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sfb_dot_com
02-09-2010, 15:11
I've been sitting on this for quite a while now, so thought I'd finally give vent to what's been festering inside. I joined my local camera club last autumn after a lifetime of not being a member of any sort of camera club. To be honest, it was more about the social side as I had moved after my relationship broke up, and basically was stuck at home with no social life. I'm just generally not a club person anyway, and many of these comments could also apply to bike clubs which have many of the same dynamics.

Anyway, on joining, I was given a programme of events which included mysterious things such as KF1, KF2 etc. There were 'battles' with other local clubs, and various guest speakers and demonstrations. So far so good. It turned out that the mysterious KFs were a sort of ongoing competition, and a lot of the club evenings were centred around these. I personally find any kind of public criticism very hard, but that is my problem. Anyway, i put some images forward for these various competitions, but the learning curve was very steep, and there always seemed to be reasons why things didn't come out as presented. And of course 'We're all digital now - aren't we' was the mantra. (I haven't told them about my various film cameras) At times it felt like being the central character in Franz Kafkas 'The Trial' where everyone but me understood what was going on. My pictures didn't do too badly, and I even got a second on one night, but I found the whole tone of the thing very rigid. Rules were there to be enforced. The Chairman whom I now sadly find I detest acts much like a dictator and is very prescriptive.

Then there is the hierarchy. There is of course a committee, visiting judges, even one from the RPS (all hail) But in addition to this there is the WCGPF, or some such, the Alliance, The Federation, and so on. There seems to be an expectation that members submit to all sorts of competitions judging by the number of emails that I'm getting from the aforesaid Chairman.

Don't get me wrong, it's not all bad, and there are some genuinely nice people there. But, I'm beginning to find excuses for not going. So, my question is: Am I some kind of oddball, or have I somehow entered through the wrong door. The door into 'The Twilight Zone'.... dee dee dee dee dee (Sorry couldn't resist)

Andy

Chriscrawfordphoto
02-09-2010, 15:30
No, you're not odd. Camera clubs tend to be like that. Very rigid and formulaic ideas about composition and what a photo should look like. When I was in college, the photo professor took us to a camera club meeting so we could see how narrow minded some photographers can be and how we as artists should NOT be.

antiquark
02-09-2010, 15:40
Here is the famous photographer, Stephen Shore's comment on camera clubs of the 1960's:

The photography world was very different then. What I had been exposed to was largely what I think of as a "camera club" mentality. There was a critique group in the city, but the pictures were terrible, like what was in Popular Photography magazine. There was no particular intention, no real aesthetic intelligence behind the photography. It was about making pleasing pictures. So it sounds like camera clubs haven't changed in decades.

DRabbit
02-09-2010, 15:54
It's tough. I just joined a local camera club too, and like you, more for the social side reason (find new friends with common interests).

First, I hate all the "big gear talk". Hey, I can talk cameras with the best of them, but the "mine's bigger than yours" DSLR club is a bit of a turn off. This particular club even had a "show and tell" portion and some of the guys had bags bigger than my largest suitcase. They were pulling out flashlights and huge tripods and pliers and garbage bags... and telling everyone "you should ALWAYS carry THIS"... jeeez... 99% of the time I merely have my camera slung around my neck without even a cap!

They also had some 20 minute argument about RSVPing to events... which I totally get, but as a first-timer, it was a bit intimidating... and I'm not a shy easily-intimidated person.

I want to talk photography, which likely makes me unpopular with the other women who want to talk about their kids or grandkids while I talk to their husbands about photos and cameras. I can only hope that's not the case. And it's not like there's all that many women there to begin with. It's probably 5-1 in favor of men.

And yes... "digital only now" seems the mantra at this club too. Me with my small bag and a few rangefinder cameras, several film, I was the freak in the cage for all to stare at amongst the big nature-shooting DSLRS.

Some of the people were very nice and I'm going to keep going... I just don't know if it's a crowd I'll ultimately "clique" with. I will say, I had a whole lot more fun at the NYC Rangerfinder Forum meet last month! I hope that becomes a regular thing!

So yeah... I feel your pain...

