Story and Photography by Darwin Wiggett
Camera clubs are excellent places for photographers to learn and share photography. In my own development as a photographer I owe much of my early inspiration, learning and excitement about photography to time spent in Images Alberta Camera Club in Edmonton. The friendships developed and the lessons learned have stayed with me through life. I have an abiding fondness for camera clubs, but there can be a dark side to belonging to a camera club….
As with any group effort, sometimes a little herd mentality may surface. And this way of thinking can stifle innovative or fresh ways of photographing — especially when it comes to image competitions. Over time, critiques of submitted images become increasingly formulaic; images that follow the “accepted” rules of competition will score higher than those images that don’t abide by these, dare I say it, sacred rules. Putting aside whether competitions are even healthy outlets for creativity, it seems that the rules of photography espoused by most camera clubs reward conformity. In my experience, not much creativity happens when the first priority is conformity.
Let’s take a look at four “rules” commonly trotted out during image critique sessions by camera club members, namely; Subject, filling the frame, make it sharp and good light.
To read more of Darwin’s “Camera Club Rules: Do They Stifle Creativity?” please pick up the Summer/Fall 2015 issue of OPC, or subscribe and never miss an issue.