Club promotes photographic art

Castlegar Sun, 1991

By Nancy Lingley, Sun Editor

Picture yourself taking better photos.

“Photography is not some great mystical thing,” said Ken Ferch, acting president of the West Kootenay Camera Club. “Once you know the basics, the rest of it just happens. Photography is a lot easier than playing with a computer, even.”

The mandate of the West Kootenay Camera Club, formed just over a year ago in February of 1990, is the promotion and enhancement of photographic art.

“We feel that photography is an art form,” stated Ferch. “It’s another medium of art.”

The club, stressed Ferch, is open to anyone, young or old, male or female, who has a 35 mm. camera or a camera with a larger format.

“There is no discrimination as to age, or sex, or whether the person is a beginner or more experienced,” he said. “There’s no problem with that.

“The basic premise is we want to take somebody with an interest in photography and give them the skills, both in the technical aspect in and in composition, so they can create an image rather than a record. Everyone has a technique, a style, that can be developed. We can take them beyond the ordinary skill level, no matter what camera they have, so they will be happier with the photos they are getting.”

Ferch promised instruction in all facets of photography within the club meetings.

“Techically, we cover things like the flash, lens, film, care and cleaning, depth of field; and non-technical things like composition and light control,” he explained. “If a person can learn composition alone, that will improve their work.

“We teach people how to troubleshoot as they photograph,” he added, mentioning a traveller who came back from Thailand with film that did not turn out.

The club is a member of the National Association of Photographic Arts, from which comes the opportunity to birng in knowledgeable guest speakers. Member have gone on photographic field trips including visits to Meldiana Trail, the lookout point on the Castlegar/Salmo summit, and Fry Creek Canyon, on the east side of Kootenay Lake, and to Idaho Peak, near Sandon, to photograph the alpine meadow flowers.

As well, he added, the club is a social one that holds get-togethers that include families, and would like to have interclub weekends where members could meet with other people with like interests.

The long-range plans and goals of the club include service to the community by obtaining professional multi-projection equipment for slide shows “for the community’s pleasure. To show the community what there is around them and as a vehicle, perhaps, for the city to use as a pomotional item,” said Ferch.

“Ideally, in the long-term, we could have a permanent meeting place where we could keep darkroom equipment and have a studio,” he added.

Right now the club meets every second Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Castlegar Library. The membership in the club has grown from a dozen to 25 with 18 or 19 active members said Ferch. Members come from Fruitvale, Trail, Rossland, Castlegar, the Slocan Valley, and Nelson. Annual membership fees are $20 annually, which is not pro-rated — a members pays for a full year, no matter when the club is joined — and they are single memberships only, no family memberships are available. That fee gives a member access to all club functions and provides a 10% discount for film, photo finishing, and framing at Vogue Studios in Nelson and Castlegar.