FrankS
02-09-2010, 16:12
I've belonged to a couple different camera clubs in the past, even won the B+W print photographer of the year at the Scarborough CC, and had a top scoring colour print at the Kodak salon of area camera clubs. This was before digital took over and we were still prints and slides. Only a couple of guys had digital cameras and they submitted prints. For a while, I enjoyed the contests and judgings, but then realised how narrow-minded they were, and evolved beyond them. The best part was after the formal meetings when a few like-minded guys went out for coffee and shot the breeze. I'm thinking about starting an informal film-only photo club in my town, and modelling it after those old post-meeting coffee house get togethers, talking about prints we've made.

Steve Bellayr
02-09-2010, 16:16
Camera clubs are never at the cutting edge. They are what was good yesterday. The photos shown are good for 50 years ago. Have you ever noticed how many photographers say they want to take pictures like Ansel Adams?...No offense, Ansel, but there are other photographers an other more modern ideas that need to be explored & shown. Rangefinder cameras are not inherently landscape cameras. They are more attuned to street photography not something that you will find in Camera Clubs. I personally found that a lot of the discussion revolved around "How can I digitally manipulate this image to make it look better?" For me the anwser is always: "Dude, take a better picture."

thambar
02-09-2010, 16:30
I tried a local camera club a few years ago, and found it hilarious. There were three judges who used some electronic device to vote on the various (awful) images. The only benefit of the meeting was that a Fuji rep visited, and gave away free film. I left with several packs of slightly outdated 4x5 Velvia, and set up a memorable photo trip with two other friends and a Model A convertible (that's another story.)

Leigh Youdale
02-09-2010, 16:31
Well, I'm the past President and current Vice President of my local camera club. Fortunately the vibe of the meetings and acceptance of female members and their images is pretty good on the whole. One in particular produces some outstanding images and she has only been serious about photography for about 18 months.
We meet twice a month - once for a talk or education night and once for the monthly "competition". We don't get too serious about the comps and we fortunately seem to have lost our prima donnas. We have "Small Prints" i.e. the ones you get printed at the local photo booth and that's for people who can't arrange or can't afford to make big prints. Typically it's where new members start off. Then we have Large Colour Prints and Large Mono Prints. Basically from 10x8 up to 16x20. And finally this year a separate category for digital projection of both colour and mono.
It's a formula that seems to work reasonably well, but there are still a couple of glitches for me.
One is that I think I'm the only member still exclusively using film. Consequently the judging is peppered with comments about "you could have done this, that or the other thing in Photoshop" and visiting and respected judges unabashedly recommend people drop a different sky in or so totally mess with the original image I'm left wondering where the boundaries lie between "photography" and "photographic-based art".
The other problem I have that in spite of urging, the club insists on the competitions always being open subject. I think that's a formula that makes it very hard for a judge to comparatively assess the member's images, does not challenge people to go out and use their imagination to "take on" the subject, and makes people lazy by allowing them to continually dig into their reserves to find one image that will hopefully impress the judges. It's such a turn-off for me that I don't enter.
So I've actually joined a second club that meets once a month, is an hour's drive away but has some traditional film and darkroom workers and (mostly) has set subjects for their monthly comps.

swoop
02-09-2010, 17:02
I don't talk to other people about cameras. It's always the same conversation. All the other photographers I know, the only way I get along with them is to talk about anything but cameras. We can can all be at some political function or a crime scene. And we hardly ever mention cameras. it's mostly about how the Mayor is always late or how it's too cold to be outside or there's nothing interesting to photograph or how we're taking 500 pictures but the paper is only going to run one photo.

And then amateurs/hobbyists are a whole different sort. They all want to know how I got my job and if I can get them work. Which really means they want my job. Because the only contacts I have are for the people who give me assignments and mail me checks. I don't know anyone else. I'm not going to give them my editors phone number to ask for a job when I can use every assignment I can get. That's money out of my pocket. I really wish I could help. But I can't. It's a really small pond and people only move up because someone else left the space open by moving up.

I honestly just avoid the whole scene. I find it a lot easier to go about my life as a photographer not mentioning photography. It's just something I do, not a conversation point. When people ask what I do for a living. 4 out of 5 times I'll just say Journalist instead of Photojournalist.

