The president and vice president of the Photography Club describe the process of creating, running and leading their organization.
“Community” is the best word to describe the Photography Club, according to its president, junior Connor Maguire. He went on to say that “we strive for creating a community of photographers at CNU.” Maguire and Vice President Nicole Ramkey, also a junior, are the founding members of this two year old club, which they have had the idea to start since their freshman year.
It took some time to get done, but they both powered through the red tape of creating a new club. Ramkey believes that the biggest issue was creating the constitution for the club. They “had to assign the roles, name the roles, list what everyone does exactly and, if anything ever went wrong, how we are going to fix it” according to Maguire. He also added that “It took a couple weeks because there was a photography club in the past… They [Office of Student Activities] didn’t recognize it as a new club.” Once it was officially started, there was around 15 people, and by the end of their first semester, the Photography Club had around 30 members.
There are biweekly competitions which have themes varying from something as simple as a certain color to ones based on different holidays like Christmas and Halloween. They put all the photos on a powerpoint and show them anonymously at the meeting. At the end, each member of the club chooses two of their favorites to vote for, as long as it is not their own work. “One of the biggest goals in these competitions is to have no edits” says Maguire. Minor edits are fine, but major edits that take away the realism of the photo are not.
Along with no knowledge of photo editing needed, no experience in photography or expensive equipment is required to join the club. “We don’t require people to have a camera, there have been people who won with a photo from their cell phone,” explains Maguire.
Usually its an individual competition; however, last year there was one group competition. The idea of it was to take miniature figures that were randomly assigned to each group and to take an interesting life-like photo of it. Maguire said, “We’re definitely going to do that one again,” as it was his favorite competition, and Ramkey said “that was the most creative” he had seen the photographers get in a competition.
“We originally just had the competitions, but then we realized there were also a lot of people there to learn,” says Ramkey. Lessons are taught on the weeks between the competitions. They start with the basics, and then they move onto portraits and composition. Ramkey says “we like to help each other grow and learn,” and Maguire adds that “the more you try the more you’ll succeed” in this club. These lessons almost always tie into to the ongoing competition to help them figure out what needs to be done, as well as help the members of the club get inspired.
The Photography Club also inspired the members by recently going on a photography retreat. They took a trip to the Yorktown Battlefield where they went out from around midnight to 3 a.m. “Everyone bundled up cause it was cold and went out to where you couldn’t see a foot in front of you because it was so dark,” says Ramkey. This type of setting is perfect for astrophotography that Maguire explained as “just taking pictures of the stars or moon or anything that’s in the sky or out of this world.” They all enjoyed this chance to work together on astrophotos, as they ate and drank the snacks they brought with them.
They fundraise for these retreats by selling Maguire’s family’s chocolate chip pie recipe at the farmers market where each slice of pie is sold for a dollar each. The first farmers market that they sold these at was such a success that they were sold out by the end of the day.
In the future, they hope to be able to go to the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina during the winter for a weekend, but in the meantime, the E-Board members have some day trips planned, including one to the NEON (New Energy Of Norfolk) District to take pictures of art and one to the Yorktown Battlefield again to learn more about astrophotography.
Maguire and Ramkey both are welcoming to new members and hope to see their club continue to grow. Currently, they are seeking people to shadow them and learn about their positions on the E-Board of the Photography club. If you are interested, be on the lookout for their meetings, usually Mondays at 8 p.m. in McMurran Hall.
~Hannah Lindenblad, Photography Editor~