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Club activities are not necessarily easy to plan - particularly as the years go by. Clearly the annual programme must incorporate a variety of activities hopefully catering for the interests and skill levels of all members. Every group of photographers is likely to include raw beginners and people with years of experience, but everyone has more to learn.

Clubs typically concentrate upon a competitive programme, with monthly competitions of various types a constant feature of their activities. There is nothing wrong with this approach provided it does not come to exclude other developmental activities such as "how to" sessions given by people who have acknowledged expertise in a particular field, the pursuit of qualifications and distinctions etc.

Photographers usually enjoy sharing their images with other people, so evening spent giving slide or projected image shows or print discussions may prove popular and constructive. Feedback provided by other photographers is a useful source of information for those who are developing their skills - an who isn't! However, external input should be part of the broader feedback process to avoid a club becoming too introverted. It is all too easy to promote a "camera club" or "rule of thirds" culture where the bigger fish in the pond dismiss work that "breaks the rules", so perpetuating the cycle and generating more photographers blinkered by the same views. Few club programmes incorporate an evening featuring images that "break the rules". Maybe they should, because there is no problem breaking basic guidelines once they and their underlying fundamental truths are well understood.

It is important that a club's activities extend as widely as possible and include events that take members outside meeting rooms and in to the real world. One of the benefits of members seeking qualifications and distinctions from established institutions and photographic organizations is that the assessment of work is truly independent of the club environment.


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