MatthewThompson
02-09-2010, 17:19
Precisely why I'm not a member of the MPPA or PPOC. It's a group of people glad-handing each other and slapping each other on the back (or across the face) over how wonderful and elite they are. Looking from the outside in, it's a money grab unless you compete with prints to win "certifications". I'm sure looking from the inside out, I and all the other professionals who choose not to submit are merely hacks.

My experience with camera clubs usually includes a member with more money than sense (eg: Canon 600L for occasional birding off back deck) and grotesque HDR concoctions where everyone agrees on its groundbreaking beauty. As DRabbit mentioned, it's a pissing match over who's got the trendiest gear and a photoshop support group.

Steve Bellayr
02-09-2010, 17:19
'Consequently the judging is peppered with comments about "you could have done this, that or the other thing in Photoshop" and visiting and respected judges unabashedly recommend people drop a different sky in or so totally mess with the original image I'm left wondering where the boundaries lie between "photography" and "photographic-based art".' Is that not called a 'Collage?' Do you want to photograph subjects or make composit images?

I was watching a program today explaining how I could take all my dead family members and put them together in a photograph of living family members who never met. Is that photography or something else? I went to a Camera Club meeting and the guest lecturer explained his method of putting creatures in selective cages and selling them as images of animals in the wild. Inherently, something is wrong about that procedure. Shouldn't there be a disclaimer? And, here is my disclaimer: This is not about digital vs. analog. It is about honesty.

If someone takes a photograph of a building and then adds a second photograph of a different sky I believe that that individual should state that his/her image is a Composite Image and that he/she is actually submitting two photographs not one...but then again that is my opinion not that of the majority.

MatthewThompson
02-09-2010, 17:22
'Consequently the judging is peppered with comments about "you could have done this, that or the other thing in Photoshop" and visiting and respected judges unabashedly recommend people drop a different sky in or so totally mess with the original image I'm left wondering where the boundaries lie between "photography" and "photographic-based art".' Is that not called a 'Collage?' Do you want to photograph subjects or make composit images?

I was watching a program today explaining how I could take all my dead family members and put them together in a photograph of living family members who never met. Is that photography or something else? I went to a Camera Club meeting and the guest lecturer explained his method of putting creatures in selective cages and selling them as images of animals in the wild. Inherently, something is wrong about that procedure. Shouldn't there be a disclaimer? And, here is my disclaimer: This is not about digital vs. analog. It is about honesty.

If someone takes a photograph of a building and then adds a second photograph of a different sky I believe that that individual should state that his/her image is a Composite Image and that he/she is actually submitting two photographs not one...but then again that is my opinion not that of the majority.

That's the difference between photography and photo-illustration.

KenD
02-09-2010, 17:29
Camera clubs tend to be, in my experience, aptly named. They are not photography clubs. The focus (pun intended) is clearly on craft oriented grocery-store-calender shots of puppies and sunsets. And who has the most expensive newest giga-pixel automatic everything smile recognizing camera.

pakeha
02-09-2010, 17:35
I joined a Citreon car club, left quickly and was put off any kinda club for the rest of my life. Then i slipped up and joined a pistol club - now if you want mix with some real bankers join a pistol club:bang: [ non enlish as first lanuage ?, spell bankers with a w]

yes, you got it with this statement

QUOTE
Then there is the hierarchy. There is of course a committee, visiting judges, even one from the RPS (all hail) But in addition to this there is the WCGPF, or some such, the Alliance, The Federation, and so on. There seems to be an expectation that members submit to all sorts of competitions judging by the number of emails that I'm getting from the aforesaid Chairman.

capitalK
02-09-2010, 17:49
I'm a little thankful there's no formal clubs in my city (70,000+ people) but I can also see where some kind of group could be attractive.

But I won't be the one to organize it from scratch.

Sjixxxy
02-09-2010, 18:05
When I was in college, the photo professor took us to a camera club meeting so we could see how narrow minded some photographers can be and how we as artists should NOT be.

I got a serious LOL from that.

I've never been able to bring myself to attend our regional camera club. The term Camera Club is enough to make me wary. Then one day I saw one of the photos that won one of their competitions. Typical photo of a local landmark run though the stained glass filter in photo shop. Eeep. Someday I'll attend it with anthropologist eyes.

Luckily we have a local alternative. A Photography group started by younger people. At the meetings we discuss business, a little bit of photography, and then we drink and socialize till everyone feels like going home. It is a good environment which has led to a lot of fun photography activities and work for the members.

