Monday Morning Musings: The Importance of a Photographic Community

Many of you who read this blog or who know me also know that my husband is active duty military, which essentially means that we're never in one place for more than 4 years, most times less. Because of the constant life and location changes we (I) have to deal with, the communities that we live in, however temporarily, play a huge part in the life I lead.

One thing I have always refused to do is live in a military induced bubble which might cause me to close myself off from a community because of a defeatist attitude of "we're going to leave anyway, so why bother". That is so not me. In fact, I make it a point to get more involved with the local community than I do with the military community because otherwise I feel like I am losing out on some very unique opportunities and challenges.

In SC it was the Univ of South Carolina community, in NC it was the wives club, the church and most especially the local photography club that fostered and nurtured me, leading me to become the photographer I am today (I ended up as Vice President of that club). Here in Dayton it's meant being an active member and board member of the Tripod Camera Club, the Town & Country Fine Art Center, the Cannery Art & Design Center and getting involved in many other community and art opportunities.

But this blog isn't to pat myself on the back for my uber involvement. The point is rather to say - never limit yourself to your comfort zone or to your parameters. Go the extra mile, volunteer more, become a part of a community group, live matter how long you stay in one place. Military or not, we all have a tendency to get so self-involved that we forget to connect to others - to physically connect. Not just email blog twitter facebook etc, but to actually go somewhere with someone to do something that we might otherwise not do on our own.

This concept is doubly important for the photographer who, let's face it, must get out and take pictures in order to grow. And it's a lot easier to be motivated to go out and shoot when you have someone to do it with.

In the end, it's been the community connections that have been the most valueable ones for me as a photographer. And I am always reaching out to new communities via conferences I attend, workshops I participate in, places I travel to. You just never know when a connection you make might land you in a place that could help make a dream a reality, or just allow you to spend some quality time with like-minded people who give you permission to just be yourself. And really - that's exactly who I need to be. No matter where I live.

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The Tripod club's most recent rainy June outing at Cox Arboretum (photos below) may not have yielded the most stellar results photographically but it was worth it for the camaraderie - the getting out and doing something rather than staying home in front of the computer. And the best things can happen when there's no pressure to capture an image. It's photography just for the sake of photography. How cool is that? As you can see below, I allowed myself to play with settings on my camera like ultra vivid and sepia. Yes, when the stress is turned down, I can turn the creativity up with no guilt. What fun!


L. Diane Wolfe said…
What - no Barn & the Butt shot?

And I can't imagine you not being involved either, Jackie!

Online involvement is important too, and I value the friendship I've made through Deviant Art and Blogger.

L. Diane Wolfe

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