The weird and wonderful world of the camera club

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sparx

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I need to rant. :mad:
After attending another session of my local camera club I am once again wondering why I bother. It was a club competition night, no theme, just had to be emprint sized (6x4). Apart from that anything goes. Marks are awarded out of 10 by all members then are totted up to give an average out of 10 score. Our resident pro then gives a short critique on each image and gives his own mark just as a reference. Both my entries have been posted on my blog, Laura and Dead Mans Fingers and boy did they crash and burn.

I am actually used to this. The club members as a rule are digiphiles and don't do B&W unless it's a requirement so mine never get a good mark. On top of that I didn't take a picture of a horse, a pet or a steam train. I thought the kid shot would do quite well but I was mistaken.

What suprised and disgusted me though, the average mark for all pictures was 6 out of 10 with nothing getting higher than an 8. Worse than that was the comments being made during the pro's critique. They were the stuff of catty 14 year old school girls.

What must we think of ourselves as a club that we cannot appreciate other members photos but instead must pull them down and rip them to pieces. I personally am bored with seeing the same images again and again but, if the picture is well taken, is technically good and well presented i will still give it a good mark. I won't give something 2 out of 10 because I don't like it and then verbally slag it off in front of everyone. That's going to bring in and keep new members isn't it!

Just for the record our Pro gave Laura 81/2 and Dead mans fingers 9, the club gave Laura 5 and Dead man 2!

Will i be going back? Yes i probably will and next time i'm going to enter a cyanotype print of an abstract I took with my home-made pinhole camera. I'm predicting one heart attack, two strokes and a lynch mob out for my blood.

Rant over :smile:
 

TPPhotog

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sparx said:
I need to rant. :mad: ..... Will i be going back? Yes i probably will and next time i'm going to enter a cyanotype print of an abstract I took with my home-made pinhole camera. I'm predicting one heart attack, two strokes and a lynch mob out for my blood.

Rant over :smile:
Well I gues that will clear out some of the "olde school" and allow some space for new blood onto the committee. This story is tipical of why I have always declined offers to join any local camera clubs as I never seem to hear good things about them.

Fear not we love your work :D
 
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sparx

sparx

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TPPhotog said:
Fear not we love your work :D
Aw shucks, i'm blushing. Or maybe it's the rope slowly tightening around my neck:surprised: .

There is one reason to keep going back. So far I have been given a JOBO CPE Drum kit, a Rollei Hammerhead Flash, £200 worth of filters, an entire darkrooms worth of equipment and a Meopta Opemus 6 for a tenner! Oh these silly old men and their 3MP cameras!
 

arigram

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In Greece there is the Greek Photographic Society, a club that exists in many localities around the country, including Crete, my local one. I have only gone to one meeting and one exhbition. The photographs are so cliche they make my stomach turn. They are the McDonalds of photography. And they claim titles and awards and a "Cretan School". They are the Taliban of the art world, clinging to stupid rules and technology like crazed fundamentalists. You may have read other posts of mine where I love to slander them and basically repeat what I write here.
Check them out over here:
http://www.efecrete.gr/Gallery.htm
(I think the page has only greek, but you only need to see the photos!)

Must be the same for most photo clubs.
 

TPPhotog

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sparx said:
Aw shucks, i'm blushing. Or maybe it's the rope slowly tightening around my neck:surprised: .
LOL Blush away I save the rope for some of my models (MORTEN!!!) :D

Btw I forgot to ask do they still have the portraiture rule that the shadow of the nose must be below but not cutting into the upper lip or some crap like that?
 

rogueish

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If you do that, they may not believe it's a photo or will want to know which filter you used in Photosh**.
I wasn't too impressed with one of the camera clubs in my area either. A lot of pics of children and grand children, but only other 2 pics, one of a Golden Lab (with his throw the ball already look) and one blurred shot of a woman with umbrella jumping over a puddle. I liked both but no one else seemed to even notice them (no kids I guess). Felt I was at a parents club instead of a photo club. There was no B&W and everything was shot digital.
 

rogueish

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TPPhotog said:
Btw I forgot to ask do they still have the portraiture rule that the shadow of the nose must be below but not cutting into the upper lip or some crap like that?
You know my night class instructor! :surprised: We had to shoot a entire roll using the "butterfly" lighting. "The shadow must cover one half of the upper lip, but make sure you don't get heavy shadows under the eyes."
Drove me nuts! I was a rebel and kept switching up the lighting. Ended up with a good mark though.
 

