    Denis P. Member

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    I think Tony hit the nail on the head.
    I participate in the local "club", which actually started as a local gathering of snapshooters (total digi-amateurs) who came together via Internet newsgroup. We did not join any other local photo clubs (there are two), which are rather "stale" and rigid for our mentality.
    However, in the past two years we started having exhibitions, and I notice more and more this "winner" mentality.
    We just put up a "pure film-based" show two days ago, and when selecting photos for the show, I was rather surprised by comment from one member, who said that one of my shots does not belong to the show, since it's "third-rate"... :sad:
    When I asked for explanation, he said that the photo is "uninteresting" and "unimportant" (it was a 5x7 contact copy of my kids in the back yard, done in the"Sally Mann style" - i.e. lens that doesn't fully cover the format, a bit fuzzy around the edges, etc.). He further explained that the photo exhibition is "like writing a novel" - i.e. that you write it for the others. To which I replied that I 'm writing a diary - for myself only, and don't actually care much what anyone else says.
    I provided my prints for the show just to show some diversity (of formats, techniques, etc.), since all the other prints were done from 35mm negatives.

    It's a clash of mentality - they are struggling for recognition and approval, and will never produce anything significant, since they are always following trends and copying others.

    Me, I'm actually making photos which please me and satisfy me - general audience is almost never in my mind. Only when I look at the final prints I somethimes think I might show them to others.

    However, I like to meet in person, and since I'm the only one who knows something about film photography, I gladly give advice and help others whom I managed to get interested in film photography. We even have our own darkroom. So, through educating "digital snapshooters", I help when I can, and it has already paid back, since film and paper consumption has risen significantly in these parts... :wink:
    So, all in all, it's been rewarding for me, since I actually started a kind of "film photography rennaissance"...

    I try guiding the younger (or less experienced) members in finding their own "style" and expression. It's sometimes difficult, since all of them (being amateurs) usually strive for approval and recognition. Unfortunately, they usually think the best (and quickest) way to achieve it is through clever use of various Photoshop filters :smile:

    Denis
     
  12. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    That sums it up for me too.


    Ari, continue doing what pleases you.
     
  13. epatsellis

    epatsellis Member

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    Ari,
    don't feel bad, it's not just there,I've been looking at two (somewhat) local camera clubs, both seem to fit into the rich digisnapper category.

    I actually went to one meeting, and after the usual niceties, when it came down to the true meat of the matter, it was pretty much a pissing contest over how much you could get away with spending on your hobby without your wife killing you.

    The fact that I used film, much less an RB67 and LF pretty much turned me from "you've got to see this guys work" ( I always have a small portfolio with me) to being treated as sort of an ecletic pariah, spoken to, politely enough, but that's about it.

    For the time being, I have a few LF friends within a 3 hour drive that I'd much prefer to go out shooting with, and at least be able to have an intellegent conversation with them. (Even if their fingernails have developer stains...)


    erie