Leigh Youdale
02-09-2010, 18:19
I think they can work, but it takes careful formulation of raison-d'etre, norms (I won't call then "rules" and a clear understanding of what people want from associating like this.
Some of our members produce quite outstanding work in both colour and black and white, but there's also the cute puppy/lovely sunset, HDR landscapes genres well represented as well.
And yes, I think a lot of what we see is aptly called "collage" and yes, I think there should be a disclaimer if you've substantially messed with the image or substituted components of the image. Once you get past colour correction, brightness/contrast adjustment and sharpening of an image I think you're approaching slippery ground.
The idea of a small, informal group of like-minded enthusiasts meeting for coffee or pizza and maybe going off to do some shooting somewhere sound appealing to me.

easyrider
02-09-2010, 19:47
I have been to a few lectures at the local camera club. They were quite interesting. Club seems OK but a little too "salon" oriented in the work on display. I have never belonged to a photo club.

I have been to two RFF meetings and they were wonderfully unstructured.

I think photographers are not joiners by nature. There is another thread here about shy people behind the camera.

bmattock
02-09-2010, 20:34
I used to belong to the Goldsboro Area Photography Club, and it was fantastic. Nothing like the negative experiences recounted here.

http://www.gapc.us

I have since left the area, but I know for a fact that a large (more than half?) of the membership were women, most did not have fancy cameras, and one consistent award-winner took great photos with a point-n-shoot film camera. No one was rich, and certainly no one was hung up on equipment. Just photography and friendship, that's pretty much it. One of the young ladies who was VP of the club for several years has since moved on and become a highly-successful and respected event and wedding photographer.

http://www.jacquelynnbuck.com/

I guess some clubs are better than others. They're certainly not all bad, I had a great experience at mine. Wish there was one like it here in Detroit.

Doug
02-09-2010, 22:24
Good countering experience, Bill; and that sounds like a great club.

I joined the Boeing Employees Camera Club back in the 1960's shortly after hiring on. As you can imagine, it was large and structured. There were connections to regional and national organizations. Commentary on displayed photos and a panel of judges for competitive entries. They had model shoots and mini-trade-shows and such. I had recently spent some time in Istanbul and Paris, and I found that an exotic locale pretty much guaranteed favorable attention from the judges. This lost my respect and I faded away from the scene...

By contrast, our small Photography Club in my current rural community struggles to exist. It's in hiatus now but there's some talk of getting going again. With something like 20 members, half of whom may show up to any particular gathering, it's pretty loosely organized. We'd bring photos to show, usually on an agreed theme. Sometimes a local pro or lab operator etc could be co-opted for a presentation. We had photo excursions. Some of the members are gear-heads, and some artists who "sketch" with the camera, others who'd like to go pro, some are influenced by the university's art dept... :)

sfb_dot_com
02-10-2010, 03:27
Wow! obviously lots of people interested in this subject. Despite the majority of people having broadly negative experiences, there are also some positives out there. It seems that how things are organised is the key. Unfortunately, my club belongs to the strict hierarchical model, which I find stifling. Did I mention the 'tea-boys' who are a group of mainly elderly men who make the drinks at the interval. In many ways they are the anarchic anti-group of the club. You should hear some of the whispered comments passed round in the dark at the back of the hall we meet in!

Oops! I've just realised it's club night, and I'm supposed to bring work for KF3, that's worms eye/birds eye view. Well I happen to have a picture I took with a Bessa L & Heliar 12mm looking upwards that should fit the bill nicely. Otherwise I'm struggling a bit as my printer is on strike, and the print section does seem to take precedence. I well remember the Chairman taking a print I had brought along for critiquing and shaking it backwards and forwards to demonstrate it's wobbliness to the group.

Oh well. I'll go I suppose

Andy

JoeV
02-10-2010, 04:57
I've attended the local camera club a handful of times over the last two decades, as a visitor, and afterward I keep reminding myself why I don't become a member.

The central activity of this club seems to be an ongoing photo-competition. This competition is so central to the culture of this group that the central feature of their newsletter is posting results of winners from past contests. They have a points system which tracks each participant's winnings from each monthly contest, and at the end of the year announce a yearly contest winner. This sounds like NASCAR racing, not photography.