TPPhotog

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rogueish said:
You know my night class instructor! :surprised: We had to shoot a entire roll using the "butterfly" lighting. "The shadow must cover one half of the upper lip, but make sure you don't get heavy shadows under the eyes."
Drove me nuts! I was a rebel and kept switching up the lighting. Ended up with a good mark though.
No wonder an earlier thread asked what or if we are doing anything to advance photography. Maybe we could advance it by shooting (with pointy metal projectiles) some of the instructors out there :wink:
 

TPPhotog

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modafoto said:
Uhhhmmm....Models in bondage!
Now did I mention bondage? LOL Just think of those textures as props or backgrounds for latex, pvc or even leather :wink:

Now how do we get back on topic? ..... I know maybe the camera club would like nice safe traditional pipe smoking fisherman portraiture shot with a backdrop of fishing nets and tackle? You could tone it to give it that "classic" colour digi look :D
 

Denis P.

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arigram said:
The photographs are so cliche they make my stomach turn. They are the McDonalds of photography. And they claim titles and awards and a "Cretan School". They are the Taliban of the art world, clinging to stupid rules and technology like crazed fundamentalists.
Check them out over here:
http://www.efecrete.gr/Gallery.htm
(I think the page has only greek, but you only need to see the photos!)

Well, I took a quick peek, and actually found some nice shots there. Nothing really spectacular, but OK. The "Critics" section (lower part of the first link) with portraits does have really old-fashioned portraits, though. Just like those of 100 years ago :smile:
Otherwise, not really that bad - IMHO.

Denis
 

modafoto

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http://www.efecrete.gr/Gallery.htm

Must be the same for most photo clubs.[/QUOTE]

YES, it is!

Mine, too :tongue:

There are A LOT of stuff that is "trendy" right now. Mostly digitally made collages (mostly a model shot in a studio and some different background), water trannies and macro-photo of flowers...
 

Ed Sukach

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Well ... Praise be!! There are others here that feel the same way about "Photography Clubs" as I do!!!

I've been asked, a number of times, to join. I won't - every "club" I've ever encountered has always been an organization of Brahmins, and all they really do is try to convince each other that "My camera is better than your camera", and "Your work sucks, and mine doesn't."

I've heard the argument ... "But ... it's a great place to learn!" As far as I can tell, they are a great place to learn - to CONFORM. I know of *no* significant innovators that rose from the Camera Club ranks. I don't think that is possible, while one is primarily trying to protect one's gluteus maximus from what will probably happen at the next month's meeting.

As far as the "Competitions and Critiques" - it all depends ... are you really a masochist? If so ... enjoy!
 

TPPhotog

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Ed Sukach said:
... are you really a masochist? If so ... enjoy!
Maybe that should be the moto for most photography clubs .... quick copyright it :D
 

Les McLean

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Ed Sukach said:
I know of *no* significant innovators that rose from the Camera Club ranks.


Harry Callahan was quite a motivator and I believe he started in a camera club as did Charlie Harbutt, a former President of Magnum, and I rate him as the best teacher/motivator that I know.

I tend to agree with a lot of what has been said in this thread having experienced it in my time as a camera club member. I did try to change things in the club that I was in but it was a waste of time and effort so I stopped because I was getting frustrated just as sparx is. However, I also took the view that these people who caused me the frustration had the right to their views etc and I thought "who was I too try to change those views" so I left the club scene.
 

Ed Sukach

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Les McLean said:
Ed Sukach said:
I know of *no* significant innovators that rose from the Camera Club ranks.

Harry Callahan was quite a motivator and I believe he started in a camera club as did Charlie Harbutt, a former President of Magnum, and I rate him as the best teacher/motivator that I know.

I will not disagree. I am aware, from reading, about f/64 and Weston's, Adams' and all, involvement with that organization.
f/64 seemed to fall apart, for the lack of a common formal purpose ... the "why" became, more or less, unanswerable. Without that structure they all stayed ~ squint at this ~ more or less, "in touch".

