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Sooty_1
Sooty_1 Critique Team 31125 forum posts United Kingdom192 Constructive Critique Points
31 Oct 2012 - 11:55 PM

I must have been unlucky.

The first I tried wanted payment for the year upfront, then wouldn't give me a programme to see what was coming up. They agreed that I could pay second time, as I didn't have the money on me. Second week, the evening was cancelled, unfortunately they neglected to tell me - the place was in darkness. I called the secretary, he apologised, then neglected to mention the third week was an evening at another club...I turned up to a locked club again. The secretary apologised again, but sounded like he thought it was my fault. The last time I went, four people were there, telling war stories and doing nothing except drinking tea. I didn't go back again.

Second club had no members younger than 50. The first night was a talk and slide show by a member who had trekked the Himalayas, except they spent 2 weeks of the 3 in bed with gippy tummy caused by breaking every rule in the foreign eating handbook because they knew better; so not many pictures. The final announcement of the evening was that the club was going to drop to meeting every 4weeks...guess what? It would be the nights I worked shifts (alternate weeks).

The third one had no members under about 70. No-one wanted to talk to anyone new, the secretary and chairman were both deaf (making meetings difficult), and everyone was obsessed about buying technology. They wanted software to show a slide show on a projector, but a rival club had new software at a cost of hundreds of pounds, so they wanted the same. I suggested using the slideshow facility in Windows as it did the same thing, and you should have seen the looks I got from the committee. I volunteered to set it all up for them, but they basically told me to get lost because they were going to spend the club's money. Every member produced over-saturated, over-sharpened, hackneyed images, probably because their eyes were failing and they didn't know how to use processing properly. I spoke to a competition judge privately one night, and he commiserated with me about the dogmatic approach and the poor standard of image. I won 2 competitions judged by outside judges, but never one judged internally.

I left soon after.

At every club I have been to, there is more than a passing interest in equipment you use, which soon manifests itself in snobbery. I sometimes told people I used zenith and praktica cameras, just to see how much of a sneer it would elicit. I was never disappointed.

My experiences thus far have put me off completely.

Nick

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dynexclick
1 Nov 2012 - 12:02 AM

Hi Nick
Don't think my experiences were that bad, and I don't mind old hands. Just you can't compete with people who can afford to take pictures on foriegn holidays in places like India, china, USA etc. Even a snap in such a place looks so different that it can be more interesting then what we are used to seeing as images from our own country.

I'm more trying to look for other photographers as a collective resource. I love landscapes, but am not use to travelling and have no idea where to go etc. Sat in a club house in the middle of winter didn't do it for me. many of these clubs are shut through the period of the year you want help and insperation.

Sooty_1
Sooty_1 Critique Team 31125 forum posts United Kingdom192 Constructive Critique Points
1 Nov 2012 - 12:29 AM

I have no problems with older people, but when running a club, they have to accept a few truths...

1. Younger people are the future of the club, and should be encouraged to join and get involved. They often bring attitudes and progressive thinking because they are closer to new technology. Closed minds are going to kill the club off. Fact.

2. Their way isn't always the best way, "because that's how we've always done it, and it worked in the past". This isn't the past, and everything needs to look forward. Progress isn't always good, but if everyone else is moving forward, it makes sense not to be left behind.

3. Members make the club what it is, and ignoring them, decrying them, belittling them won't make them want to stay. Deriding their camera equipment might seem ok if you own Leicas, Nikons, Canons and a raft of lenses, but when you can only afford a zenit with a 50mm lens, you make the best of what you have. And trying your best is all you can do.

If you find a club that is welcoming, progressive, informative and always organising something, then good for you.

Nick

dynexclick
1 Nov 2012 - 12:41 AM

There's only two clubs in Sheffield, and I've not tried the second one yet.

This year has been pretty shocking due to the weather, so I've not take as many pix.

