A Positive View of Photography Clubs by David Trout

 David Trout’s reply to anti camera club comments on the Pentax User Website:

It’s depressing to read some of these comments on camera clubs. Thank God mine isn’t like that. At Durham PS there’s a buzz as you walk through the door. Half an hour before the meeting starts the room is already nearly full of people. An average Thursday night meeting attracts around 70 members.

Yes we have lots of competitions but many these are for beginners to encourage our newer members. We also get lots of great visiting speakers. Last night we had Ann and Steve Toon, professional wildlife photographers and journalists who showed amazing pictures taken in Africa.

Because we are the biggest camera club in the Northern Counties Photographic Federation with a membership of more than 100 we can afford to pay for better class speakers and often team up with the Royal Photographic Society to share the fees for big names touring the North.

Our activities are not restricted to Thursday night meetings. We have monthly digital imaging workshops and a monthly assignment outing to a location with photo opportunities. Tomorrow we are off to Middlehaven, the modernised area of the old Middlesborough docklands.

We have coffee together, meet up for lunch and everyone chats; this helps new members and old hands get to know each other. We have an annual print exhibition in Durham Cathedral, another in Durham University’s Botanic Gardens and regular mini exhibitions in local libraries and Durham Town Hall.

The photography from all our members is terrific. Our beginners constantly amaze us with their fantastic images. We regularly get images accepted in international exhibitions and for the second successive year Durham PS has qualified to represent the NCPF at the annual projected images competition run by the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain at Warwick University.

In the recent PAGB club championship Durham PS was placed 12th among all the competing camera clubs in the country.

As for other camera clubs in the North East, I can say from personal experience that Hexham PS and Whitley Bay PS also have a great atmosphere when you walk in to one of their club night meetings.

So not all camera clubs are dead on their feet and run by old fogies stuck in their ways.

One final thing, there’s no equipment snobbery in our camera club. We are more interested in the images people produce than in the camera equipment they use.

David Trout, March 2013

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