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Camera Clubs, are they really so bad? (rant alert)

randomrubble 13 3.0k 12 United Kingdom
6 Apr 2007 1:08PM
{rant mode on}

Prompted by the way this distinctions thread went completely off the rails I want to ask why a number of members of epz, which is basically an internet camera club, so virulently anti any other form of club?

While there are many positives about epz there do seem to be some people with set views who will accept only the one true way... epz.

I've noticed this on other threads in the past, particularly in connection with local camera clubs. It seems that anyone who dares to suggest they might want to join their local club or whatever is subjected to relentless negativity.

I'm not dismissing ephotozine here by the way, I've been a member for 2 1/2 years and have gained a huge amount in that time but clubs and other outlets allow you to learn different things about yourself as a photographer.

There's a lot to be gained by producing prints of a sufficient size and quality to allow your work to be judged against the work of others by an impartial judge, rather than a group who have reference to your previous work and may have an idea of what you are about before seing your images.

Club photography also tends to be graded into classes which allows a sensible comparison as the experience and ability level is taken into account, rather than the comletely mixed up epz gallery.

{/rant mode off}

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User_Removed 14 17.9k 8 Norway
6 Apr 2007 1:18PM

Quote:{rant mode on}

Quote:{/rant mode off}

Brilliant Barry...
csurry 16 9.2k 92
6 Apr 2007 1:21PM
Should we get the lads to develop [rant mode] for you. I suggest red text and automatically converted to all caps.


I'm not anti-club. I'm anti the two clubs that I attended with a view to joining. Totally unfriendly.

However, I visited a club on two ocassions with a couple of friends. I also knew a few other members there. Guess what, no one else made an effort to speak to me on either night. I mean I had no intention of joining, just happened to be near where I was working at the time, but if I had it wouldn't have left me feeling particularly welcome.

As for the judges being impartial, you'd hope so. The funny thing is on the second night I went, two guests from another club were showing a selection of their work. Most was pretty average compared with a good deal we see on ePZ (back to Conrad's thread on are we spoilt). But all these guys could talk about was how well these had done for them on the 'circuit'. In fact they talked about their last trip not in terms of their enjoyment, but in how they had taken images for the judges. They kept saying things like when I took this I knew it would do well on the circuit.

Have to say there was only one image that they showed where I thought I wish I'd taken that. The rest were to be honest mediocre, especially at 16"x20", or whatever size they were.

Now I take pictures for myself, or to illustrate an article. If other people like them that's a bonus, but I don't shoot with judges or indeed Pete's preferences in mind.

So whilst we may adapt to posting to an ePZ style, all clubs have one.

I wish everyone who wants to join a club good luck in finding one that provides what they want from it, but I do caution against conforming to any accepted style or subject.
culturedcanvas 12 4.7k 59 United Kingdom
6 Apr 2007 1:25PM
The fact is EPZ is often spolied by a small number of idiots with very little idea of the real world.

An overly judgemental attitude and quite often no real experience or knowledge to back up their opinions. The idea is that their own negativity and lack of confidence is forced upon others with the aim of bringing them down to their own level.

I sincerely hope and beleive that the vast majority of members don't subscribe to these pedantic views.

SamLS 12 232 United Kingdom
6 Apr 2007 1:51PM
My two-penneth worth....

I'd like to join a photoclub, somewhere I could talk about photos, ask for help, give some tips and all that sort of thing.

Problem is, look at the schedule for 99% of clubs events
... print competition
... slide competition
... inter-club competition
... swimming competition (ok I made that one up)

I actually don't want to compete with anyone about anything.. I have enough of that at work.

Find me a club that never requires me to be set against someone else and I'll be the first to join. Until that day...

(by the way I got the editors letter of the month in a photomag a couple of years ago with exactly this, although I composed it a bit better)

tigs 13 145 3 Netherlands
6 Apr 2007 1:55PM
To answer your question simply - no! Wink

I hear all these 'stories' about photo/camera clubs being old fashioned or too focused on competitions... it's sad really... I have been a member of a photo club here in Holland for pretty much the same length of time I've been a member of ePz and I've gained so much from both!

The photo club is international (but english speaking) so there are a lot of different nationalities, the age of members is very diverse and we are all at different levels of photography - beginners to very advanced. We always see a complete mix of work at all of our meetings and we share tips and advice with each other.

Our membership is always changing because of the nature of the expat community (we also have some Dutch members tho) and I think this helps to keep the club fresh... we also finally went digital and bought a beamer! Smile
dcash29 12 2.3k England
6 Apr 2007 2:21PM
I agree with comments made by Sam there is to much emphasis on competitions. I feel there isnt enough on individual development.

Thats were sites like this help, as you can ask questions and get answers.

At many clubs members dont want you to know where and how to get the best shots unless of course youre in the click so that they win and looked up to as some great person.

