The Vineyard Haven library is not just a place to read or take out books, but also to view the Island’s third annual Photography Club group show. This year featured photographers include Michael Cohen, Phyllis Dunn, Dianne Holt, Bruce Kinch, Lynn Khosla, Betsi Luce, Jeannie Pierson, Maria Thibodeau, and Susan Waldrop.
One of the photographers, Michael Cohen, talks about his artistic journey: “I started shooting in high school, and my early photographic work was through the lens of a Minolta SRT-101. I was a darkroom rat. Shortly after, I put the camera down for about 30 years until a trip to the Galapagos in 2003, where I met a guy with a pro-level digital camera, and I got hooked again. Since then, I’ve shot all digital, and have been amazed at the improvements in image quality.”
Cohen’s photo titled “Aquinnah” is one of his favorites. “Here on the Vineyard there are so many wonderful photographic subjects, and I love shooting in and around the water. Even when water is still, it’s changing all the time. I never get tired of Vineyard land and seascapes. This is one of my favorite photographs because the combination of the silky-smooth water and the intricate detail of the rocks creates something I enjoy looking at over and over,” Cohen said. “And, of course, I remember being barefoot in the Aquinnah sand when I made this photograph, a feeling that this image brings me back to every time. The bottom line is, I love to shoot.”
Photography Club member Lynn Khosia has her own backstory as well: “I was given an SLR in my mid-20s, and fell in love with the sound of the shutter clicking. On a trip to Europe I bought nothing, but returned with 25 rolls of film … My focus tends to be on composition rather than the mechanics of photography. I’m a little shy about taking photos of people, but anything else is fair game. I love to take photos of details — a doorknob, geranium blooms against a lace curtain, a pair of boots beside a red barn.”
Her photograph “Eye on You” is an example of her close-up style, yet she says, “It’s a little unusual for me: It is the eye of a horse … I don’t take many photos of animals. I like the ‘expression’ in this particular photo — it looks as if the horse might be asking, ‘What are you looking at?’ The photo was taken in north Georgia on a winter day a few years ago. I was homesick for the Vineyard at the time.”
The Martha’s Vineyard Photography Club is the brainchild of Maria Thibodeau, who was born and raised on the Island. A few years ago, Thibodeau returned to the Vineyard from New Mexico, where she was part of a photo club. She discovered there was none on the Island, so she started one herself. The Vineyard Haven library hosts their meetings the first Thursday of the month at 6 pm. There are some 80 members on the mailing list, but those who attend change from meeting to meeting. It’s a casual atmosphere.
“My intent in starting the club was to create a community of photographers who could come together and share knowledge,” Thibodeau explains. The club is open, and welcomes photographers of all kinds and all levels. She adds, “The diversity of the show reflects the diversity of the members.” Club activities include photo sharing, presentations on various aspects of photography (drawing on the expertise of club members and outside sources), and field trips, as well as other areas of group interest.
Past meetings have covered topics such as the exposure triangle, Lightroom, Photoshop, off-camera flash, and gallery curation, as well as a variety of guest photographers including Bob Avakian, Michael Blanchard, Yann and Moira from Vineyard Colors, Siobhan Beasley, Joe Mikos, David Welch, Josh Robinson, Ali Mead, Max Skjoldebrand, Peter Dreyer, and John Montes Jr., as well as club members Bill O’Callaghan, Maria Thibodeau, Michael Cohen, Sara Piazza, and more.
The Martha’s Vineyard Photography Club Group Show is sponsored by the Friends of the Library. The show runs through June 15. For more information about the Martha’s Vineyard Photography Club, visit the club’s Facebook page, facebook.com/mvphotoclub.