NEWMANP
NEWMANP e2 Member 61581 forum postsNEWMANP vcard United Kingdom572 Constructive Critique Points
1 Nov 2012 - 10:28 AM

all sounds bit ageist to me,
im 60 years young not old
Phil

Sooty_1
Sooty_1 Critique Team 31125 forum posts United Kingdom192 Constructive Critique Points
1 Nov 2012 - 10:45 AM


Quote: all sounds bit ageist to me,
im 60 years young not old

But do you consider yourself progressive, willing to learn, willing to try new techniques? Willing to listen to someone younger who might know something you don't? Someone who might be able to help you with something you can't do, or something you don't understand?

Most of the "older", as in some years older than me, photographers who ran those clubs, could not honestly answer yes to any of the above. And as many were in their 70s+, just about every new member was younger than them.

As I said, I have no problem with older people, unless they are secretive, dismissive, rude, Luddites trying to run a club...in which case it seems like they are running it for themselves and their cronies rather than the greater membership. The problem then is that many younger members are not willing to run for positions of responsibility, or will never get elected, so can have little influence on the course the club takes.

NEWMANP
NEWMANP e2 Member 61581 forum postsNEWMANP vcard United Kingdom572 Constructive Critique Points
1 Nov 2012 - 10:58 AM

well i was young once too and i wanted to change the world. i was president first time 28 years old.

didnt change the world, didnt even make more than a dent in the paintwork, to be honest, the images are not so much different today as they were then. everything comes around.

im willing to learn from anyone young or old. but usually when younger people come to the club, its not too long before im sat with them showing them how to get more from their camera and photoshop and not the other way, even the ones on photography courses. but im 100% open to learn new stuff and ill have a pop at anything with any medium.

dost matter if its a zenith (ive had them) or a cardboard box if you get an image worthy it has my respect.

but dont harp on about older people. you will age too -- age dosnt stop creativity and after all they can be a fountain of information, at 60 i often consult older members.

as for keeping going, im chasing Goths one week, scrambling along on cliff edges chasing sunrises the next and i never have had enough of this magical hobby

get in a club, get on the committe because no one else ever wants the work and make a difference

Phil

Last Modified By NEWMANP at 1 Nov 2012 - 11:00 AM
KenTaylor
KenTaylor e2 Member 92966 forum postsKenTaylor vcard United Kingdom2 Constructive Critique Points
1 Nov 2012 - 11:35 AM


Quote: unless they are secretive, dismissive, rude, Luddites trying to run a club...in which case it seems like they are running it for themselves and their cronies rather than the greater membership. The problem then is that many younger members are not willing to run for positions of responsibility, or will never get elected, so can have little influence on the course the club takes.

So true to an extent.
A club local to me has two sections that meet separately avoiding the old versus new approach to photography excluding age.

Sadly I can find no club that is willing to discuss images between the members without the ever present competitive element making its presence felt.

You may well find that some clubs do have a committee that ARE running it for themselves.

I sigh and groan at times when equipment is the holy grail ignoring the ability to see and express yourself using the basic rules of composition.

KevSB
KevSB  101387 forum posts United Kingdom5 Constructive Critique Points
1 Nov 2012 - 11:37 AM


Quote:
but dont harp on about older people. you will age too -- age dosnt stop creativity and after all they can be a fountain of information, at 60 i often consult older members.

as for keeping going, im chasing Goths one week, scrambling along on cliff edges chasing sunrises the next and i never have had enough of this magical hobby


Spot on Phil.Started photography 30 years ago and doing things now id wished I could have done when I was younger.

Hazelmouse
1 Nov 2012 - 11:45 AM

How I agree about needing younger members who will be the future of a club. Our small & friendly club has just lost several members due to death/ill health plus moving house.

I harp on about needing to encourage & get new members - not always a well received suggestion. Also not easy to achieve - anyone got good suggestions for recruitment?

Trying very hard to move away from 'slide show' evenings that feature far too frequently.

Having said that no one asked about what gear I used when I joined and we (in my opinion and that of some others) need to spend more time discussing photographs and photography than we do currently.

Sooty_1
Sooty_1 Critique Team 31125 forum posts United Kingdom192 Constructive Critique Points
1 Nov 2012 - 12:14 PM

I'm not harping on, I'm responding to your post. And I was talking about my experiences with clubs, not generalising.
There are also a goodly number of youngsters who think they know it all. But they don't tend to be running clubs.

