View Full Version : Photo Group Meeting Concept

11-11-2005, 08:41 AM
As a result of discussions in a recent thread this topic has generated some interest. The concept is that of a Photo Group Meeting where photographers get together periodically to share work and do critiques.

I recently started such a group and would like to share my experiences and hear what others have to say.

The discussions are about the images and what they are about and have to say. The primary discussions revolve around the feelings, emotions, lighting, composition, etc generated by the images. Very little technical discussions occur. A typical meeting goes like this:

- Everyone shows up and hangs their work on the walls.
- We go around the room and each photographer says a few words about their work. I believe that it is important to speak about your own work.
- One person will select an image and offer their comments/critique with the group joining in.
- The person who’s image is selected then selects one and does the same thing.
- This continues until everyone has had an opportunity to become involved.

Our group is currently extremely informal meeting once a month and is growing in numbers. We have no mission statement or anything like that. We are purposely avoiding the typical camera club structure. While we have nothing against camera clubs we have simply chosen a different path. Anything that generates interest in photography is good thing in my estimation. We are about making and sharing expressive strong images not competitions and gadget discussions with the goal of learning and improving on our work. It also serves as a motivator to get out and shoot knowing that you want to have some work to share at the next meeting.

We are planning a print exchange and do occasionally go out shooting as a group. The group is young and evolving but the interest is strong. We are fortunate to have two photography teachers involved. So much knowledge, experience and ideas are exchanged it is truly a wonderful learning experience and social event. We are planning wine and cheese for our December meeting.

Robert Hall
11-11-2005, 09:10 AM
Thanks for sharing that information. My wife and I are thinking of doing the same thing when our house is completed in Lehi, Utah.

We thaught about having hors d'oeuvres or soup with the meeting now that the cooler months are coming.

Where do you meet?

11-11-2005, 09:21 AM
Sounds like a very good idea. I'm a member of two different informal groups - a large format group that gets together once a month to go shooting - and an alternative process group that gets together once a month and one of the group members demonstrates how to do an unusual process. Neither group has a mission statement, nor officers, nor dues.

I've gotten more from these two informal groups than I have from the traditional camera club to which I belong.

11-11-2005, 09:32 AM
We are currently meeting at the local Art Association where some of us take photo classes and show work. There is also a local Township facility that is good about lending space.

It is best to have a place where you can hang photos on the walls which is why our Art Association is very good. http://www.chescoart.org

11-11-2005, 10:08 AM
A small group of us from the Schenectady Photographic Society tried to start something like that a few years ago. The motivation was that the main focus of the club was drifting in the direction of digital gadgetry and away from images. We met a couple of times - but found that conflicting personal schedules got in the way of it becoming a regular thing.

I meet once a week for coffee with a group of five guys I used to work with before we all retired. Obviously, we all have periodic conflicting activities, and there are a couple of guys (wimps!) who run off to Florida for the winter, but I think there has only been one week over the course of the past year when we haven't had at least two guys there.

Based on these observations, I suspect that to keep these sessions fairly regular, the participants either have to be semi-retired (to have the ability to follow a regular schedule), or else there have to be enough participants allow for periodic schedule conflicts.

11-11-2005, 04:37 PM
Wfe, Bill, Thanks for starting this thread.

My wife and I were thinking of starting a group like this in the Akron-Cleveland, Ohio area. If you the reader are local and interested in this please PM me contact information. We had thought to try it at home, but I am not sure there is the space to hang that many pictures. I think we will look for a meeting place that will allow us as a group to hang our work.

How to find people? We thought we would start by inviting everyone we know who is “serious” about photography and ask them to bring a similarly inclined friend not on our list. Potentially this could multiply quickly. One I thought to invite has given several platinum workshops locally. If he likes the idea he might be willing to give his list.

I took a Maine Photo Workshop last summer. We were told that they encourage this as on going education. They will provide contact information of former attendees in your area. They mentioned several areas that have monthly meeting programs in operation. Possibly this activity is already working here and we just have to find out about it.

I went shooting today with another 8x10 buddy and approached the idea. He said it was just what he was looking for, but being new to the area, I was the only other photographer he knew. We met at the platinum workshop.

Lets keep the ideas rolling. Most of the local clubs are into digital competitions which is great for them, but not what I am seeking.

John Powers

Troy Hamon
11-11-2005, 06:09 PM
wfe, I very much like the meeting you've described here. I'm not sure it would be feasible to do more than occasionally due to the simultaneous commitment from multiple artists, but it would be very instructive and a great opportunity to see many kinds of work from different perspectives. I'll be interested to see whether we might schedule such an event in my neck of the tundra and see how it goes. But there are few photographers here, so we tend to be part of the larger arts community and would have to mix and mingle with painters to make it happen. Which might be even more interesting.

11-12-2005, 07:12 AM
As far as gathering photographers and generating interest I would suggest local Art Centers and community colleges that offer photography classes.

11-12-2005, 07:43 AM
I used to be involved in a couple "workshop" groups that ran a similar way. More formal as you actually paid the person in charge. They supplied the space and coffee. But the big thing they did was keep things going. A leader helps keep arguments down. You need to be able to take and give negative critiques. Not easy in an informal group. The last group used a method of a person putting up several prints. That person then couldn't talk while the others comment on the work. They then gave their comments at the end. Worked pretty good. I sure learned a lot from these meetings. And it did force you to come up with new stuff each time it was your turn. It ran monthly and with about 10 people you had to bring new images about every other month. I've also been and I'm involved in a few similar informal groups. They work OK but much harder to keep things going. We really should have some local APUG groups doing this kind of thing.

11-12-2005, 07:47 AM
The camera club that I go to each month is similar to this. We don't have officers, dues or competitions. There is another club which does that and I went to it once. I won't return. Our club is going to be having a show at a local cafe early next year.

We meet on the second Tuesday of the month at the local Borders and sit in the cafe. We've been able to keep people coming because the meeting is always the same night and time.