The short but happy life of the F4 Camera Club

Once upon a time, for members of a Chicago-area camera club became disenchanted with the way the club was being run. Avid printmakers, in a club in which the majoruty of the 60 members were slide makers, they felt that print makers were being treated like second-class citizens.

On competition night, slides were always shown first and the judges were asked to make comments. Because there were lots of slides, by the time the judges finished with the slides it was late and most of the slide makers went home. Prints were given a fast shuffle without comments. Protests of print makers fell on deaf ears.

Furthermore, most of the programs were on slide making. Field trips were often discussed but seldom materialized. Disenchanted members also disliked the procedure by which prints were selected for CACCA (Chicago Area Camera Club Association competitions).

Finally, the four disenchanted members, two men and two women, decided to form a club of their own. They called the club the F4 Camera Club-Four FRIENDS dedicated to FUN and FELLOWSHIP in photography. From its inception, F4 affiliated with both CACCA and PSA.

The club functioned as follows:

1. F4 competed in both small and large prints in CACCA competitions.

2. There were no club competitions. Each member selected the prints he or she wished to enter in CACCA. (Each club, regardless of its membership was allowed to enter a maximum of four prints in each of the two print categories.) 3. Regular meetings were held twice a month in members’ homes. On the first meeting of the month, a prominent photographer in the Chicago area was usually invited to bring a number of prints and discuss his or her approach to photography. Sometimes PSA Pictorial Print Exhibits were viewed and discussed. On the second meeting of the month, members brought prints to be critiqued by fellow club members.

photography tips portraits outside longer field trips were taken. Since there were only four members everyone could go in one car.

When F4 was organized the club adopted a three-year plan. The first year goal was to finish high enough in the CACCA “B” category standings to be advanced to the “A” level. (All new clubs had to begin in the “B” category regardless of the ability level of its members.) The second-year goal was to finish higher in the standings than the “A” club from which they had defected. The third-year goal was to finish among the top three clubs in the “A” category.

The goals for the first two years were accomplished. Before the end of the third year, one of the F4 members died and another subsequently retired and moved out of the state. Consequently, F4 disbanded.

It is doubtful that the club could have reached its third-year goal even if kit had remained intact. However, if the members could have stayed together for five years, I believe the club could have finished among the top three “A” clubs. All four of the members were highly motivated; two were having success in international exhibitions and the other two were coming on strong.

Former members of the F4 Camera Club report that they never photography tips cherry blossoms accomplished as much in photography, nor enjoyed photography more, than when they belonged to this unique club. Although members of the F4 Camera Club were friends before they became a club, friendships deepened as the result of close and frequent contact in club activities, Based on the experiences of members of the F4 Camera Club, I believe that, for photographers beyond the neophyte stage, a small club can offer growth opportunities which would be impossible for a large club to provide.

Dr. Onas Scandrette, FPSA, is an active PSA member (since 1962) and a frequent contributor to the Journal. He currently serves as the Techniques Division News Editor and periodically writes “Participate in PSA” features which highlight areas of PSA service. His most recent article. “Where photography tips dark places There’s a Will There’s a Way,” appeared in November 1988.