MUSKOKA – The Muskoka Photography Club is hosting its annual open house this Saturday.
Members from communities across the region, including Huntsville, Bracebridge, Rosseau, Port Sydney and Port Carling, will gather at the Raymond Community Hall on March 2 to share photos and techniques with visitors.
Photographer Paul Bennett, founder of the Muskoka Photography Club, said he decided to start the club three years ago once the feud between film and digital photography subsided.
“Photo clubs in the area were all film, then digital came in and it kind of tore the clubs apart because these new-fangled digital (photos) weren’t really photography,” said Bennett, describing the argument of film photographers at the time. “The clubs disintegrated.”
But as time went by, digital photography became more prevalent.
“No one shoots film anymore, hardly,” he said.
Bonds between photographers began to mend and Bennett said he felt it was time to establish a new club. He wanted to share his experience, while bringing like-minded people together to celebrate Muskoka’s photogenic environment and a passion for photography.
The club has about 55 members – some of whom still shoot with film – and it meets the third Wednesday of each month at the Raymond Community Hall on Highway 141.
Bennett said club members are given a theme each month and are encouraged to shoot a photo before the next meeting that matches the theme. At the following meeting, the photos are critiqued by the club members, who offer constructive feedback.
Meetings also include workshops, discussions and breakout sessions, depending on what the club wants to do that week.
“It’s very low-key, no egos allowed,” said Bennett. “And it’s a members’ club. The club becomes what the members want it to be.”
Club membership is free now, though in September members will start paying a nominal fee to cover the cost of minor expenses incurred throughout the year, such as website maintenance and an annual open house event.
The club’s next open house is set for Saturday, March 2, at the Raymond Community Hall between 1 and 4 p.m. Everyone is welcome to attend, said Bennett.
Members will have photos, slideshows, cameras and photography equipment on display during the open house with some providing computer demonstrations as well.
Bennett said members will be on hand to talk with visitors, answer questions and share their work.
“It’s to show the public what we’re doing,” he said. “It’s about sharing an interest and getting new members.”
Bennett said people do not need to have any experience or equipment to attend the open house or even join the club. All that is needed is an interest in learning more about photography.
Admission to the open house is free. Coffee, refreshments and information about the club will be available.
The Raymond Community Hall is located on Highway 141 west of Utterson in the Raymond Valley.