I'm not a competitive person when it comes to issues of aesthetics; I'd rather enjoy being with a group of people who want to participate in a lively discussion on issues of photography, rather than "judging" photographs on a points-based system, which I feel is entirely impossible to do in reality; how do you apply points to aesthetic concerns?

There's also the usual unnaturally fetish-like emphasis on the use of image processing via software, ignoring completely the traditional photography crafts.

What would appeal more to me would be a group of photo enthusiasts who would be just as happy to discuss homemade pinhole cameras and darkroom techniques, rather than photography as a series of consumer purchases.

And, eschewing the usual camera club activities, I'd rather just meet up with a few folks and do a photo-safari; street shooting one time, then landscape the next. Then bring actual prints to the next meet-up, at a restaurant or bar, and enjoy eats and fellowship.

~Joe

Jacquelynn
02-23-2010, 04:45
I'm new to Rangefinder forums (thanks Bill!) and wanted to weigh in because I feel very strongly about the topic!
As Bill indicated, he (and I) had a really good experience in the photography club we belonged to in NC (www.gapc.us (http://www.gapc.us)). While we've both since moved on (but look! we're still friends!) I believe that participation in that club, and other clubs I've belonged to since, have helped me become the photographer I am today. I think it's all about perspective and expectations.
I move around a lot, courtesy of my husband's job, and so I have the opportunity to comment on and compare photography clubs from different regions of the US. I've been to many and while I can certainly attest to frustrations similar to those quoted here, I can tell you that my determination to learn and network in a field I was passionate about kept me involved, despite any early misgivings. Instead of lingering on the negative, I went in with an open mind and an idea of "what can I learn from these people" rather than "what can I teach them" and it's made all the difference.
In fact, the last club I belonged to (in Ohio - www.tripodcamerclub.com (http://www.tripodcamerclub.com)) was mostly composed of older men who were retired, had money to spare, and competed ferociously with their prints (not like me at all). And at first I was so intimidated and put-off (seriously??), but I hung in there and ended up learning so much - about how to create a black and white print with expertise, about how to critique and judge fine art prints, about how to do amazing post processing techniques, etc. And then I volunteered to be part of their board so that I could help address the problems I saw and be part of the solution rather than silently griping about them.
So my point is that while these kinds of organizations can breed stuffiness and include people who just want to compare equipment, my personal experience is that they can be, and more often are, an opportunity for learning and growth if you keep an open mind.

Michael Markey
02-23-2010, 05:11
The first post describes the clubs in the UK. Add to that they are fanatical about digital to the point of abuse if you "still"use film. The competion structure has all but elminated film anyway.
The emphasis is on pleasing pictures which are often composites put together in photoshop.
Judges seem to like those.
For prints the colour of the mountboard is afforded as much if not more importance than the picture.
I got a real shock when I first attended a meeting `cause I expected it to be on the lines of what we tend to discuss here.
Not so.
We seem to be on a different planet.:)
Thank god for that.
I`m still trying to dev film ! How pathectic is that .

maddoc
02-23-2010, 05:13
I am a member of a local photo-club since a couple of years. Since I am the only foreigner in that club and don`t understand everything about the formal things the other members talk about it is quite relaxing for me. Once a year we have a photo-exhibition in Sapporo with up to 20 members presenting their work and it always an interesting get together and talking.

Amongst the members are total beginners with some P&S cameras as well as some professional photographer who make their living out of photography. Some use digital and some film, some have a DSLR, some a Leica, some a Hasslblad, and some a toy-camera. Once a month there is a small meeting where photos can be presented and will be judged by the crowd. Everybody presenting is then asked to give a short statement about his photo being selected as best. Additionally everybody is encouraged to submit his printed photo of choice to a professor for photography in Tokyo who takes his time and gives some remarks to the submitted photos and his remarks are recorded voice memos so that we all can see the discussed photos and his remarks.

All in all a very nice group.

Cheers,

Gabor

... Jacquelynn, welcome to the RFF ! :)

tanel
02-23-2010, 05:17
I would also like to add a positive experience.

I joined my local photography club about 5 months ago and it is quite the opposite to what I read here. - Almost everyone uses film and most of the members are female.
80% of the time we use darkroom and 20% of the time we have guests, watch the work of our members or go out to shoot. We get together once a week and it's been a lot of fun so far. Many great persons and many great photographers. Besides of using darkroom we can get Tri-X half the price than on stores here. So, I can only say good things about that.