Paul_Anthony
1 Nov 2012 - 12:53 PM

At what age do you become an older member and cease to be a youngster exactly, perhaps you should clear this confusion up.

I am a member of a local club where 75% of the Committee / Organizing members are what you may consider to be the 'Younger' members. I am 35 and Competition Sec, the Program Sec is in his early 40's (i think), the chairman is in his late 40's / early 50's, in camera club terms are these considered younger members, I would say so as most of our members are of a retired age.

Paul

Carabosse
Carabosse e2 Member 1139367 forum postsCarabosse vcard England269 Constructive Critique Points
1 Nov 2012 - 12:58 PM


Quote: At what age do you become an older member and cease to be a youngster exactly

It's all in the mind. Smile

I have met people as young as late-20s who seem burdened with all the cares of the world on their shoulders. On the other hand, I have a friend who is 76 and likes singing and dancing on stage - and parties like crazy! Grin

psiman
psiman  10551 forum posts Wales
1 Nov 2012 - 1:08 PM

OK my tuppence worth.

Firstly the anti-digital myth:

I've been a member of a couple of clubs over the past 6 years, joining when I was 46 (you can work that one out then!) and when digital was just staring to make major inroads into photography. 6 years later virtually everyone I know in our clubs and others is working digitally. It's very rare to see any analogue work in a club nowadays unless its from a film/darkroom specialist. There are still a few film workers but they either shoot film because they want to or because they don't want the hassle/expense of going digital. I believe this was behind a lot of the negative reactions of established film workers to digital in the early days, they either thought digital wouldn't match film or when it became evident that digital was going to supplant film they realised that they'd have invest in new equipment and learn new skills. Everyone who wants to (and that includes 95% of camera club members) has moved with the times so please don't keep harping back about anti-digital attitudes that I can't believe exist any longer

Club Cultures:

As many others have commented clubs are only as good as their members. Personally I'd suggest you need a certain critical mass for a club to have the diversity and interest that will appeal to many new members, both clubs I've been a member of have had around 50 members which seems to be a good level. Clubs with significantly less members than this can struggle to provide enough content and varied interests to make them a great place to meet. There are always exceptions before anyone cites Wigan 10! Generally I find most clubs have members with a range of skills and interests, most of them are more interested in what sort of images you like creating rather than what sort of kit you've got (though there are always the odd one or two anoraks - I probably wear one myself occasionally!). Their attitude towards new members can be a problem and does need the committee to ensure that there are more experienced members around to meet and greet new attendees. Remember most clubs let you come along to a few meetings initially without becoming a member (you'll probably have to pay the normal tea & biccies fee) so if you have more than one club in the area "try before you buy".

Simon

GeordieDoug
1 Nov 2012 - 2:17 PM

I am in my first year at my local club and am still finding my feet. I must admit it has been hard as I am the youngest member by at least 10 years (I am 35), most are well retired. I found it hard to break through that barrier at first but found at least a few members (mostly the ones who were pretty new) would speak. I started to get more folk chatting to me when I got a highly commended in the first club comp, as though I'd proved myself worthy of their attention.
I have not come across any real kit snobbery as of yet, but then I've got some good kit so it normaly shuts those sort up.
The biggest thing I've found strange is the judging. I know taste is subjective but I've seen some quite bland photos from the usual winners be hailed as the best thing since sliced bread as they meet the normal "rules" and "standards". I've seen some great shots be ridiculed because of minor imperfections such as "a block of black" in a dark area or "detail lost" in the whites of a cloud (which had no details as it was a white cloud!). I think that the judges often know who is going to win (as the winners will be judging their work in a couple of weeks time at a different club) and find excusses to knock superior work down. This is not sour grapes on my part as I thought some work which did not get a mention beat mine.
I've promised myself I'll give it a season and see what happens. I am lucky in that there are at least 4 clubs within 20 mins drive of my home so I can always chop and change.
I have enjoyed some of the talks given at my club. One or two have been old school and pretty boring but mostly they have been given by really good photographers who have an enthusiasm that has inspired me.
The biggest thing I've found helpful is being a member of an online "club" as I use Canon. If it was not for canon fodder forums I'd still be very much a begginer.

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