I agree with Ed that any such competion or critique shouldn't be used to determine the direction of ones work.

In my experience any club,photography based or not, can become, well, to clubby. The social aspects become bigger then the purpose of the club. And with any organization or group you will have individuals who are there for the social aspect, some who are there strictly to improve or learn about photography and the gamut in between.

I think what happens is that it becomes easy to fall into the trap of familiarity with the work of others and sub-conscious need to be part of the group and then slowly begin to emulate the work of others or at the least continue doing what you have always done if it is well accepted.

I was in a club for a couple months when I brought in some selective depth of field images shot with large format of an older neighborhood and the older folks who still lived there. The prints were small, cropped square about 6"x6". I was quite proud of the images but was told by several that it was a waste using a view camera when I could have produced the same results with 35mm.

These photographers who basically were Adams, Bond, Barnbaum clones didn't even consider the subject matter and my reason for use of the format. I wanted the control the camera provided and the tonality achievable with a larger piece of film. I feel that the use of the large camera showed I had dignity for the subjects because of the time and involvement required with the camera. In there eyes if you are going to go to the trouble and expense of using a view camera the print should be tack sharp edge to edge, 11x14 or larger and God help you if you don't use the whole negative.

If i was ever in a club like that one again, I think I think I would do a similar subject but use an 11x14 camera and really blow their minds.

And please don't misunderstand me, i am not down on all clubs. Some are probably excellent for personal growth in the medium. The above was just one man's experience.


Anyways, enough of the club rant, I need to get more coffee before I head back out to the shop.