CAMERA CLUB: Saying farewell with last column
I am proud of the Northumberland Camera Club. Launched just over four years ago, it has steadily grown. During all that time, its members have remained true to the idea that it is “fantastic, friendly and helpful”.
When I first started the Club’s Facebook group and writing these articles, I thought divisions in society were appallingly bad and at an all-time low point. Back then, I didn’t think things could get much worse than they were: rates of homelessness were soaring; foodbank parcels were needed in their hundreds of thousands and even nurses were having to rely on them; the country’s mental health was suffering, and life expectancy in the UK was falling. We were seeing families and friends turning against each other because of Brexit and every week it seemed another high street shop would fail. Back then, I looked at a lot of other online photography forums and many revolved around spitefulness and point scoring.
We needed a blast of fresh air.
The ethos of The Northumberland Camera Club would be different. It would be open and give encouragement to everyone at every level of photographic experience.
Four years later, things haven’t changed in society. On top of it all, so many people have suffered loss and hardship, especially here in the UK, because of the appalling Covid-19 crisis. But our Camera Club is still a fantastic, friendly and helpful community
I know from your messages that our club has been essential for a lot of folk, especially over the last year. It is a haven to stay connected with others through photography. I know too many of you have enjoyed my fortnightly ramblings and seeing your photos featured every other week. Thank you for letting me know.
Photography is a huge, far more popular than football, fishing, or gardening. It surprises me that national newspapers give up pages to sports, bridge and chess, but no column space at all to attract readers with an interest in creating images. I am grateful, therefore, to the three JPI Media publications that have found space for this column that I’ve enjoyed writing.
Like many self-employed people, I received little in the way of financial support during the Covid-19 crisis. I had to put the photography training I deliver on hold, diversify my business and look for other work too. Consequently, I won a contract and am now writing for the major international photography website Fstoppers.com.
I also want more time into writing my own blog and start a vlog too. Unfortunately, this means that I must give up my voluntary work writing this column. So, this, my one-hundred-and-eighth long article (plus a similar number of short pieces featuring your images) will be my last for this newspaper.
Thanks to everyone who has read my articles, participated in the Facebook group and taken time to write to me. The Facebook group will go on as will my photography workshops, and I hope I will see you there. I am immensely grateful to Dave Henderson and Walter Hall for their ongoing sterling work doing the admin for the group. Without them, it would have all fallen apart a long time ago. Thank-you too to Paul Larkin and Richard Ord at JPI Media, and Anna Smith who previously edited the article. Local papers are enormously important to democracy, so please keep buying your copy.
So long and thanks for all the pics.