I’ve had some well documented struggles being a member of a Camera Club over the past 9 years. They include a dominating male perspective, bullying and sometimes feeling like my creative voice was at best tolerated and at worst dismissed.
However, my PAGB membership has also provided me with wonderful friends, people who share my passion, tons of encouragement which in the early days was sorely needed and talented photographers who have generously shared their skills and experience and been my biggest learning tool.
One of the best things about being a Camera Club member is that I am encouraged to take photographs I wouldn’t ordinarily consider. Some of the competitions throughout the year have set subjects and I’ve taken pictures of ‘rust’, ‘funny faces’ and made a drink advert that, if left to my own devices, would not have crossed my mind. If it hadn’t been for a competition with a set subject of ‘a composite image’ I would never have become a creative fine art photographer.
The person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.Albert Einstein
Trying new things is difficult. I make loads of mistakes and 9/10 of my images end up in the delete bin because they are, quite frankly, terrible! But I chose not to see these pictures as a waste of time. Every single image which doesn’t make the cut teaches me something. It might teach me what I can’t do, or what doesn’t work, or it might be that I have to go on YouTube to learn a new Photoshop skill. All of these challenges are learning experiences, have made me the photographer I am today and paved the way for the photographer I will become tomorrow.
This season, my Camera Club has a competition with a set theme of ‘Gold’. I wracked my brains to think of what I could photograph and suddenly this image popped into my head. I’ve no idea where it came from – probably inspired by a similar image I may have seen on Google at some stage in the past I would imagine. A friend of mine on Facebook said it looks like I have toilet paper wrapped round my head, my reply to which was if they have gold loo roll in their house they must be really quite posh 😆.
I’m not the world’s best portrait photographer, on account of the fact that I don’t have access to models. I am still extremely clinically vulnerable to Covid so don’t want to be in enclosed spaces with people who are mixing with others, use my spare bedroom as a ‘studio’ and am never going to invite strangers back to my home, and live in a tiny rural hamlet with a distinct lack of volunteers to sit for me! So out of necessity I tend to photograph myself, which brings with it a wealth of challenges not least of which is how to pose, get myself in the frame, set off a remote shutter release and hold a reflector all while having my eyes shut. Then I have to stand up, check the image on my camera, adjust the lighting or camera settings, sit back down and start the whole process again! I really enjoy portrait photography and it would definitely be something I did more of if I had the space and more importantly the subjects.
I learned 2 new skills when editing this picture – how to easily get rid of under eye shadows and how to blur skin to hide imperfections while still retaining texture. I know I’ll use both skills a lot in the future so, for me, this image has been invaluable regardless of how well, or not, it does in the competition.
I’m now off to tidy the spare bedroom and to get set up for taking a picture of some Freesias I bought yesterday in the supermarket. I tried to photograph them last month and it was a disaster, so I’m trying a new tack in the hopes that I will get a better shot. What new thing will you photograph today?