The Barefoot Photographer®

a photography blog

Thursday, January 31, 2008

If You Build It, They Will Come

In February 2006, the director of the local art center asked if I would like to teach photography.  March 2006, I began teaching photography classes at the Fayette Art Center.  It was fun to do and it seemed like the people in the classes enjoyed themselves.  I have had students to go on to begin (and grow) their own photography businesses, enter and place in contests, and just enjoy their hobby more.  Taking a class can build a little confidence in what you do.  It gives you the freedom to try things – to succeed with it or even the freedom to fail.  Many times I tell people you learn much more from how you fail with than what succeeds.


Soon after I began the classes, the director of the Fayette Art Center asked me to start a photography club.  As far as I knew, there was not one in the Fayette County area.  So I said that I would do it.  Our little group is growing every month.  We get together twice a month.  On the first Monday we have a critique session.  This is a meeting where members are encoura ged to bring photos with them that they want serious feedback on.  The other meeting is the third Saturday of the month.  This is a themed meeting.  As a group, we decided on themes for the months.  Members bring photos around that theme for sharing and discussion.  Our meetings are informal.  We spend a lot of the time chatting about gear or technique.  If a member is in the market for a new piece of equipment, she knows that the group is a good source of information and advice.


Last year we had a few field shoots.  We visited Line Creek Nature Area a couple times, once in the winter and once in spring/summer.  We traveled to Atlanta (not like it is really far or anything) one Sunday morning to Oakland Cemetery.  We also had two dates for the club to spend a late afternoon in Griffin at Fowler's Auto Parts.  There are a couple shoots in the works for the next couple months.  After that – it will be up to the group to think up anything else to do a nd to brainstorm the themes for another year of Saturday meetings.


If you are reading this and local to Fayette County – I invite you to come to a photo club meeting.  You can contact me through email at my website – my website can be found on this page.  Our February theme is "Abstract/Open."  If you are not local, I encourage you to find a club near you.  If you cannot find one – start your own!  It is not hard to do.  Visit a local art center or gallery to see if they have groups and to see if there is a photo group already using the space.   If there is – join them!  If not – look into meeting there.  Many art centers encourage groups to use the space.  In the future you can also see about a photo exhibit or contest at the center.  If there are not local centers – check with a library for meeting space and requirements.  A local camera shop is another good place to seek out a group or form one.  We have a Starbuck's nearby that has a meeting room available (not very large – but big enough for a small group) – a new and forming group could meet in a place like that.  Every now and then – especially when we have field shoots, and I have a good shot to send in – I send in the shot with a little blurb to the local papers about the club. 


There are clubs out there that are more formal than ours.  Many have officers, dues, etc.  We don't.  I have accepted the task of main contact person – sending emails to remind everyone about meetings and outings.  We have no dues – except since we do meet at the art center – we ask all members to join the art center.  Sometimes I think we are more of a photo chat group than a regimented "club."


So back to the title – "If you build it, they will come."  I love that movie – but anyway – if you start a group – it will grow – especially once the word gets out. 


P.S.  In my mailbox today were three books.  I ordered the "three-book set" from the Lenswork site when I was renewing the other day.  I plan to read through these and post a review as soon as possible.


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