Although I have generally had a love/hate relationship with social media I feel that ultimately it has many more positives than negatives. Without it this group would not exist as most of us would never have met and at this point, I’m sure we are all the richer for it. As much as I enjoy admiring and contemplating the work of other photographers, you can’t beat a bit of face to face discussion. This is one of the main motivations for forming the group and as well as other advantages, not least the shared cost of our previously mentioned exhibition.
That then brings me to my point in that although social media works for many people, it can sometimes leave you wanting once the novelty of a wider audience has been achieved. Perhaps even more so with the proliferation of high quality images now posted and the popularity of landscape and nature photography. I in no way mean this in a negative sense, as I’m generally very much inspired by the work I see, however the snippets of thought that accompany the images can leave me with many unanswered questions. With the group I now have a slightly louder voice and other photographers to share my thoughts, images and highs and lows with (although they may not always agree). As we know photography is very much a cerebral and emotive pastime (mostly) and it is enlightening and encouraging to share ideas, opinions and work. Although we only formed the group about six months ago I feel we are heading in a good direction intellectually and creatively whilst still maintaining our individuality.
I also find it both stimulating and challenging to share time with photographers who work in other areas to me, especially wildlife. This is helping me translate my love of the natural world into photographic aspirations as well as broadening my knowledge and appreciation.
We meet once a month and during the winter months this has very much become a forum for discussions ranging from our own work to that of others outside the group and dare I say it, gear! The lighter evenings bring trips out, followed by a pint and a bit of banter for those of us who dare to offer a a little camera LCD preview of our labours. Both the images below were captured on such evenings last summer, something we all look forward to once more daylight hours are with us and we are once again released from the dark clutches of winter. I have little doubt that as time goes on we will share trips to exhibitions, days out and maybe even share accommodation and the expense on a foray further afield.
There is no doubt that we are all very different people and if it wasn’t for our collective passion for and appreciation of photography it’s likely our paths would not have crossed and friendships would not have been forged. There is no competition, no egos and there is no hierarchy, we share the group as equals eager to learn from each other and share our experiences and personal successes as well as as the odd failure. Photography is indeed a universal language and one that possibly speaks louder than the written word. Although that is a discussion for another day perhaps.
Well written, John, and I entirely agree with what you write. I started a blog a little over five years ago now. I’ve met (on the www), and developed a rapport with, a number of talented photographers across the world (who I would never have heard of otherwise). A new gallery of images arrives on my desktop every day. They are not all of high quality but there is always something that is a source of inspiration. As you rightly say, face-to-face friendships have a far wider dimension then anything possible over the www, but starting a blog was one of the smarter things I have done in recent years. It’s good to hear of this new association that you are a part of and I wish it success and I look forward to seeing the exhibition later this year. Andy
Many thanks for your reply and comments Andy, blogs certainly add another dimension in themselves, especially when they encourage further discussion. It’s fair to say that without the internet the group would never have come about. We are all very much looking forward to the exhibition and meeting other photographers such as yourself, whom we hope will attend. Looking back through my images raises mixed emotions and a few surprises that I hadn’t counted on, some positive and some negative. I may well write about it shortly but it will involve some honesty on my part in how my own vision has become influenced.