Imagine you are a 10 year girl. It is Saturday and your dad
invites drags you to to some weird photography club thing a church in a strip mall. And the family’s camera is in another state. “This will be fun,” dad says. Yeah right.
Further imagine that 175 strange ADULTS are packed into this strip mall church. Not one person your age, no one that you know. Thank God. What if your friends saw you here with these weirdos. A strange woman who seems to be friends with your DAD (yuck) shoves a camera in your hand. A scary, heavy camera. “Push this button here. This will be fun,” she says. Gulp.
It’s crowded, loud. Strobes are going off all around you. It’s your turn. Someone slides a Pocket Wizard onto the camera and shows you where to stand. The model smiles at you, she seems normal, your age. Push the button. Bam! Flash! Wow! This is fun.
That was my new friend Baylor’s introduction to Photowalking Utah. We organized our third annual Studio Indoor Photowalk last Saturday. I made some good pictures that day, but Baylor’s pictures show what we are all about–a brand new member can show up, not knowing a thing about studio lighting, and jump right in.
Rich was on point for this event, organizing the people, place and gear. Volunteers put together nine different set-ups for folks to try, and the models worked for hours on the promise of splitting a tip pool. $5 a head is all we asked, but with 175-200 participants, it added up to a nice sum for them. Thanks to Pictureline for loaning us the lights used on the trampoline set-up. And thanks to everyone who came early and stayed late to convert Gateway Community Church from sanctuary to studio and back again.
Like Rich, I get asked all the time (by nonmembers) why I put so much time into Photowalking Utah. It comes down to this: we are building a photographic community unlike anywhere else. And by “we,” I mean all
892 894 members of PhotowalkingUtah, with room yet for friends we haven’t met yet. No one is carrying around a pedestal for someone else to climb on, although we are having trouble hunting up a tall enough ladder to take our group shots. It’s a community where the person who bought her first camera at Costco last week can get help and encouragement from someone who has been shooting 20 years and still is having fun with photography.
When we started this, I said I wanted it to be simple, friendly and free. We are having some growing pains, but we still have no membership forms, no dues, no dreadful business meetings. A newcomer can join today and org up a Photowalk tomorrow if she wants. I don’t know where we are going next, but based on what we’ve been able to do so far, I imagine it will be somewhere amazing.
*shot with a Nikon D2X, straight from camera using exposures as directed by volunteers for each set-up. Baylor did awesome for using that camera for the first time.