The Harbour City Photography Club has had to adapt to the realities of COVID-19 and members have found that embracing change has led to new opportunities.
“I’m pretty excited, actually, as to how we’ve reinvented ourselves…” said Rooney Dumler, HCPC director of programs and education, later adding, “I think you’ve got to be prepared to pivot and do things in a different way.”
The first change came when the club was forced to hold its annual Photo Salon exhibition online instead of at VIU’s View Gallery. Dumler said the virtual show was “very successful,” with thousands of website visits from as far as Australia.
“We were quite pleased with how that all turned out,” she said. “And we also began to see how technology could start to work for us, so that’s when we started to figure out Zoom.”
Before COVID-19 the club held its meetings at St. Andrew’s United Church. Now they continue to meet regularly from their own homes using the online videoconferencing platform Zoom. The HCPC is still holding in-person photography outings, however, with members keeping to a safe distance.
“We don’t get together for tea and coffee like we used to, but someone had to do the dishes too,” Dumler said. “You had to get dressed for that. So this is working well.”
Turning to Zoom has also allowed the club to book speakers from far and wide for remote presentations. In January the HCPC will be joined by New Brunswick photographer and Member of the Order of Canada Freeman Patterson.
“I’ve been able to reach out and find presenters that we would never be able to afford to be able to bring into Nanaimo,” Dumler said.
An increased online presence as also led to the HCPC forming connections with photographers and photography clubs around North America. Dumler said they’re developing a network that is far broader than they’ve ever enjoyed “just as a little club down at St. Andrew’s church.”
“We’re talking to all the different clubs in the province. We’re talking to people in Alberta, the Yukon. We get together, say, ‘How are you doing? What challenges are you having? How are you solving this problem?’” she said. “So it’s taken it really big and as a result of that we have way more ideas and resources than we ever had before.”
To join the Harbour City Photography Club, contact membership director Sue Nurmi at firstname.lastname@example.org.