Beach Library February Artists

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Camera Club Returns

Ordinarily, when the Fort Myers Beach Library hosts its Artist of The Month, it is the work of a single person. For February, however, the Fort Myers Camera Club (FMCC) makes a return appearance, with multiple members exhibiting their photographic skills!

“This is the second exhibit for the Fort Myers Camera Club at the Beach  Library,” explained exhibit spokesperson Rici Dudek. “The Library was kind enough to invite us to organize a display last April that we entitled, ‘Libraries Are Not Just For Books,’ and we took that show very seriously, with the intent that it would be so excellent that the Library staff would want us back for another exhibit. Not only did it turn out that way, but the Library organizers informed us that they loved it so much that they wanted the Fort Myers Camera Club for the month of February this year, because that is one of its two or three months with the highest visitation, so that more people can see the outstanding photography from our members! We are really proud of ‘Libraries Are Not Just For Books,’ so you can still view it online at www.ftmyercc.com/art-show-2019.html

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Bare Throated Tiger Heron. Photo by Tom Brott.

The club’s show this month is called “Seeing Is Believing,” “and that title is perfect,” raved Rici! “You have to see these photographs for yourself to believe them, because they are excellent. To give you an idea of how beautiful and breath-taking they are, we have almost 100 people in the club and for the Beach Library display, we were super selective and whittled that down to the works of just 15 of our members! Last year, we had 35 works in the show but that seemed like we were trying to cram in too many, so this year, we limited that to 30, meaning that each artist we chose will supply two each. When you view the show, remember to fill out a ballot to vote for your favorite, and please attend our ‘Meet the Artist’ session on Tuesday, February 11 from 3 to 5 p.m., when you can interact with many of the photographers and ask them questions.”

Images in the exhibit range from birds to beach and mountain scenes, as well as several that focus on people, Rici stated. “There is one of a spoonbill that will just take your breath away! The beach photography is not only from Florida but many other locations. We want to caution people up front that you will not see many local pictures, as our members travel the entire nation and even the world, so you will see shots from far-off places like Jerusalem, Morocco and Turkey, among other places, so it has a national and even international flavor. It almost goes without saying that the photographs are gorgeous. Many Fort Myers Camera Club members are multi-award winners, recognized by the Photography Society of America (PSA), so when you experience our exhibit, you will be so impressed!”

Last year, for “Libraries Are Not Just For Books,” the FMCC produced a three-ring binder to accompany the show, complete with numbers to match up to the photographs, the names of each respective photographer, and contact information to communicate with them, “but it was an incredible amount of work,” Rici recalled, “and we got the sense that not many visitors used it, so this year we will have all that information online under ‘2020 Catalog Show’ at www.ftmyercc.com/show-2020.html We will mount information on a large poster at the exhibit with this address.”

Join The Club

Roaring Fork. Photo by Beck Mather.

The Fort Myers Camera Club is roughly 40 years old, related Rici, “with 80 to 100 members at any one time. We meet the first and third Fridays from November through April at the Cypress Lake United Methodist Church at 8570 Cypress Lake Drive at 7 p.m. Like many other Southwest Florida groups, our membership tends to scatter over the summer months, so we still get-together periodically but not on a regular schedule, and you can see those meeting dates, topics and classes on our website. We welcome guests to our meetings and our membership is just $35 per year, so if you would like to join, see www.fortmyercc.com or contact our Membership Chair, Denny Souers, at 239-292-9792.”

For its in-season sessions, the first monthly club meeting features a presentation, with the second one a digital imaging competition. “To ensure that there is no favoritism in the digital imaging shows, we select judges with considerable expertise from all across the nation, from states like New York, Oregon and Washington, who award ribbons on pure ability to 1st, 2nd and 3rd Place as well as Honorable Mentions.”

Rici encourages anyone with an interest in or passion for photography to join the Fort Myers Camera Club. “We offer classes and programs from Beginners through Experts, even if you have been away from photography for a while and are rusty or just downright afraid of the digital age. We have something for everyone, and that is true for equipment as well, whether you own a Nikon or Canon or anything else. We do road trips and outings to interesting places to photograph, whether it is for things like streetscapes or birds or nature locations like Six Mile Cypress Slough or the ‘Ding’ Darling Wildlife Refuge, and just last month, we went to the rodeo!”

To Rici, the absolute best part of the club “is the mentorship program, where everyone supports you and no one makes fun of you, and everyone shares their knowledge and critiques in a friendly manner, so we all grow together to become better photographers. Our members are so much fun, extraordinarily talented and an interesting group! The camera club welcomes new members of all skill levels and encourages active participation, to really advance as a photographer.”

More Spectacular

“There are several reasons why people should visit the display at the Library,” related Rici. “Most of the photographers in the show have international reputations, yet they live right here in our own community, and how cool is that? They are at the top of their game, with people who admire their skill all over the world. On top of all that, the photographs are stunningly gorgeous, and that is the whole point! In my opinion, ‘Seeing Is Believing’ is more spectacular than last year’s show, and that is saying something, so I can’t wait for the visitors to see them now.”

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Start of an Island. Photo by Carol Brott.

Once the Beach Library display comes to an end, many of the photographs as well as others from the club will be at the Broadway Palms Dinner Theatre at 1380 Colonial Boulevard through March and April, with the works for sale to the general public. The Fort Myers Camera Club’s 3rd Floor Library Exhibit runs through Friday, February 28, at the Fort Myers Beach Library at 2755 Estero Boulevard. Hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and closed Sundays and holidays. For information on the Fort Myers Camera Club, please see www.ftmyercc.com; for the Library, visit www.fmb.lib.fl.us or call 239-765-8162. “Come view our exhibit,” concluded Rici, “because I guarantee you will love it!”