Malden Camera Club – Chairman’s Speech AGM 2012
What did we do last year? Well, of course, I don’t know the half of it as I was travelling a lot; but what I saw and experienced was brilliant.
I think that the programme we had was almost 100% great – the almost is there because I don’t want to go over the top … but I can’t think of any talk that we had that was boring or irrelevant. I particularly recall the talk on night time or low light photography by Tony Worobiec in May, and (I was told) that the evening on infra-red photography was a wow as well. And the competitions demonstrated a huge amount of talent in our members. And that was without the normal volume of entries by the superstars in the club (sorry about the word superstars – it can sound a bit derogatory and I really don’t mean that. The best photographers in the club are top class … more on that later). The judges were pretty good – we all have our gripes at the way they seem to miss out on accuracy (usually when judging our own pictures, mind you) but we seemed to have caught some good specimens from that endangered species – the good judge. I really valued and benefited from their constructive criticism. I don’t know about you but the quality of my photography is growing each year (well, I think so anyway) … I find that I have fewer throwers and more keepers when I upload my images to the computer. And a lot of this is down to (almost subliminally) taking into account the judge’s comments on my and other people’s pictures. Anyway – it was a good year … and an encouraging one in many ways. New people joined the club and have all added real value to us. Thank you for coming!
And this year is going to be good too … our programme has taken a little while to be finalised – but it’s there / coming. And one thing that will be different from before is that we will have more hands on workshops and ‘how to’ sessions. Probably not all the suggestions we heard last week will come to fruition: but I hope that a number of them will and that we will all learn from them. Some of us here are expert photographers but many of us, most of us, are not and both want to and need to learn more about how to take and present great pictures. I hope that those who feel they don’t need to learn will come and share their expertise with the rest of us. And maybe you’ll find out new things as well.
One of the privileges of being chairman is that I can give you my opinions and get away with it … for a few moments anyway.
I want to talk about the benefits of being part of Malden Camera Club and what that could mean. I joined the club just under 5 years ago after going on a photographic holiday in the Lake District … totally unreal weather – sunshine and warmth for the last week in April 2007 has gone down in Cumbria’s record books as a unique time. I learned a lot, but one thing struck me: most of the rest of the group were members of a photography club of some sort. And all said that this made a huge difference in their quality of photography. So I came to the annual exhibition that year and – I think it was Nadia – told me a bit about the club and the programme of events. So I joined and found a collection of really interesting people and a continuing challenge to my photography. I was slightly intimidated by the pictures I saw in the competitions … and quite rightly didn’t get the high scores my ego wanted. But I enjoyed the company, and I learned from listening to talks and to judge’s comments; and gradually I have moved from remedial into standard! It’s worth making the effort to come even if the topic doesn’t seem that interesting to you. And one of the things I have enjoyed over the last few months is the chance to chat with some of you during workshops or – like last week – while we were waiting for the laptop to get better. We’re a nice bunch of people and we have a load of different skills and levels of understanding of photography. I know that we do talk a lot … ringing my bell often seems to mean a redoubling of the chatter! … Let’s carry on and enjoy ourselves. I think that that is an often underrated characteristic of a club or small group. I know that most of us have busy lives and are often juggling things to get here at all. But coming to our meetings is not a chore or a pain … sometimes other things take priority for our time … but actually, in my personal view coming here on Thursday evenings is fun. Thank you for making it that way for me.
Now for the challenges: I spoke last week about the need for people to stand up and be willing to stand on the club committee … that need is still here. So don’t be shy about coming forward. And this evening, I want to ask you to help – as a lot of you already do – with some of the chores we have to do. Preparing the tea and coffee at half time is an extremely important job … we all need refuelling (Enrico, Brian, how many planes fly without fuel?). But John isn’t getting a lot of volunteers for this … please will you help him out. Then we have the setting up for each evening. I am not sure we need a lot more help here, but we certainly need a few people who can be relied upon to get here early enough to open up and get the equipment all set up. Roland and others have been absolutely brilliant at this … but we shouldn't depend on the same people each week. If you can help in this – please talk to Roland about it.
I know that some of you have responded to my plea last week – thank you very much. Truly appreciated.
And now a nice bit. Firstly, one of our members became a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society in late 2010 and was given his certificate last year. That is absolutely not an easy thing to get and demands the highest skill in both picture taking and in presentation. Duncan walked it I suspect. We all know his photos and I have yet to see one with the tiniest amount of blur in the subject and any where the impact is not dramatic. Duncan … I’d like us to congratulate you (again) and to hand over this book as a token of our respect.
And finally, there is one person who has always been here helping, planning, checking, arranging and leading some meetings. I truly don’t think that we could have coped without him. Roland … I’d like us to thank you and to hand you this book as a token of our gratitude.
Thank you all, of you, for being such great people and great photographers. Keep challenging yourselves to be better in both!