Being a part of photosoc has been a major part of my university experience. I have lots of friends from the society, and I have learnt many useful skills.
I became interested in photography when I was around 16, I bought my first DSLR camera at 17, a second hand Canon 350D from 2005, which I still have, and still take on trips with me due to it’s small size and the fact that I hold a firm belief that a good picture is still a good picture, even if it’s recorded on a sensor smaller than those normally found in the latest smartphones. I’m a portrait photographer mainly, sharing the workload between digital and film cameras. I like taking pretty pictures of the people I care about in my life, and I hopefully don’t do a terrible job of it.
I came to the University of Sheffield in 2011, and found the photography society at the activities fair in my first week. After a couple of years where I attended meetings rather sporadically, I changed course to Materials Science and Engineering, and decided it was time to dive in and become a committee member. The ex-darkroom officer was unable to keep up his duties, and asked me if I would like to take over.
Since then I’ve been re-elected three times, serving four years as Darkroom Officer, or as I call it; Dorkroom Officer, and one as Treasurer. I’ve loved being a part of photosoc. And I would encourage anyone to take up a committee role in their society. It’s completely different to being a member, you have responsibility and a few tasks to do, but you get to shape the society and make some amazing friends along the way.
One of the core principles of photosoc is that you don’t need a camera, or any real photographic skills, in order to be a member. Our weekly meetings consist of a short teaching session on different aspects of photography and a practise session, before the normal trip to Interval bar in the Union. We have an annual residential trip, the previous three being to Edinburgh, Chester and Bristol, this year’s is going to be to Berlin, which is particularly exciting for me, as I chose to study German as a part of my degree. The society also has a few weekend socials a term, a mixture of visiting attractive parks around Sheffield, walking in the peaks and going to Pop Tarts.
We always have a cat-themed Halloween, don’t ask me how the cat thing started, but a few years ago the society changed it’s motto to: “The cat society with a photography problem” and the theme has certainly stuck. Doesn’t hurt that cats are usually quite compliant photographic subjects!
The Society also does cool stuff like throwing an exhibition every year, as well as holding a few competitions and you can rent photographic equipment from us, as well as use the darkroom, which is hidden next to the Media Hub in the Students’ Union.
Other than being great fun every Thursday evening, taking me on trips around the UK and now abroad, as well as giving me some great friends, being a part of the society has also given me a huge boost on my CV, and always comes in handy during interview questions. It’s all one big team working exercise. Some years on the committee have been better than others, but all of them have given me great stories, and I know I have skills now that I would never have had if I had not joined the committee four years ago.