Print Circle: what are they
As part of my introduction on this site I wrote, “It has always seemed to me to be a shame that we make photographic prints for various purposes such as exhibitions and competitions or simply for our own satisfaction, and then after the event throw them into storage boxes from which they will probably only ever emerge for their final journey.” I would like to expand on those thoughts here.
I love looking at prints, particularly monochrome prints and I also enjoy making and sharing them, but sharing with whom and to what purpose?
About fifteen years ago I was lucky enough to find a like minded group of photographers local to me that shared my ideas of non-competitive print appreciation, somewhere ideas could be exchanged and discussed and our work viewed without any pressure to conform with preconceived ideas of what rules a picture should follow for I feel that such ideas can stifle artistic development. You may be lucky enough to have a similar forum in your area in which case it could be worthwhile paying them a visit. Whilst I remain a member of such a forum, the East Midlands Monochrome Group and continue to enjoy our meetings I felt that I would like to cast my net wider.
My solution was to join a postal photographic group and I recommend that you do the same. Such groups are diverse, some concentrate of print size, some on content and yet others on printing methods or production equipment, however all have one thing in common, they comprise a small group, usually of around 8 to 12 photographers circulating their work among each other for discussion, comment and mutual enjoyment.
Groups that I’ve had experience of which are worth investigating further are:
The United Photographic Postfolios of Great Britain. I’m a member of their A3 monochrome print circle C12, a very sociable and friendly circle. There are many circles within the UPP to chose from both mono and colour, as well as all sizes from very small to A3, well worth a look, it’s the largest club of this type in the UK.
35 Photo Club, a much smaller but equally sociable group. I’m a member of Circle 1 who circulate 10”x 8” darkroom and inkjet monochrome prints, the club also has A4 colour print circles as well and is particularly active in the area of natural history where the standard is very high.
Some organisations such as the Royal Photographic Society also operate these circles within their special interest groups although they are not as widely advertised as they should be, the Visual Art group, operate several A4 colour print circles.
The PPC still have a couple of print circles left which circulate 7″x 5″ prints so are also worth contacting if small prints attract you; I am no longer a member.
Whatever you do get printing, join a circle and share your work, you won’t regret it; I haven’t.