ESRA's First Camera Club Exhibition
Since the invention of the camera, there have always been keen amateur photographers, and where there are keen amateur photographers, there are amateur photography exhibitions. When your children are very young, you smile sweetly as you attach their early attempts at art to the fridge with a brightly colored magnet. Then, later, you may attend a parent-teacher evening and compliment other parents on the brilliance of their children as you wander through corridors lined with pupils' artworks, searching for your designated meeting room.
When invited to an amateur art or photography exhibition by an adult, however, we generally expect a little more in the way of hospitality. Over the years, a polite system has developed whereby we smile sweetly as we RSVP to the inevitable annual invitation, pay our modest entrance fee and accept a glass of white wine and maybe a canapé or two at the entrance to a local community center or modest gallery.
It's an evening out, a chance to catch up with old friends and acquaintances and almost certainly to enter some charitable draw to win one of the pictures on display, which we will take home and hang in the bathroom. Occasionally, we may see something surprisingly beautiful that we feel we can live with and we'll buy that photo/painting, happy to have supported a friend.
The coronavirus pandemic has changed all that. Enter the new phenomenon of the Online Exhibition and the online tour by a curator or artist.
I recall a flurry of emails and WhatsApp links to many of the world's finest galleries and museums, shortly after we entered out first lockdown. We had all become armchair tourists, whether we liked it or not, and for many of us this was a chance to visit, albeit virtually, many places we'd intended to visit for years. It's really quite wonderful being able to wander virtually through the British Museum or to attend cocktails with the curator at the Frick, for free. It's not the same as visiting an exhibition in person, of course, but on the plus side, you can select your tipple (nothing beats a good cup of tea) and you can even wear your pajamas. Oh, and there are no specific opening hours to check or traffic jams to negotiate on the way there.
Seizing an opportunity in a crisis, Gerry Fraser of the ESRA Camera Club (ECC) has jumped on this online exhibition bandwagon. After all, what's the point in his members taking beautiful photos if nobody's going to see them?
The ECC's exhibition, "Finding the Light", has been three years in the making and is available for you to visit virtually now and until the end of 2021. A small fee gives you access to the website hosting the online exhibition, in which you can move around a virtual gallery at your leisure looking at the photos, to the continuous soundtrack of a piano piece entitled, appropriately, "Finding the Light from Within", by American composer/pianist, Shoshana Michel. You can purchase copies of the photos and read what the artists themselves have to say about each piece, plus you'll receive an invitation to a bonus recording of a special event in which six esteemed members of the ECC each deliver a short talk about a selection of the exhibits.
You'll learn about moody light, playing with light, the shifting light of sunset, and so on, in relation to the art of photography. In fact, after watching the Zoom recording, I was immediately inspired to take my phone and an old glass bottle outside into the mid-afternoon sunshine, to experiment with photography, light and composition in my back yard.
Should you, like me, be inspired to learn more about the art of photography, and wish to join the ESRA Camera Club - and there's a new group in the north now, following the success of the exhibition - you can contact Brian Dodds on 053 708 8746 or find details on the ESRA website:
All proceeds from the ESRA Camera Club exhibition go towards the funding of ESRA's educational projects.