Photo club heads into second year

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Boogielou Johnson takes a photograph Wednesday during a meeting of the photography club ‘The Koncept’ at the Ray Recreation Center in Tarboro.


Staff Writer

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The room inside the Ray Recreation Center in Tarboro was empty, except for Boogielou Johnson, who was setting up a green screen in one of the corners.

Johnson brought the screen and his laptop as part of a demonstration he had planned for later in the evening. Soon, others trickled in for the twice-a-month, 6 p.m. Wednesday meeting of The Koncept, a photography club open to anyone interested in improving their skills with a camera.

It’s a friendly group, as some cracked jokes, while others munched on pizza brought by one of the members. Some wore the group’s custom shirt, while others came straight from work. Eleven people made the meeting, which is really more of a get-together to talk about their recent photography encounters and to trade tips and ideas.

Seven men and four women, all with the same passion.

Though everyone doesn’t make each meeting, there are about 18 members in the group. All skill levels are accounted for, and that’s the point. Some members are veterans at shooting weddings, graduations, proms and portraits, while others are still learning the functions of the camera.

A couple members have almost 30 years of photography experience, and some have six months.

“Photography is something that calms my mind,” said Demetrius Hill, a member. “I just like how a picture is a snapshot of someone’s life, a moment in time.”

Hill took up photography several years ago as a hobby, and it’s one that will likely stick. He has shot various events but doesn’t yet feel ready to tackle larger events solo. Some functions with several hundred people make for a hectic night. He asked aloud if he could tag along to a large wedding to get a feel as to how some of the more experienced photographers work and handle the event.

That’s the idea behind the club. If someone has any questions or wants to reach out, this is the place to do so. Several times during the April 18 meeting, someone would ask the group for advice on how to handle a situation they encountered between meetings. Some wondered how to handle events that go long, while others were curious about indoor versus outdoor lighting.

William S. Manley, a freelance photographer, started the club after friends urged him to do so. He had friends become interested after seeing his work and they bugged him about starting a club to help others who were interested in photography. Manley’s work has appeared in several magazines, The Tarboro Weekly,  the Rocky Mount Telegram as well as personal scrapbooks from family events.

He takes on weddings, model shoots, sporting events and anniversary parties. Manley’s photos were recently featured in a fashion magazine as the centerfold. 

The club is going on its second year, and it only continues to grow in numbers and its mission. The club hopes to hold free classes for kids in the near future, a program that is still in the works.

“It has been very positive and rewarding,” Manley said of the club. “It pushes me, too. I had pictures in a local magazine and recently had a fashion photo shoot. All of that comes from the club pushing me to go out and try those things.

“I jumped at those opportunities because I wanted to show that if you’re serious about it, you have to go out and make it happen. You can’t wait for someone to find you. You have to just go out there.”

This past Sunday the group took a trip to take photos as part of a practice shoot. The low-stress environment helps those who are just starting out as the more advanced members are available to dish out tips and pointers.

And during meetings like the most recent one, Johnson’s green screen demonstration showed the different ways that backgrounds can be manipulated. He also showed the group how to use various editing software.

“We’re all here to help each other,” Johnson said.