The Greek Photographic Society of Crete
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:
and their main page in english:
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?
Real photographs, created in camera, 100% organic,
no digital additives and shit
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."
Now THERE'S a stupid rule if I ever heard one!
Originally Posted by arigram
Do they even allow women photographers?
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!
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!!!!!
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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.
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.
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Where in Bulgaria are you?
Originally Posted by adonchev
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.
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.
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.