Deadline for camera club show swiftly approaching

Marj Culley looks back on her 25 years with the club

Chris Stedile

Castlegar News

The April 30 deadline is quickly approaching for the West Kootenay Camera Club’s annual show but longtime member Marjorie Culley has no pre-show jitters.

“I always enter to see how I can improve,” she said. “If I happen to win, that’s a bonus. I just want to see how it shapes up and I like to show my pictures off a bit.”

With so many entrants last year and more expected this time around, the opportunity to learn is higher than ever.

“I enjoy seeing other people’s works,” Culley says. “You learn from those people as well.”

Culley was one of the first members to join the club back in the early 1990s and has been an integral member ever since.

“I joined it because I was taking pictures of my grandchildren. They’re so cute and make such great pictures I just thought ‘I’d like to take even better ones.’”

The very first show, she explained, was hosted in a small house in Robson and had only a handful of entries along with hers, which she admitted weren’t all that great. Culley never let things get her down though, and kept coming back for more.

“I’ve learned a lot through the club and I sort of think of it as my family. I’ve known many of them for a long time.

“I really like photography. It makes you look at the world more closely. It provides a new appreciation for nature and the beauty of God’s world. The enjoyment and camaraderie that comes from being a member is unforgettable.”

Since the club’s inception, many trips have been planned and Culley was never one to miss an experience like that.

“We’ve gone on a few seminars and tours that I have really enjoyed.”

One of Culley’s favourite excursions was to Hedley, where club members journeyed to the mountains to meet with a monk living there.

“We had to go across a creek on a pole. I crawled across on it — well, they had a wire to hang on to but it was still something else.

“He lived in a kind of cave. It was interesting. He’d caught a rat so he came back with us all the way to Hedley to release it because he wouldn’t kill it. Although it would probably just go back up and get in his garden,” she laughed.

When it comes down to Culley’s favourite type of photography, she’s nearly stumped.

“I just love everything, but I do tend to lean towards flowers. I like doing close-ups on them, and seeing the beauty in the flowers.”

At a loss for words, Culley said she believes her photos speak for themselves as to why she loves floral pictures so much.

The club’s membership has picked up significantly in the past few years and the photo ops and trips have become more frequent, however Culley said she can’t go on quite as many anymore now that she’s getting older.

“I can’t climb around and I’ve got to be careful I don’t fall, which annoys me but what can you do?”

Despite missing out on the more recent excursions, Culley is still a very active club member and finds beauty where she can in her home in the West Kootenay.

Culley will be entering several photos in this year’s contest and all photographs will be on display at the Kootenay Gallery in Castlegar, from June 5 to 13. An open house will take place Friday, June 5 from 6 to 9 p.m.