I know most things are like that in life, but if clubs want to survive they have to keep peoples interested.
randomrubble 13 3.0k 12 United Kingdom
6 Apr 2007 2:22PM

Quote:To answer your question simply - no! Wink

LOL, Correct Answer!

I know there are bad clubs as well as good, I know that competition can stifle creativity, as a level of technical quality and conformity to certain styles will be rewarded, and sunsets and swans generally won't.

Ultimately though, sunsets and swans apart, can anyone honestly say that's really very different from epz?
Just Jas Plus
16 26.2k 1 England
6 Apr 2007 2:22PM

Quote:or too focused

Are you trying to steal my material, Tigs? LOL!!!!!
brian1208 Plus
14 11.3k 12 United Kingdom
6 Apr 2007 2:54PM
I enjoy being a member of EPZ - and yes, we do have competitions here too!

I'm also lucky enough to belong to a remarkably friendly camera club which has an active educational programme, monthly Digital Group meetings, a Studio Group etc. We also get involved in community activities and other external events. It costs 18/year (so its even cheaper than E2 membership) and despite having a lively competition programme, success is more likey to bring friendly ridicule than admiration / angst.

There are other clubs in the area I would rather saw off my left arm than join (and we seem to be getting new members from them as well)

So, as with most things in life, there's some you like and some you don't. (a bit like Marmite I guess Smile
elowes 13 2.8k United Kingdom
6 Apr 2007 3:18PM
Camera clubs for me have the taint of AP, a magazine I buy now and then but makes me think that it is stuck in the 60s but gives lip service to the 21st century. I can resist camera clubs but for some reason I still buy these odd copies of AP.
samfurlong 12 2.5k United Kingdom
6 Apr 2007 4:25PM

Quote:amera clubs for me have the taint of AP, a magazine I buy now and then but makes me think that it is stuck in the 60s but gives lip service to the 21st century

Bang on.
Camera clubs can be great, however many are run by the old guard who think digital is the devils work and that having a leica makes them special.
Judges are incredibly subjective (well, how else can you judge a photo I suppose)but the rubbish they come out with beggars belief sometimes.
I used to belong to one but found that clubs are stuck in a bit of a time warp, nothing ever moves on. If what you want to do it take pics of pretty landscapes, nature, textures and patterns - you know - pictorial 'pretty picture' stuff then a camera club is exactly what you need, you'll probably enjoy it.
I don't like the camera club way of doing things because if you shoot camera club style and do well in club competitions etc.. then you're just going to turn into another amateur photographer, churning out pretty much the same pics as the next guy.
randomrubble 13 3.0k 12 United Kingdom
6 Apr 2007 4:51PM

Quote:Camera clubs can be great, however many are run by the old guard who think digital is the devils work and that having a leica makes them special.

Where do you people get these ideas from?

I've never met a Leica user at a club yet, at least not one that has mentioned the fact. Much like here there's a lot of Canon DSLRs and the ocassional Nikon user. Most clubs have a large majority of digital users, I was a late adopter when I went Digital a couple of years ago.
rossd 15 1.1k England
6 Apr 2007 4:54PM
Rant mode functionally operative (OK - I'm an aircraft engineer!!)
I agree with you - that particular thread degenerated into farce. I put forward my opinions and tried to defend the RPS distinctions (I'm an LRPS but no hate mail please - I've had enough already) but I got my a**e kicked good and proper so retired to the corner of the room to lick my wounds!! (friendly bunch EPZers!!)However, the debate about camera clubs has been around for as long as I can remember. In the end it's all about listening to and accepting, or disageeing with, the opinions of others who share your interest (in this case photography). Whether thats in a camera club or via the web is immaterial. I've been a member of two camera clubs (one in Bournemouth and one in St.Annes (Lancs))- both were friendly and my first visit was hosted by a nominated club member who introduced me to various other members. Unfortunately, my job takes me away fairly frequently so I was never a regular attendee so had to give up. If I had the time I would continue with the membership at St.Annes as I learnt a lot (especially about digital and that was 3 years ago!!) - they also put on a stunning exhibition (around July time I think).

Despite what some members think, there is a big photographic world beyond EPZ and I include camera clubs and the RPS as part of that world. And yes, I firmly believe that discussing the merits (or otherwise) of a 16x12 print on a face to face basis is highly beneficial to all parties,unfortunately most EPZers will never experience it.

Rant mode de-activated - switched from transmit to receive (oh boy am I having fun!!)
sidaorb 12 3.9k 2 England
6 Apr 2007 5:00PM
I have tried a couple of local camera clubs over the last few years....
The 1st one was definately of the 'film and self printing' mentality and the mention of digital was met with sharp intakes of breath. I jest not!!!

The second however was far better and although the 1st night welcome was very pleasant after a few months it became apparent that there still existed the 'old boys club', with so much emphasis on inter-club competition and on RPS etc awards. Ok if that is your thing, but it wasn't mine.

One of the reasons I like this place so much.


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