But I am only one who are into rangefinders there. Well, I'm probably the only one interested in RF in my area. Not many people are using rangefinder here these days. Most people are into dslr's and nature or 6x6.

RichC
02-23-2010, 06:16
I belong to the Brighton & Hove Camera Club on England's south coast, and cannot praise it highly enough. (See http://www.bhcc-online.org)

I joined three years ago, rather reticently - I was expecting half a dozen pipe-smoking old men in tweed jackets waxing lyrical over boring black and white photos of the Lake District! Luckily, it wasn't like that, and I was pleasantly surprised.

The club's focus is helping members achieve their potential and goals, whatever they may be. And it welcomes all photographers whatever their interests. Yes, there are a few tweedy men, but there are also students with piercings in their 20s, pro photographers and a significant number of women. The club's proved so popular, that we've had to cap the membership at 150!

Most members are interested in traditional, middle-of-the-road images - but that's hardly the fault of the club: it only reflects what the majority of photographers are into (you only have to look at the monthly photo mags to confirm this!). However, the club encourages all types of photography - I'm hardly "traditional", neither my photography nor my camera (Leica M8):

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2704/4379182304_6b4e999ce4.jpg

And not all our guest speakers are traditional either - "Miss Aniela" (http://www.missaniela.com), one of the UK's rising stars, gave a talk recently on her photography, the impact of social media (e.g. Facebook, Flickr) on photography, and the role of the female in photography.

"Anxiety" by Miss Aniela:

http://www.onedigitallife.com/images/miss-aniela.jpg

The club also contributes to the Brighton Photo Fringe (http://www.photofringe.org), which tends to focus on contemporary fine-art photography.

Not all camera clubs are dry, boring and hide-bound!

I can honestly say that without the encouragement of my local club, I wouldn't have achieved either my ARPS qualification from the Royal Photographic Society nor been signed up by a photo agency.

Also, I have met some people at the club who have become very good friends.

So, it can be worthwhile checking out your local club...

250swb
02-23-2010, 06:49
Miss Aniela is an excellent example of a woman working the amateur circuit, dealing with 'womens issues', but still realising that the model needs to show her knickers for the photographer to be accepted in the society she keeps.

She's not stupid to be doing the manipulation if it earns her a crust, but it kind of highlights the total lack of intellectual rigor in the amateur club when its accepted as 'art'.

Steve

Sparrow
02-23-2010, 07:13
Miss Aniela is an excellent example of a woman working the amateur circuit, dealing with 'womens issues', but still realising that the model needs to show her knickers for the photographer to be accepted in the society she keeps.

She's not stupid to be doing the manipulation if it earns her a crust, but it kind of highlights the total lack of intellectual rigor in the amateur club when its accepted as 'art'.

Steve

That seems a little harsh, but then, I imagine she feels threatened by your work

RichC
02-23-2010, 07:38
Miss Aniela is an excellent example of a woman working the amateur circuit...

Actually, she doesn't "work the amateur circuit" - she made an exception for us, since she was asked by some of our younger female members.

Despite being only in her 20s, she's become so successful that she now derives her entire income from fine-art photography and commissions from companies and individuals... as well as being sponsored by Microsoft.

So, yeah, she's showing her knickers - obviously a rubbish photo and can't be art! :rolleyes: Man Ray's nudes aren't art, nor Mapplethorpe's , nor Newton...

Did you consider that there may be good reasons why she often uses herself as her own model? She spoke of empowerment, owning her image and irony

And she does darker self-images. This was taken in an abandoned hospital. "Scuttled": http://www.missaniela.com/index.php#mi=2&pt=1&pi=10000&s=2&p=2&a=0&at=0 ... yet another rubbish photo! :rolleyes:

Andy Kibber
02-23-2010, 07:40
Steve's comment is snarky, I agree, but there's a ring of truth to it.

As for camera clubs, I never touch the stuff myself! I almost made it to a Flickr meet-up a couple of times though. :)

250swb
02-23-2010, 12:46
Wakey wakey, its not 'fine art photography' Rich, its made to appeal to the masses in as an uncomplicated way as possible. They are cute images, they are not 'art'. This stuff is the digital photography equivalent of Vladimir Tretchikoff's 'Green Lady'.

