Diverse group enjoys arts council photo club

Published 10:11 am Thursday, April 14, 2022

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The Davie County Arts Council’s Photo Club survived the COVID-19 shutdown by switching from the traditional in-person meetings to virtual meetings using Zoom.

As the pandemic eased last summer, the group moved to hybrid meetings, and in March, returned to the Brock.

The idea of having a photo club in Davie County began as a conversation between Mark Weir and Sidniee Suggs at the Davie County Arts Council’s annual Photo & Dimension Exhibit in 2017. The DCAC board of directors quickly approved the establishment of the ArtWorks’ Photo Club.  The first club meeting was held at the Brock building on Main Street in April 2017 with eight initial members. The membership has since grown to 14.

“Davie County Arts Council is fortunate in having Mark Weir as club leader,” said Suggs. “He spends untold hours preparing for meetings and field trips.  He then emails detailed minutes of what members explored and technical information which was discussed.”

“I am inspired when I see the photo images by our club members,” Weir said. “It makes me want to go out to take more photos.  I enjoy passing on tips that I have learned from other photographers. Photography is a never-ending learning experience.”

Dwaine Phifer of Cleveland, NC said: “For me, as an artist, most importantly is the group’s discussion of the intentional visual story inherent in any truly one-of-a-kind artistic photo. This exploration of artistic purpose is my primary reason for investing time and creative effort in support of the DCAC Photo Club.

“The DC Photo club members come from a wide array of experience in terms of photo mechanics, photo equipment, and how to artistically express what they see through the camera’s eyepiece.

“The club members’ viewing of about five photos per member at each meeting, based on each month’s theme or concept, offers members feedback about their degree of success in executing an artistic vision of the themed assignment.

“The artistic history of photography, both black -white and color, is honored and explored through group discussion. Mark can use his computer editing program to immediately offer visual feedback about the group’s suggestion for manipulating a photo to enhance artistic story-telling and/or composition.  This creative discussion is truly the heart of the DCA Photo Club.”

Bill Ferree of Randleman wrote: “Club offers photography for most all subjects (whatever you like, someone in the group does it). Our club offers something for camera snapshots to professional work. New ideas are encouraged by the group at each meeting. Also, our yearly dues cannot be beat along with a super meeting facility.

Rhonda Proctor of Advance said: “I have recently joined this club and am so happy that I did. When I moved to this area several years ago, I began seeking engagement with people that had a passion for photography as well as a mutual desire to share their knowledge, interests, and skills. A bonus is that we all live in or near Davie County so I am making new friends. Each time we gather, I learn more about this area, the meaningful history that has been shared by local residents, and locations I should explore.

“During the monthly meetings, I find it extremely beneficial that we share our art, tell the story behind our vision, have an open discussion on techniques, opportunities, equipment setup, applications used in post-processing, and are comfortable enough to ask for or give productive feedback. Through past experiences in other photographic organizations, I have found that some are more competitive in structure and aren’t as focused on generating ideas or working on skillsets. This photography club has so much to offer, especially since everyone participating has a variety of skills, experiences, and interests. I am fortunate to have discovered something so unique right here in Davie County.”

Johanna Rutter of Cooleemee said:  “I enjoy the photo club especially having it on zoom since I can’t get out at night a lot. I enjoy seeing other club members photos and their talent reflected in each image.  Seeing their images helps me to see what I can try to do to improve my photography.”

The club meets in the Arts Council’s classroom on the second Monday of each month at 6p.m. Meetings include open discussion and constructive critique of member’s images along with Q&A on technical topics.

Club members create their photo images using equipment as simple as a smart phone to a range of DSLR cameras; and even specialized telescopic cameras to gaze into the wonders of the celestial universe. The collective experience of the club members is able to address most questions that surface during our club meetings.

Other club activities include: photo walks at interesting locations and at a variety of DCAC events.  Past photo walks and club trips included the Antique Tractor & Engine Show in Mocksville, the Lexington Air Show, the NC Transportation Museum, Randolph Community College, Reynolda House, Bailey Park and Salem Lake, Hanging Rock State Park, downtown Salisbury, the Tanglewood Arboretum, the Carolina Raptor Center, Wilson Creek and the Miles for Meals 5k run at Tanglewood Park.

Call the arts council at 336-751-3112.