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