Having never taken the plunge.. I found myself lately considering joining my local camera club.
After reading yesterdays thread "Interesting-off-hand-comment" regarding the lack of community around photographers since the decline in the usage of film.. I have been led to ponder the idea once more..
But is a camera club the answer? Or have they too been taken over by predominately d*g*t*l users?
Or am I simply looking for an answer in all the wrong places?
It depends on the people in the group. In my experience there is a *great* deal of variance in the quality of groups from one to the other. Spend the time needed to find the right group for you. Be prepared to find a lot of competitive focus, strong egos, good-ol'-boys, and other non-sense, but if you look around you may find a group that is worthwhile for you. Also, don't let a small group of members set the tone for the entire group. I found that if you talk to many people you may find that there is a sub-set of the larger group that suits your interests even if the main group does not.
I agree with everyting Randy said, and would add that you are more likely to find like-minded people by taking a photo/darkroom course at a local community college or art gallery. Good Luck, and have fun!
In my experience only digital users are catered for nowadays, lucky to find two or three members that use film.
Originally Posted by Síle
I have been a member of two clubs over the past few years and have given both up due to complete lack of interest in film.
The only benefit is that you may get an opportunity to have your work considered for one of the federation shows, if you can handle all the digital flack and smile politely when the looks of amazement arise when you present your b/w hand printed images from film.
In answer to part of your query, I am not a member of a camera club - but I did get to see one in action last year while shooting some pics with my F3 in downtown Tucson.
Two vans pulled up and out popped a dozen or so "seniors" (all men) who proceeded to snap away madly with their top-of-the-line digi SLRs all the while bragging that "mine's better 'n yours"....
After 10 minutes they rushed back into their vans and drove off - probably headed for the "early bird special" at a local chain restaurant.
The scene kind of put me off the idea of "camera clubs".
On course this was in Tucson, AZ and YMMV in Ireland.
I've seen some of what John and George mentioned myself. One of the clubs that I looked into was making the transition to all-digital and everything that was shown had to be digitized - no prints at all. Another, much larger group like to do the invasion/blaze/bolt routine that George mentioned, so it's not isolated to Arizona.
I participate in a group that is based two and half hours from where I live because they are the only ones that had anything to offer me. I have no interest in competitions (almost all clubs are competition based), have no interest in working in crowds of people making time lapse movies (holding down the shutter for minutes on end), and I have no interest in d*g*t*l cameras. I had to search for years to find the small group that I shoot with (no more than 5 or 6 on any given trip) who were not interested in these things.
Don't give up off hand though. I didn't think that I would like participating in a group, but once I found the right bunch of people I found that I really enjoyed it. Try asking around your regional group here on APUG to see if there are any people in your area that may have some experience with local clubs or who might be interested in starting a group with similar interests.
The club in Ryde on the Isle of Wight has two members who use film (one is me, obviously).
Although the club is mainly competition based, which is not of much interest to me, they do have interesting evenings with guest speakers. The last one I went to was a magic lantern slideshow which was very interesting.
Generally though, it is very much 'my camera has more resolution than yours' digital nonsense.
I only really go for a cup of tea and a biscuit in the interval.... And the fact that my father is the treasurer and was the founder chairman twenty years ago when it was 100% film!
Redefine your quest. If you join a "camera" club, the emphasis will be on "camera" related topics - hardware oriented. If that is what you want, that is fine. It might be more rewarding to find a group that is interested in photography. You might start a thread here for Irish photographers. There are more than a few that frequent this site.
Does this mean the average age is around seventy at your club?
Some times the answer comes from an unexpected source. My wife a water colorist and I were visiting Acadia National Park, an island park off the coast of Maine. We had found a beautiful marsh with mountain behind and decided to go there the next morning to catch the light. She set up her easel and I my 8x10, when suddenly five SUVs and vans arrived. Men and women piled out, set up easels and began to sketch and paint, all politely careful of everyone's view. We learned it was a class from the local water color workshop. We had found a group that worked at the same speed, consideration and enjoyment as we did. There was not a digital camera or a rushed movement to be seen. A month later we were in the mountains of North Carolina and after politely asking permission, we set up between two oil painters beside an interesting cliff. Everyone was enjoying the scene and occasionally we spoke about the light or angle of things. Perhaps it is not the tools but the similar appreciation of the scene that drew us together. No long term relationship evolved, but it gave me some thoughts as to who might be more simpatico.
Originally Posted by copake_ham