Photography News Issue 71

Club profile Photography News: How long has your club been going? Aperture Photography Group: The group launched in October 2016. We started the group to get away from the competitive aspects of camera clubs and focus instead on helping members to improve their photography. PN: Some clubs are doing better than others formembership. How’s your club faring? APG: Our group has grown steadily since it was launched, so we now have over 40 members. A lot of that growth is attributable to our non-competitive ethos and our website, which was designed to be clear, informative and engaging. We thought our membership target should be around 40, so we could retain the friendly atmosphere and not outgrow our venue. PN: Can you briefly outline what the club offers in terms of facilities? APG: We offer a range of activities, including meetings, outings, training workshops and photographic holidays. Our meetings are held fortnightly, in a 17th-century pub. We include talks by professional photographers, critique sessions, skills transfers and photography assignments. We are fortunate in that we have a number of excellent speakers in the group who can front our meetings and give talks. PN: Can you give our readers an idea of your club’smembership in terms of age, experience and so on? APG: Like a lot of clubs, most of our members are over 50, The well balanced

PN: So, no competitions then. Could you explain the thinking behind that? APG: That’s right, no competitions. The founding members all belonged to other camera clubs and had become disillusioned with the idea of members competing with each other. We decided we should only compete with ourselves and, rather than keep our knowledge to ourselves, we should aim to help each other improve our photography skills. The front page of our website uses the words, ‘learn, improve, share’. We do this through teaching, discussion, observation and practice. Within the group, we encourage members to demonstrate and display through participation and interaction. PN: What excites and enthuses yourmembership ? APG: Our members are a very enthusiastic bunch, but they get the most excited by seeing other members’ photography improving. We encourage them to show their work, we will give honest feedback, but it is great when you see that someone has produced a higher quality of work andmade their own significant progress.

age and gender profile of our members encourages positive views and values to be represented. We range from the very experienced to the person ready to purchase their first camera. We are based in a small village between Daventry and Northampton, but some of our members travel some distance to come to our meetings. PN: Can you give us an idea of skill level within the club, please? APG: When we started the group, we had a lot of newcomers to photography and our focus was on helping them to learn how to use their cameras and get to grips with post-processing. As time has moved on, the skill level has increased as new, more experienced photographers who wanted tomove away from competitions have joined the group. PN: What do you have on your programme thatmembers love andwantmore of? These talks can be fromprofessional photographers, or fromone of the group’s members. We try to ensure we get speakers who will show us a broad range of photography, fromportrait to landscape, and from street to travel. We also have a regular feature at our meetings, which we call ‘Portfolio Review’. We ask a member to bring in ten images, which we then ask the other members to critique. We have found this helps us to learn how to talk about images and understand why some images resonate with the members while others do not. APG: Our members love to get inspiration fromour speakers.

ABOVE A shot of the Chesterton windmill at sunset by Steve Townsend, a member of Aperture Photography Group

Aperture Photography Group We meet a newly formed club

club Camera of themonth

that’s doing very well by eschewing competitions and instead focusing on learning, inspiring and enjoying photography together

30 Photography News | Issue 71

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