Steve

Sparrow
02-24-2010, 01:01
Steve's comment is snarky, I agree, but there's a ring of truth to it.

As for camera clubs, I never touch the stuff myself! I almost made it to a Flickr meet-up a couple of times though. :)

Yep agreed, it’s a bit commercial and a little formulaic, but then she’s only 23 and is already supporting herself by her art, fine or otherwise. She has a long way to go and I’d argue she has made a good start.

I had the poor experiences of camera clubs too, a few loudmouths with expensive gear, intent on imposing their imperfect understanding of art and aesthetics on the rest of the membership. I attended twice and haven’t bothered since (less bloodshed that way), however the Brighton one looks better

sig
02-24-2010, 01:24
Yep agreed, itís a bit commercial and a little formulaic, but then sheís only 23 and is already supporting herself by her art, fine or otherwise. She has a long way to go and Iíd argue she has made a good start.

I had the poor experiences of camera clubs too, a few loudmouths with expensive gear, intent on imposing their imperfect understanding of art and aesthetics on the rest of the membership. I attended twice and havenít bothered since (less bloodshed that way), however the Brighton one looks better

That is why RFF is such a nice place. No loudmouths with expensive gear, only very supportive people who are not interested in gear at all.....

And as for female photographers.... If it is no law against it there should be one.

blindlemon
02-24-2010, 01:25
I've only just found this thread and would like, if I may, to reflect on the opening post by Roger Hicks. His experience sounds all too familiar to me. I started a club in my home town many years ago, it went very well until it started to joint the local club alliances and federations etc. and had to bend to their rules and ways of thinking with endless bloody competitions and slide battles. The only advice ever given to me to improve my photography was that when submitting slides or photos for competition , instead of saying I had used my Olympus OM 2 on the entry form, I should instead, say that I had used a Nikon or Leica and my marks would increase, on average, by 10%.
I became so disillusioned that I not only left the club but didn't pick a camera up for 25 years.
I'm wondering, if Rogers club in West Cornwall by any chance, if so it seems that very little has changed in nearly 30 years.

Sparrow
02-24-2010, 02:06
and there was me thinking they just stuck the buggers in a photocopier … the Rembrandt’s that is

Sparrow
02-24-2010, 03:19
ya see I always thought the term “fine art” was sort of a derogatory term coined by the Arts and Crafts chaps to describe the early Modernists … or an elitists term invented by Modernists lot to support their egos, so you see one learns something every day … it’s just about money

Andy Kibber
02-24-2010, 07:39
Yep agreed, itís a bit commercial and a little formulaic, but then sheís only 23 and is already supporting herself by her art, fine or otherwise. She has a long way to go and Iíd argue she has made a good start.

Yep, I harbour no ill will toward her. If she enjoys what she's doing and can make a buck at it, I wish her all the best. She's certainly not hurting anyone.

There's plenty of photography out there that I don't care for (for one reason or another). It's easy enough to ignore. :)

Dave Wilkinson
02-24-2010, 07:59
[quote=Sparrow;1268018

I had the poor experiences of camera clubs too, a few loudmouths with expensive gear, intent on imposing their imperfect understanding of art and aesthetics on the rest of the membership. I attended twice and havenít bothered since [/quote]...obviously your tolerance and patience have increased substantially of late - Stewart! ;)

Chris101
02-24-2010, 08:41
Fine Art - as in the sentence, "That is some really fine art." Yeah, naked ladies help.

Sparrow
02-25-2010, 01:00
Steve; perhaps you could help me with your definition of “fine art”. You defined it earlier as "something made without initial commercial intent" and I’m having difficulty in applying that definition to almost all western art since the renaissance.

Almost every artist I can think of was trying to make money through either patronage or sales; in fact, some of their studios were regular factories with many specialist artists working on a single piece. Even van Gogh, the apocryphal starving artist, was thinking commercially as is clear in the letters to his brother Theo … so the question has to be asked who are these fine artists, who make your fine art?

Chriscrawfordphoto
02-25-2010, 03:49
Steve; perhaps you could help me with your definition of ďfine artĒ. You defined it earlier as "something made without initial commercial intent" and Iím having difficulty in applying that definition to almost all western art since the renaissance.

