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Photography Groups tend towards Conformity

Late this week I wandered into a group photographic exhibition at a local art gallery. About sixteen large photographs (I can’t recall if they were framed). One per photographer. Reasonably high prices for amateur digital photography. Black and white. Almost homogenous around the four walls. Dare I say, bland.

And that’s one of the problems that I have with joining photography groups. That all groups push towards conformity. All groups. Businesses, teams, families and yoga getaways all put pressure on the member to conform to the ideas and fashions of the greater opinion.

Not that everyone has to conform. And sometimes we don’t. But non-conformists in any group are in for a bumpy ride and it takes a strong will to rise above those expected norms. It comes to that definition of culture, I guess… stories, legends, artifacts, customs, beliefs, values, attitudes and behaviour.

What I’d have liked to see from a group photography exhibition would have been an array of diverse perspectives. Ideas. The pushing of boundaries. Something that said each photographer had chosen their most powerful/interesting picture to put on the wall. Rather than the safest and sharpest digital pictures to please the group norm.

What I’d like to see from a group photographic exhibition is a room full of bravely individual daring non-conformists. But that’s not what groups are about. By definition.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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