Meeting Other Photographers

Need some inspiration or want to learn some new approaches to your photography? Then meet with a few peeps for coffee or a beer!

It has been some time since I actually sat down with people who share a passion for street photography. Emailing and participating online is just not the same as actually sitting at a table and sharing coffee or a beer. Just getting out the cameras (yup, every photographer always brings a camera when the are meeting each other!) is always exciting and fun. Feeling the heft of a different camera gives you a little rush of excitement – a camera swingers’ party…

I find my photography mostly a solitary pursuit – at least whilst shooting – so that I can do things when and how I like… I used to attend Melbourne Silver Mine (analogue photography) meets almost religiously, but like most good things, the group has faded into the black.

Today I met with Peter and Mike. Peter has already featured on MSP

https://melbournestreetphotography.com.au/2016/04/03/featured-street-photographer-peter-waters/

and Mike is next up when I can get up off the couch and write up the post!

What did I learn today from spending a couple of hours with them?

Both are very active in various groups and collectives. I have not really tracked in things like public forums and talks by accomplished artists. They sorta go under my radar – but hearing about them has made me more interested.

Mike has a great little Olympus OM-D and showed me how the lcd screen rotates to 90 degrees so you can use almost like a TLR or waist level finder to get new perspectives. I hadn’t really thought about how cool that would be.

They were both quite animated around photographing around themes – which is something that always seems to produce great results for me, but don’t do often enough. Talking about some of our favourite spots and shots, I realised how much more thought and planning they were putting into their images. Whilst I love going for a wander, there is something to be said for having a clearer mental brief.

It was great hearing about Peter’s use of a GoPro to capture wonderful images of his early morning bay swims, and Mike’s travels to India (which nearly had him meeting his maker earlier than planned!).

It has also been a couple of years since I have had an exhibition – talking about our images also got me excited about holding an exhibition again for the first time in a long time. Maybe something early next year? Or late this year? Who knows, but images shouldn’t just live on your hard drive and computer screen. The best images deserve to be brought to life on paper… And we came up with a few ideas. I am thinking a pop up exhibition in that little alley that runs off Degraves St at next to the exit to the subway. Now, I just need to decide if I feel like I need the OK from the Melbourne City Council!

So, we parted company this morning, maybe not quite yet friends, but with a desire to catch up again and keep talking about the interest we share. So, if you are free, why not join us for breakfast again in May? You can find out more here…

https://www.facebook.com/events/215320575509101/

Here is the original post on meeting with other photographers from last year, as a reminder…

To meet or not to meet? There are plenty of photographers getting together every weekend around Melbourne. Should you join in? Here are some thoughts around photography and camera meetups…

 

15872272798_d7ce5387c3_zWhy Go?

It’s easy to meet new people when you have something in common. There are very few gaps in the conversation when you share a passion. Photography meets often lead to new friendships that are comfortable and develop naturally based on a mutual interest.

If you are new in town, going to a couple of meets can help you make some new contacts outside of work and your family. Or you might feel like spreading your wings a little in your hometown!

15873649649_9c01e54ac3_zTry and select a group that is consistent with your personal interests – landscapes, street, film, instant etc. The more specialised it is, the easier the conversation will come.

Introductions to new photographers can also result in introductions to new techniques, styles, and gear. It was only after attending a Melbourne Silver Mine Meet that I realised how many options were out there for film photography, and purchased my first medium format film camera.

Only recently, I attended an instant / polaroid meet hosted by the FilmNeverDie guys, and ended up ordering a fancy refurbed polaroid camera from The Instant Camera Guy. Spending time with a bunch of instant peeps gave me a greater appreciation of polaroids.

I tend to stick to analogue and street photography groups – I have never been to a traditional camera club meet.

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Where Can I Find Them?

The internet? Most groups have a facebook page. Try there!

 

What To Do When You Get There.

So you turn up and don’t know anyone. Remember some golden rules…

11004351573_6c706ce142_z1. They don’t know you either.

You have to take personal responsibility to introduce yourself and make small talk. A number of the people at the meet are likely to already know each other, so they don’t really need to talk to you. That doesn’t mean they won’t or don’t want to – except almost everyone is a little shy to some degree. It is easier for them to talk to the people they already know.

Start by simply introducing yourself. They once turned up not knowing anyone either. Be confident, and join the conversation somehow. Ask about their camera. Ask about their bag. Ask about anything to do with photography as it is the common area of interest you have. Get them talking. People love talking about themselves. Don’t be fooled by people talking about Dale Carnegie’s book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” with disdain – His advice is still completely sound.

Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

  • Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain.
  • Give honest and sincere appreciation.
  • Arouse in the other person an eager want.

Six Ways to Make People Like You

  • Become genuinely interested in other people.
  • Smile.
  • Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  • Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  • Talk in terms of the other person’s interest.
  • Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.

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This is just a sample of his advice – buy the book if you think it will help you.

If you sit there and don’t say anything, nobody is going to talk to you. Personal responsibility…

2. Be a source of joy for others.

Steer clear of dodgy subjects like politics and religion, and do not be a know-it-all, or critique other people’s gear, images, or technique. Ask open ended questions – these start with words like  how, why, what, who, when – anything that doesn’t elicit a “yes” or “no” response. The best way to be interesting is to be interested in others.

3. Move Around

Don’t just plonk yourself down and stay in one spot or stick with the first person who says something to you. Move around, and talk to different people.

Now is the time for honesty, rather than a dusted sugar coating… People don’t like being obligated. Don’t lumber the first person who talks to you with the responsibility of “looking after” you by just sticking close to them. And if you don’t move around and talk to different people, you could be missing meeting your “perfect match” at the meet.

If everyone is at a table, try and sit as close the middle as possible – if you get stuck on the ends, your choices for conversation buddies can be limited. If you are in the middle, you can look left, right, and forward towards different conversations until you find the right one.

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  1. Meetup – Come along for a light lunch and refreshments! | Inconspicuosity - November 18, 2016

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