So I contact my friend’s dad yesterday which curiously is nicknamed Leica Man. Let’s rewind right quick. I started with photography back in 1994 and actually it was with Leica Man’s Canon F1. I mean his son was one of my best friends in high school (1986-1991) and I’ve visited his house a million times. Why Leica Man? Well his Leica collection is considered to be the one of the biggest in the United States with all sort of Leica glass and all cameras up to the M6 (he never went digital) including Leica R bodies and glass.
Fast forward, to yesterday and I give him a call, it turns out he has a photography exposition this evening which he invited me to attend. In conversation, he tells me how he’s now shooting M43 (G2/GH2) due to his age and weight factor of his other gear (Leica/Canon) but his happy and is making large canvas prints and having a good ole time.
So you can imagine how I was, a photo nut talking to an elder collector photo nut and reminiscing on gear, styles, and all type of photography topics. He then tells me his part of a Photo Club down here for the last 30 years where his a judge and tons of folks participate, all this history unbeknownst to me and so so close I couldn’t believe it. So I decided I would join the Photo Club and see what’s it all about. Like any club in life and I’m sure there will be tons of opinions and tons of feedback. A good friend of mine, Wouter Brandsma asked me what I wanted to get out of it. To be honest, I don’t know yet, I’m just excited to meet like minded folks who love this craft as much as I do.
Its always nice to have a personal feeling to this hobby. I mean we share online and interact socially but real live feedback can be great as well. One possibility that does interest me is actually making prints of some of work and actually seeing it on a wall and have people look at and see what kind of emotions it strikes but we’ll see how this Photo Club odyssey unravels in the weeks and months to come.
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I hope it serves you really well. I briefly participated (nearly three years) in a local photoclub with approximately 60 members. At first I had no idea what I wanted to find. I realized enough that my photography took of without the assistance of many others. Was I going to learn something in the club? Was I going to be inspired by the work of like minded people? Would the face to face contacts be an a great additional bonus to the contacts I already had on the internet?
After nearly three years I am still searching for some answers, but noticed too that I started to become less interested in questioning it. A club creates it’s own pace and works with a program that might suite you or not. And for me, their calender was most of the time of sync with my own photography agenda.
While I love printing my images, many times it felt like I printed unnecessary. I have numerous prints at home that I printed for a presentation at the club that might never see the daylight again. I printed when I wasn’t mentally prepared to let go the photograph on paper. Emotionally that feels different to me from sharing it online.
I never intended to become a member of a club to create a useful network. And I realized too that a photoclub isn’t suitable for such as well. In fact, I thought it was a tight and rather hierarchic society. While it was sure focused on making enthusiastic photographers better, I also got the impression that there still needed to be some distinction from the “best”.
I actually preferred the online photographic community, since it is less aware of status and has completely different expectations.
What I liked though where the presentation from outside photographers, both free artists, professionals, and good amateur photographers with good stories and interesting work. I liked the trips too and the conversations beyond photography. Best yet, out of the 60 members I gained a friend.
It all was however not enough to keep me a member of the club. I learned that it doesn’t add anything to my photography, what I want to do, and how I feel about it. By listening (again) to myself, I decided to stop it this month.
Therefore I asked you last night what your expectations are of becoming a member. If the club has a good mentor that you think might be meaningful to you, ask him or her to become your mentor. Be aware too that the active participation comes from the minority of club. In that way it is like internet where only some make the content, a few comment it, and most just lurk. A club is no exception what I witnessed so far. It would be interesting to take us with you in what you experience there. I am sure interested in that.
Thanks for all your insight I will certainly take all you comments into consideration. To be honest, I’m having second thoughts. Photography is so subjective in so many ways: composition, light, style, genre, etc that I’m not sure I’m ready to expose my own photography to a group of people that perhaps will not understand my vision. I feel very comfortable where I am right now.
Just the other day I submitted this image in a forum https://ledesmaphotography.wordpress.com/2012/09/27/blazing-eyes/ and I got a whole bunch of comments on vision and background and all sort of stuff that I really didn’t quite get. People on forum seem to be pre-occupied with imitating the greats. I got a comment that said something like this: “Bresson would have never chosen that frame because the moment was not right and bla, bla, bla”
I thought it was a great portrait, I didn’t feel the need to clone out the background, Without a doubt, the background is there and perhaps the frame would be better with out it but to be honest, the background was not my priority ― the gentleman’s look was what this frame was all about.
Any, I just don’t know if I’ll join. I’m happy with knowing you and a bunch of other Flickr friends who give me great constructive criticism and compliments as well. What I will do is print some of my work and see how it looks on a wall. I’m planning on getting married next year to my fiancee and I’m already planning the shots and I’m going to do my own processing for all the frame based on my vision. I’ll choose a friend who has a similar style as mine and I’ll go from there, some in black and white and some in color.
Well, my friend, its good to see you back to shooting on a regular schedule, I look forward to what’s next from you. Cheers.
PS. I’m also happy I consolidated my cyber presence in one place. With that I hope to be able to be more engaging with the comments, something I lacked with self hosted wordpress blogs.
I don’t want to scare you of. To find out how your image are perceived a club can be a good platform. Pretentiousness can be found anywhere.
Most importantly though is to stick to your own plan and choose commenters wisely. And when you want to go into deep feel free to mail me.