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Camera Clubs - Your thoughts?

Discussion in 'Talking Pictures' started by Pete Bony, Oct 9, 2019.

  1. Pete Bony

    Pete Bony Well-Known Member

    We have several camera clubs in our area and I was wondering about joining one to help me improve on my photography in general. However I have heard several people say that camera clubs can be bit "clicky".
    Do any of you have much experience of Camera Clubs and if so what are your thoughts (As a generalisation) please?
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  2. MJB

    MJB Well-Known Member

    Go along and see for yourself. A lot depends on whether you're a club type of person or not.
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  3. Petrochemist

    Petrochemist Well-Known Member

    I've been helping run one for nearly 10 years.
    I've also heard potential issues about cliques, and that many are very much competition based, so that members are unwilling to share tips/techniques. Fortunately the one I picked is all about learning together. If anyone specializes in a field they are expected to give a presentation to the remainder...
    I sadly won't be putting together the kit to try & compete with Dave our underwater expert - I think his excess baggage bills are probably more than my holiday costs!

    I freely admit there have been a few sessions which felt like a waste of time to me, but there have been many others that have really got my creative juices flowing, or enabled the use of shared kit I would never have looked at alone.

    I suggest you arrange to visit the local clubs - most clubs have visitors rates so you won't have to pay for a whole 3 months to find it doesn't suit you. Sadly you're a bit far from our group...

    As martin said it very much depends on if you fit in with the group - FWIW I don't think I'm a club type of person - I rarely attend social club events at work & other than these two I don't think I've been a member of any other clubs in the last 30 years.
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  4. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    After several years of dithering and not being remotely clubby, finally got around to going to BMBCC.

    Excellent, informative, fun and not in the slightest cliquey.

    Try one. If it's not to your taste, try another.

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  5. John King

    John King In the Stop Bath

    Yes they can be cliquey. The one I was in before moving back up up to the North East from Sussex nineteen years ago was the exact opposite. It was acclaimed to be one of the best in the county as well. Since coming back up I think I have been in 3 with different levels of accomplishment or mediocrity which way you look at it. One was in a room in a town hall which had to share its evening upstairs from a dog training class which was directly underneath, with the accompaniment of barking, whining, and noise from the owners. I lasted about 6 months - if that. It was also a bit disorganised

    The next was much better, but actually quite small and very friendly, but they were not what could be described as top of the league to advise people on technique, although they knew which end of the camera to point. It was a good social scene however so I stayed there for about 4 years until a house move meant it was just too far to travel.

    The last was a very big club (about 140 members) with some very good photographers but could be very cliquey. I managed to stumble along for a couple of years and almost became one of the 'in' crowd. The reason I left was the judges for competitions were, shall I say good, but when something different was presented they were a little bit lost for words.
    In my case it was due to most of my work is made in a darkroom and some could not understand the process of wet colour or black and white printing, plus the fact non of my work was over-sharpened or over saturated! There were other problems, not photographically connected, meant I left and have not bothered to join another.

    Some clubs are populated by 'equipment collectors' and if you don't have the latest gismo/camera/lens/whatever, you are not in the running. Don't despair though, out there are some very good clubs that help newcomers along, and will go out of their way to help. Good luck.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019
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  6. Fishboy

    Fishboy Well-Known Member

    Hi Pete

    I know you asked for generalisations, but I'm going to ignore that and give you a bit of information more specific to your area!

    I tried out Rochdale Camera Club (they meet at Syke Chapel on Tuesday evenings) a few years ago and found them quite unfriendly, however I know that they've gained a few new members recently who are excellent photographers as well as being really sound people, so I imagine that they're a lot more welcoming now.

    Rochdale Photographic Society (Unitarian Church near Falinge, just off Sheriff Street on Wednesday evenings) is one I've never attended, but I've met a lot of their members and they seem like a friendly crowd.

    Bacup Camera Club (St Mary's Church Hall, Bacup, Wednesdays except during the Summer) are a decent crowd. I've heard complaints that they can get a bit argumentative with each other, but the bloke who's the chairman is a real character!

    Whitworth Camera Club (Whitworth Band Club, first and third Monday each month) is a small club that runs on a more-or-less 'do it yourself' basis with the members taking turns to organise evenings - although of all the local clubs, this is the only one that meets in a location that serves beer!

    There are clubs in Rawtenstall, Irwell Vale, Middleton and a fledgling group in Castleton as well - I believe the one in Middleton is very good, although they meet over in Rhodes - almost in Heaton Park!

    All of the local clubs run along much the same lines, in that they're happy for you to turn up to a few meetings to get the feel of things before asking for a full membership subscription. Some will charge you a couple of quid if you turn up towards room hire.

    Since the only thing it's going to cost you is a couple of hours of your time and possibly £2, I'd suggest dropping in on one or two of the clubs local to you to weigh the job up. I think all of the clubs show their syllabus on their web sites, so you can turn up for something like an appraisal night to get an idea of what sort of stuff they're doing and avoid wandering in on their AGM or some other boring 'administrative' evening!

    Cheers, Jeff
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  7. velocette

    velocette Well-Known Member

    I been a member of two over the years joining with my wife my local one around 15 years ago after retiring. We stayed for a couple of years but left as it was firmly competition orientated with at least 70% of meetings focusing on them. Although very friendly not competing meant you were somewhat left out of things and so we eventually left. This was obviously our choice as neither my wife or myself are competition minded in any way so the majority of meetings held no interest for us. Obviously the club met the requirements of the majority of it's members and the committee, all keen competition types reflected this.

    Were there another local club that actually concentrated on photography rather than someone else's view of it I would probably join. To me photography, and art in general is about achieving the result you're after and not something bound by someone else's arbitrary rules.
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  8. Pete Bony

    Pete Bony Well-Known Member

    Thanks for that Jeff. Funnily enough it was Rochdale Camera Club at Syke that I had seen on the Internet and was thinking about as it is quite close to me (I'm just down the road in Smallbridge) I may go there as a visitor for a couple of meetings and see what they are like now.
    Your information is very helpful and much appreciated.
  9. Fishboy

    Fishboy Well-Known Member

    Hi Pete

    There used to be a club in Littleborough but I don't think they're going any more. If you end up visiting Rochdale Camera Club, their secretary - a chap called Pete Williams - is a good bloke and one of their members is called Paul Marshall who knows a lot, is always out and about in the countryside doing wildlife and landscape photography and who'll talk your socks off (in a good way).

    Cheers, Jeff
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  10. Done_rundleCams

    Done_rundleCams AP Forum Ambassador to Canada

    IMO, I think they're very good and when I joined one, initially, I said very little but watched and listened
    all the while gleaning very good information which I utilised in my shooting :). Later on, I started to mingle
    a bit more and started to ask questions .... then, a few years later, I was amazed when people started asking
    me questions :eek: ...

    However, as mentioned above, Pete, if the majority seemed standoffish and do very little to welcome
    you, I'd try sus out a different club :)


  11. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    Epsom CC does a huge amount to welcome and integrate newbies, including small sessions at committee members' houses, a buddy system and special instruction days. The evening I did Monday night was designed to get out of "club" genres and interest a wider audience. Some non-members came. I'm just completing a 20 page book for beginners and will lead another photo walk soon as they fix it up. The cliquey thing is down to the personality profile of most photographers, which is a bit shy, self contained and slightly insular until they get to know people. It is what makes them photographers and not political organisation activists (for instance).
  12. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    Good advice. At least half the members of every CC I have seen are not "club type people" they are shared interest people, which is not the same.

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