Almost every artist I can think of was trying to make money through either patronage or sales; in fact, some of their studios were regular factories with many specialist artists working on a single piece. Even van Gogh, the apocryphal starving artist, was thinking commercially as is clear in the letters to his brother Theo Ö so the question has to be asked who are these fine artists, who make your fine art?

The distinction between fine art and commercial art didn't really come about until the late 19th century when advertising became an important industry thanks to the growth of magazines and newspapers. Today commercial art is art commissioned by a client who is using the art for business purposes. So, an artist who illustrates magazine articles is doing commercial art, as is a photographer hired to photograph bowls of cereal to use on product packaging. A painter hired to paint your portrait is considered fine art. That is not the case with photographers who do portraits, strangely enough. A photographer who photographs landscapes doesn't have commercial intent even if he hopes to sell prints, because he wasn't commissioned or hired to do the photo before making it.

Sparrow
02-25-2010, 10:53
we mainly got fat blokes

FS Vontz
02-25-2010, 11:06
The one I attended was mostly inhabited by ghastly old men who seemed to enjoy tea more than anything. And most of them weren't even from the area, they all seemed to have English accents, which makes me think they just started the thing to get council funding for them to have ex pat/moved somewhere else(depending on your politics) meetings.

Chris101
02-25-2010, 11:12
Nekid models or club denizens? Or is there a distinction?

nico
02-25-2010, 14:51
Two years ago I joined a local camera club because I mainly learned about photographing through websites and books so I'd like to see what was going on in "the real world".
The most annoying thing about the club are the tecnical discussions about "how did you do it" since I'd rather discuss about "why did you do it". Except that it's still an interesting exerience because I can show my photos and get back some useful, both positive and negative, criticism; furthermore, showing prints (and not files only) improved my printing skills and in general my PP skills. There are not great discussions about digital or analog, the members are quite relaxed about it (even though most of them went to digital) and about styles and genres, everyone is free to do what he prefers: some like to show single images or some like to work on larger project and the quality may vary but the average level is interesting. Every two years the club organize a national b/w competition and every now and then members of other clubs are invited to show their photos.
Ater 2 years of membership I still feel it as a positive experience that helped me to improved my skill together with reading photo books and joining internet forums. The camera club experience is, for me, a part of my neverending learning path but it has to be mixed with other different experiences like forums, lots of books, workshops etc.
Just my 2 cents.
Ciao

Sparrow
02-26-2010, 08:11
perhaps we could get a game of Top Trumps going? :D

sircarl
02-26-2010, 08:25
I had a similar experience to Michael Markey. About a year ago my local camera club put up an exhibit of members' work at the local library, with members on hand to explain how the club worked and sign up new recruits. Since my London suburb is home to many retirees, I thought I might find at least a few people who still used film cameras and a wet darkroom, like me. Not a chance. Everyone in the club had gone digital, I was told. And when I asked what the club did exactly, they went on and on about all the keen competitions they held. What a bore! The odd thing is, the photos in the exhibit were generally quite good. But I decided I'd probably be out of place there, so I never joined.

Roger Hicks
03-08-2010, 14:02
Don't know how I missed this thread!

Yes there are some REALLY nice people and a few very good photographers at camera clubs, and the best photographers ae often the nicest, most generous and most helpful people. Then there is the remaining 90%...

Ignore the arseholes and you can learn a lot from a camera club. But it requires a thick skin and a discerning mentality in most cases, or a monstrous ego.

Cheers,

R.

Bike Tourist
03-09-2010, 03:45
I went through a long camera club experience in the 70s through mid 90s. I must say I learned a lot, up to a point. I also went through the PSA (Photographic Society of America) experience, too. I think I achieved several degrees of awards for photojournalism and for contributing articles to the PSA Journal. It wasn't easy to compete at that level.

That said, the local camera club tended to be pedantic, inflexible, conventional, resistant to change and originality and exhibited an inexorable tendency to age without the benefit of new blood or younger people.

Around here, the local club's death knell sounded with the widespread adoption of digital and the depletion of their ranks from natural causes. There is no camera club now and several attempts to start a new one have failed. I can't imagine that PSA is very healthy either these days.