Earlier this year, the Richmond County Photography Association was created and to date it has about 15 members that meet once a month at the Arts Council building, Arts Richmond, on East Washington St. in Rockingham.
Professional Rockingham Photographer Jimmy McDonald is the guiding voice of the association. Each month there is a new assignment for members to work on and once a month a meeting is held and members bring in an 8x10 print of their best shot for comments and critiques. The members then vote on their best.
“We are very informal and like to sit and have general photography conversations. It’s been fun,” said McDonald. “We talk about the experiences, cameras and techniques. Some people have advice. It’s a fun group of people.”
Apart from monthly assignments, like flowers, the sky and animals, there are also quarterly assignments that may take longer and require more attention.
McDonald said he tries to keep the assignments easy and fun so everyone can participate. One of his assignments was the sky, and he said it turned out to be harder than he expected.
The group has a Facebook page to which members are invited. Some people have opted to be members and post their photos online but haven’t attended meetings, while others have come to every meeting so far.
“It’s been fun and very interesting to hear what people do and how they enjoy having different cameras,” said McDonald.
McDonald is known for his wedding pictures and school portraits, but he is also known on Facebook for his food pictures. McDonald is not against sharing pictures of his meals online and he said people ask him, “Don’t you worry about what other people think when you are taking pictures of your food?” His reply is that he doesn’t care, but he understands that others may be shy about taking pictures of things they think are good subjects when other people are around. He hopes members of the association will be able to grow into confident photographers.
One of the members, Robin Thomas, has been taking pictures for 40 years and said her cousin jokes that Thomas’ husband is the most photographed man on the Internet.
“Everybody is used to me having a camera in my hands,” said Thomas. “(My husband) acts like I’m not there.”
Thomas said she enjoys the diversity of the group, and said she likes to see what people come up with.
“It’s nice to see other people’s interpretation of the assignment because it’s pretty much that one word (sky, flowers, shadows) and it’s nice to see all the different pictures,” said Thomas. “Our quarterly assignment was travel, and some did methods of transportation and others did places they traveled to.”
Thomas said her favorite assignment so far has been flowers, because she enjoys taking pictures of flowers already.
“I would certainly recommend anyone to come join the group,” said Thomas. “It’s too much fun and it gives you that creative outlet. We are a congenial group that has one thing in common.”
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.