Photography can be a social activity. Doing some photography as part of a group can have many benefits.
Eight days ago I met up with a group of fellow photographers who also participate on the Australian Photography Forum. This was the first time I had done such a thing in a long time with a group, though I had met individual photographers over the years that I had met online. I was curious to see how it would go because I have been considering organizing a get together of people working with alternative digital print processes.
We met at Southbank, hung out for a while at a MacDonald’s and then walked around parts of Melbourne, shooting and talking as we went. They were a great bunch of people, ranging in age probably from their early 20’s up to the 50’s, with the majority being young. Most were Canon users, with a fair number of Nikonians and a lone Sigma dSLR user. I also had a Panasonic G1 I was testing.
A get together like this can be useful in many ways, depending on the individual. For many it was a learning experience with the more experienced members passing on advice. There was the opportunity to compare equipment and share gear. Even watching the way other photographers shoot can be a learning experience. Whilst Melbourne is pretty safe, at least during the day and away from certain nightclubs, I can imagine that night group photography would be a great way for anyone nervous about being seen with a lot of expensive gear to get out and shoot.
Like camera clubs, such experiences can vary greatly depending on who you are with and your own level of experience. My observation is that less experienced photographers probably gain more in direct benefit to their photography, whilst more experienced photographers gain from the social aspects, perhaps making new, lasting friendships.
I’ve illustrated this article with images I took on the day. I was mainly shooting with my infrared converted 350D, so I have included mainly those.
Like all other aspects of photography, doing a group get together is something you should definitely try. You never know what you will get out of it. For online groups it can add a face and voice to people you may have chatted with only for years. I was able to do this several years ago when a trip to HP in Barcelona brought together a great many people I had been talking with on groups for many years. It was truly wonderful.