The San Luis Obispo Camera Club
and The Central Coast Photographic Society
by Renee Besta
"No matter how slow the film, Spirit always stands still long enough for the photographer it has chosen." –– Minor White
The breathtaking natural beauty of the Central Coast has earned San Luis Obispo County a plethora of accolades, ranging from "California's Natural Escape" and "a dream town," to "one of the best places to live" and "an adventure mecca." In addition, the County is a mecca for artists near and far and has lured a very large, permanent population of active fine art photographers. For photographers, however, the blessings are multiplied not only by the spectacular array of lens-worthy subjects in the county's diverse environs, but also by the presence of two extraordinary organizations dedicated to the art and science of photography.
No matter what your level of photographic skill, the San Luis Obispo Camera Club (SLOCC) and the Central Coast Photographic Society (CCPS) will welcome you with open arms, as well as an abundance of activities, learning experiences and camaraderie. If you are interested in taking your art to the next level and have not yet taken advantage of the profusion of fun and knowledge both organizations offer, then this article will provide you with the lowdown.
The San Luis Obispo Camera Club is a non-profit organization established around 1970 devoted to photography as a hobby. The Club offers members opportunities to learn and broaden their photographic skills via monthly meetings, field trips, bimonthly juried competitions, and workshops. Every meeting showcases a main program featuring members' photography, as well as a field trip slideshow of photos taken by our members at a recent outing. "Show and Tell" then follows, where each member may bring up to 5 images on any subject, whether to ask for some ideas on how to make them better, or just to show us what you've been up to lately. In addition, the fun and informative Courier newsletter features a bevy of interesting articles on photography-related events and products, as well as news on monthly programs and results and images of the bimonthly competitions.
Six times a year (in the even-numbered months) SLOCC holds a photo competition. At Competition, members submit their work to the scrutiny of judges. Normally we have a guest judge from outside the club, but sometimes we use a panel of three club members. The critiques are always oral. Scores range from 3 to 9 points, where 9 is "perfect." Competition is meant to be fun and educational. At the end of the year we reward our hard work with six different awards, including "Image of the Year." All images shown here were awarded top honors at past SLOCC competitions.
SLOCC meetings are held at 7:30 pm on the 2nd Thursday of each month (except December) at the Veteran's Memorial Hall in San Luis Obispo, located at 801 Grand Avenue near the corner of Monterey and Grand. There is a large parking lot next to the building. Our meeting room is the lounge to the right of the main entrance, not the main auditorium. Meetings generally conclude by 9:30 pm and visitors are welcome at the meetings. Please visit the club's web site at for more information.
Established nearly 20 years ago, the Central Coast Photographic Society is one of six affiliate artist member groups of the San Luis Obispo Art Center. The Photographic Society is the focal point for fine art photographers who are most interested in technical instruction and selling and exhibiting their work. These goals are accomplished by providing informative monthly programs with an emphasis on current methodologies and information exchange, workshops, hands-on demonstrations, guest lectures, forums and juried fine art photography exhibits at various venues in San Luis Obispo County.
For many years past, an annual exhibition called Visions was held at the SLO Art Center, juried by distinguished photographers such as George Lepp, Marc Muench, Ralph Clevenger of the Brooks Institute, and many other renowned photographers. In August and September of 2010, however, a new exhibit entitled Photomorphosis: A Juried Exhibition of High Dynamic Range Imaging and Other Digital Techniques in Contemporary Photography, will show in both the Gray Wing and the First Gallery of the San Luis Obispo Art Center. That is, the entire first floor of the Art Center.
The juror will be Stephen Patterson, a fine art landscape photographer from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. See www.stephenpatterson.com for information on Mr. Patterson and to view his outstanding abstract work. The idea of this exhibit is to present cutting edge digital methods, which would include HDR (high dynamic range imaging) and other creative digital techniques to "morph" an image into a more abstract, expressionistic look and feel.
The Photographic Society meets the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 pm in the Nybak Wing of the SLO Art Center, with running times of approximately two hours. The Art Center is located at 1010 Broad Street at Monterey on Mission Plaza. Membership in the Art Center and Photographic Society have many benefits, including the opportunity to exhibit and sell your work at the Art Center and at business offices, participation in special shows, invitations to opening receptions, discounts on classes and products, a bimonthly newsletter, the opportunity to link to your web site, and the satisfaction of knowing you are supporting the arts in the County.
As residents of San Luis Obispo County, we are very fortunate to have such an active artist community and support organizations. Please stop on by one of the SLOCC or CCPS meetings to learn more and make new friends. Warning: attendance at meetings is often addictive and can lead to an increase in photographic metabolism!
Renée Besta is President of the Central Coast Photographic Society and serves on the Board of the SLO Camera Club as Writer, Editor, and Designer of the Courier newsletter. A former biomedical professional, Renée now works in the areas of graphic design, fine art photography, teaching, writing, and giclée printing for artists. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 805.450.4640.