GTPulse: Shape Your Creativity in Quarantine with #PhotoClubAtHome
Before all of our thoughts, conversations and lives became centered around coronavirus I wrote a story about a Michael Kent and the local photo club he hosts here in Traverse City (you can read that one here) Ever the productive, energetic and inclusive community member he has kept Photo Club active and fluid by turning the community walks into something he’s calling #PhotoClubAtHome. The series of social media photography challenges and weekly Zoom meetups that feature talks with local creatives is a virtual and new branch off of Photo Club, but it’s still free, fun and open to anyone who likes to take pictures.
Although #PhotoClubAtHome is an offshoot of Photo Club that doesn’t mean Michael was going to not brand it as its own project.
“I love to do that. Photo Club came from a request for the community, anytime I see something that’s needed I just move on it. When I see someone say they wish something existed I build it as fast as I can.”
Quarantine isn’t going to be the reason Michael puts Photo Club on hiatus. #PhotoClubAtHome isn’t a replacement for the club, it’s something all of its own. The social media challenges work as base ideas for photographers to jump off of. Every Tuesday, Michael poses a new challenge on Instagram for those who want to participate. Challenges ask photographers to play with perspective, light and exposure among other things.
The two new features that make #PhotoClubAtHome distinct are a daily challenge on the Facebook group and weekly Zoom calls.
“The Facebook group has the same recurring seven prompts per week. They don’t change. They’re similarly simple concepts to the Instagram challenges and they roll over. Every Monday is the same challenge, every Tuesday is the same challenge, so you’re focusing on the same concept every week but trying your hand at a different method for it each time.”
The quarantine calls are through Zoom and are held every Tuesday at noon and Friday at 8 p.m.
“Basically it’s a social hour kind of thing. Initially, it was to communicate how you were doing with your challenges but then it evolved into kind of an interview show, not just interviewing photographers but things that are interesting to photographers.”
The quarantine calls feature local creative guests that talk about their methods for getting artistic work done, getting inspired and answering questions. He’s interested in featuring artists from all mediums. Not only are the calls a way to get inspired, they ward off some of the quarantine loneliness many are experiencing.
“I don’t want people in their heads thinking about all of this garbage stuff happening outside in real life so I try to keep things upbeat and talk about photography stuff.”
Michael knows that joining a new club can be intimidating for anyone at any age, and he’s willing and happy to help others join the group and feel comfortable.
“I want to be a good servant of the community. So, if there’s anything I’m not doing to get people onboarded I want to do it. The best way to get involved is to join the Instagram and Facebook page, go to the Youtube channel and watch previous calls to see what they look like. People can always reach out to me directly, find me on Facebook or DM the Photo Club Instagram. I’m happy to handhold to get people into the community. I’ll introduce you to people, or answer questions before you get on, or help with Zoom tech.”
For those who want to express themselves creatively but not through photography, Michael still wants you to use the #PhotoClubAtHome hashtag on social media with whatever artistic project you’re working on.
“I want it to be used to feature any sort of creative work people are doing locally, regionally, whatever you wanna call it, I want it to be this hub where anyone can share their creative projects and connect.”
To get involved follow Photo Club on Instagram, Facebook and Youtube, where you can catch up on the past quarantine calls and start energizing your own creative muscle and join in with your own #PhotoClubAtHome masterpiece.
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