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A picture’s worth a thousand words: Kona Camera Club offers networking and education

July 14, 2017 - 8:45am

The American documentary photographer, Elliott Erwitt said photography is an art of observation. He claimed photography had little to do with the things people see, and everything to do with the way people see them.

The Kona Camera Club was founded in 2001 by a group of amateur and professional photographers to accentuate the art of observation and provide local photographers with the opportunity to expand their talents and deepen their understanding of the art of photography.

“The club used to be called KUPS for Kona Underwater Photographers,” said Kirk Shorte, local photographer and president of the Kona Camera Club. “It ran for several years and it got to a point where they were running out of enthusiasm, so they considered changing their focus to more terrestrial subjects.”

A friend who knew him from the dive shop where he was previously employed brought Shorte into the club.

“I thought it would be a good way to network and a good way to bring up my skills,” said Shorte. “After about a year, my big mouth and outspokenness got me nominated to be the president, so I’ve been president going on my third year now.”

Kona Camera Club holds monthly meetings to share information and offer presentations on topics such as software and photography techniques. They also offer guest speakers, photo contests, photo club theme presentations, and photography outings, which include on-location shooting.

“We provide a platform for photographer networking and education so we can take people who know very little about photography and bring them up to functional levels,” said Shorte.

“We also bring in people from outside the club who’ve made a career of photography and introduce them to the club members.”

Another program offered by the Kona Camera Club is “Building a Photographer.” It consists of brief, hour-long presentations and discussions on topics relevant to photography. Past presentations include information on camera functions, lighting systems and photo composition.

“We offer this kind of information to give people the knowledge they have innately but not formally,” said Shorte. “They may have been told at some point they have a really good eye for photography, however, if asked what that eye does, or how it helps them develop a photo, they couldn’t really tell you. These are the kinds of things we try to present to people and assist in unfolding that knowledge for them.”

Kona Camera Club also offers a “Show and Tell” where members can share photos from the past up through the present. They also offer contests based around certain topics or themes.

“People are looking for a place to find information on photography in a nonthreatening way,” said Shorte. “Often times people don’t know what to ask, so they don’t ask anything. We have people who have 30 plus years of experience as career photographers and that can intimidate some people. We’re able to bring people together who are nervous about it and make them feel comfortable.”

For more information on Kona Camera Club and future meeting dates and locations, contact

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