Northumberland Camera Club: Snap to it and join our group

A stunning picture of the Farnes and a passing skein of geese, by Ivor Rackham.
A stunning picture of the Farnes and a passing skein of geese, by Ivor Rackham.

This week, the Gazette is launching the Northumberland Camera Club.

Photography is a very popular hobby, particularly in Northumberland, if the interest in views on our Facebook page and Twitter account is anything to go by.

Ivor Rackham, photographer

Ivor Rackham, photographer

Every day, we are sent dozens of photographs and they receive hundreds of likes, comments and shares on social media and are an important part of the newspaper. They are also an ideal tool to showcase the beauty of Northumberland.

Hence, the Northumberland Camera Club, which will support keen and budding photographers in pursuit of excellence in their art. It will be run by Ivor Rackham, a portrait, wedding, event and landscape photographer operating from Northumberland. He has previously worked around the UK, Europe and Africa. Passionate about photography and sharing his knowledge and skills, he trains photographers, running courses and workshops. He also restores old pictures. Visit www.ivorphotography.co.uk, call 01665 798435 and find him on social media. Over to you, Ivor!

The Northumberland Camera Club aims to support anyone who wants to take better photos.

It doesn’t matter whether you use a camera phone or the latest DSLR, whether you are Northumberland’s answer to Henri Cartier-Bresson or have just taken your first picture, there will be something here for you.

Membership is free. I love living in Northumberland because it is full of kind and generous people and so the only subscriptions to pay are kindness and generosity. Your club operates in a spirit of friendly mutual support. Be kind about other people’s photos and generous with both your praise and help.

Many people spend hundreds of pounds on a camera. They unbox these technological marvels, look at all the buttons and dials and despair. Quietly slipping the camera into a drawer, they wait for the chance to learn what to do with it. Now is that chance.

Others venture out with their camera set to auto. They come home with nice photos and, maybe more by accident than design, get a shot that’s good enough to print and hang on the wall. There are even more who, on seeing our beautiful Northumberland landscapes, pull out their phone, hold it at arms-length and hope for the best.

Just as there is huge variety between painters’ styles, photographers’ images vary enormously too.

Variety is fantastic! Some pictures you see here will be to your taste, others not. Some may follow accepted compositional norms while others break them. Some photos may be landscapes flooded with light and colour while others may be cute and sentimental images of kittens. There may be hard-hitting, dark and moody photos that are really thought-provoking. Your club is here to help you take photos that you like. That’s all that matters. If someone else likes them too, well, that’s a bonus.

In your club, we only give constructive criticism if it is asked for. If you want a critique of how great your image is and how you could improve it, then do ask. If someone else has asked, please offer your help. Critiquing is a skill in itself. Always remember to emphasise the good stuff first and last and remember your view is subjective; others may disagree.

There will be personal challenges to complete that are published in the paper. You are encouraged to share your results here, but there are no winners or losers. There may be competitions with prizes once in a while. There will be fun games to play on social media too.

Feel free to ask advice. Others will seek help too and when they do ask then, please do give friendly support. I’m really looking forward to seeing your pictures online and some in print.

I hope you will join in with the challenges, games and discussions on social media.

You can join our Facebook group by typing this link into your browser: http://bit.ly/PicNland and post your pictures in the group. You can also post images on your own Facebook wall or Twitter page, making it public and adding the hashtag #Pic Northumberland so anyone can find it. On Twitter, do also mention the Northumberland Gazette, @alnwickgazette, and use the same #PicNorthumberland hashtag. You can also email your pictures to northumberland.gazette@jpress.co.uk, using the subject Northumberland Camera Club.