It is certainly possible that there are "Camera Clubs" that are GEMS ... that have the interests of each and every member at heart, that are totally devoid of devious politics (... hah! I like this redundancy!), and are truly positive influences.

Possible - I'll concede that - but I haven't found one yet... and I'm not exactly holding my breath until I do.
 

JD Morgan

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Camera club? What's that?

Do they serve film?
 

Shesh

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If we were not on the opposite sides of the pond, I would have guessed we belong to the same photo club. I was thinking of starting a similar rant today after yesterday's "guest" judging at the photo club, but you beat me to it. It was horrendous - If the photo was not composed with the rule of 3rds in mind, did not leave more space in the direction in which the subject was seeing, if the tones were darker (never mind that it was done deliberately to create the mood), If the primary subject was not at least 1/3rd of the image or were abstracts, you could guarantee that the image would be rejected.

I would say that getting a low score in such a competition would be a complement. I am ashamed to say that I won while there were clearly more impressive images in contention.

So, Why do I keep going back? - 'cause it motivates me to keep shooting given all the "distractions" around me.
 

Shesh

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rogueish said:
Congrats Shesh on your win (I think)

Do NOT rub it in. :smile:
 

Dave Miller

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I seem to be one of the fortunates insomuch that I belong to, not one but two clubs where I enjoy my membership. One is competitive, whilst the other is not. Which is best? Well that depends if I am winning the competitions, or not! I will admit that participating in club competitions is beginning to pall, in part for the reasons given by others, however, before you complain too loudly about the club judging standard, try doing a stint up front yourself. It’s none too easy finding something meaningful, pertinent, and importantly, kind to say about a picture that you don’t like, especially if you have already viewed 39 others; I know, I’ve tried! To repeat a truism, if you can’t take the criticism, don’t but your pictures in the firing line. Clubs can be a good source of information, and encouragement, if yours doesn’t provide that for you, then leave, and find one that does. It is all too easy to hide your work from others, and delude yourself that it is top quality, to you it may be, to others, who knows.
 
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sparx

sparx

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Dave, i'm happy to take constructive criticism. It's small-minded, jealous, spiteful criticism from people who don't enter the competition themselves that gets up my nose. I did have people coming up to me saying they really like the gravestone shot and gave it 8 or 9. The ones who marked it down so much did so, not because of any genuine critical concerns but because they didn't like it.
As I said earlier, even if I don't like a picture I will still mark it on its technical merits at least and I would want others to do the same. There are so many tastes out there that to write something off and then be derogatory about it because it doesn't suit yours is just a stupid way to run a successful club.
 

garryl

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rogueish said:
You know my night class instructor! :surprised: We had to shoot a entire roll using the "butterfly" lighting. QUOTE]

Back in my tolerant years, I attended a meeting that had a PRO portrait photographer lecture. He said that all professional were using the C&S method of posing. The "C" was a single curve, while the S was a double.
"You can 'C' or 'S' a female client. But you can only 'C' a male client. You must never 'S' a male customer" I thought to myself, they have the exact same rule in the porn industry.
Another time they decided to expand their competition. So they set up a committee to fashion rule for judging B&W print entries.
The president went for a workshop with Elliot Porter. I swear if I had heard
"synergistery" one more time during critique- I would've thrown up on his shoes!


"But I'm feeling much better now"
 

joeyk49

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I can't find a camera club in my stretch of New Jersey. After reading this thread, I don't know if that's good or bad...

I always thought that clubs were intended for members to share photos, experiences, techniques and occasionally, resources. Healthy dosages of constructive criticism help each other to make better photographs.

It's one of the main reasons that I enjoy this site...
 

rexp

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Well... I have never been associated with a "photo" club of any sorts. I tend to not be competitive, and clubs in general tend to rub me the wrong way. I WOULD like to find a small group of people who would enjoy sharing prints over coffee or tea, trading thoughts and such WITHOUT criticism unless constructive. I often overlook items that are glaringly obvious when pointed out. Being an engineer I am not too artsy, but even old dogs can be taught new tricks (woof). So, any suggestions for finding a few photo souls in the middle of the country? I considered an ad in the paper, but who knows what wierdos would fall from the rafters using a shotgun approach like that?
 
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