Arts of the Albemarle Photo Club is celebrating its 10th anniversary and it’s also time for shooters to begin preparing submissions for the annual Photography Competition.
Back in 2004, the seed for what is now the Arts of the Albemarle Photo Club was planted by Vince and Irene Pollack. Both avid photographers, the Pollacks missed the camera club they left when they moved from Reading, Penn., to Elizabeth City.
That simple desire on their part led to the formation of the club, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. The First Friday ArtWalk on May 2 will spotlight the growth of the club and the work of its members. A slide presentation and display is planned for a window at AOA as well as the annual Photography Competition sponsored by The Daily Advance and the AOA Photography Club.
Entires for the competition will be accepted at AOA from April 15 to April 25. The entries will be judged this year by guest juror, photographer and fine arts professor Thomas Siegmund.
The winners will be announced during the reception on May 2.
Of course, the competition would not be possible if it were not for the Pollacks. After numerous queries in the community, the Pollacks found that there was no photo club in Elizabeth City and began looking for a way to start a club. They finally found support and advice when they met Mary Temple, then gallery manager for the Pasquotank Arts Council, the forerunner of AOA.
Temple approached several area photographers who were exhibiting their work in the gallery and organized the first meeting of the club. There were about six people at that first meeting but attendance grew over the months that followed. Today, anyone who is a member of AOA may become a member of the Photography Club and the club currently has about 30 active members.
In time, Doug Lane was elected and served as president for seven years, followed by Dan Trevors and most recently Becky Morgan. The club designed a logo, planned events and participated in day trips having to do with photography. Lane remembers trips to Knott’s Island, Cape Charles, Sylvan Heights Bird Park, Manteo, Columbia, Merchant’s Millpond, the Outer Banks and Norfolk as well as other sites in nearby North Carolina and Virginia.
When the Pasquotank Arts Council became Arts of the Albemarle in 2009, the Photography Club became part of that organization and moved from the old PAC building across the street to the newly opened Center building at 516 East Main Street.
To help members improve their photography skills, the club has held workshops on Photoshop Elements and Lightroom, post production editing programs, as well as light painting, macro and product photography and matting. Club members have also shared basic camera information such as shutter speed, aperture, ISO and white balance. There have also been small workshops on lenses, tripods, and flashes photography with one another.
Over the years, the club has had a number of speakers including photographers from The Virginian Pilot and The Daily Advance.
To help club members improve their photographic skills, monthly competitions are held around assigned themes. Members judge the photos and award points based on composition, impact, lighting, creativity and sharpness. The themes selected for 2014 are centered around different emotions such as beauty, sadness, happiness, curiosity, determination, and excitement. At the end of the year, all of the years’ winners compete for the best photo of the year.
Before each meeting, members are encouraged to submit up to four photographs they have taken for sharing during the meeting. Other club members share suggestions and comments about those pictures during the meeting. Members say this sharing session has improved their skills and has been very beneficial to them.
In addition, the club has an ongoing project referred to as the Inkblot project which began five years ago. Taking its name from the Rorschach test of the same name, members look at a sample photo and submit a photo their every two months that reflects what they see or think about when they look at the original photo. The photos may relate by lines, color or any other criteria chosen by the photographer. Members then vote on a winner from the photos submitted and that photograph becomes the inspiration for the next contest.
Club members currently exhibit their work in the AOA Gallery and at the YMCA. In the past, there have also been exhibits at the Newbold White House in Hertford and various local businesses.
The club meets at the Center on the first and third Thursdays at 7 p.m. Competitions are held on the third Thursday of the month.
Entries for this year’s Photography Competition should be dropped off at AOA, the Center, 516 E. Main St., Elizabeth City, from April 15 to 25. Information about the competition can be found at www.aoaphotoclub.com/2014Competition.html.
For further information about the club and its activities, contact the club at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jane Elfring is a correspondent for The Daily Advance.