Canon connoisseurs, Nikon aficionados, Sony enthusiasts and all are welcome to join Montclair State University’s very own photography club.
Founded in early February 2021 by then-sophomore molecular biology major Marissa Di Fulco, the club was made to fill the gap in the thousands of organizations Montclair State had to offer at the time. She realized, as she looked through the list of organizations, that there was no established community where students who share her same passion and appreciation for photography could come together. She laid the foundations for a club that would go on to feature amazing photographers.
No matter what kind of camera you have, whether it is a full body with the latest sensors or just the camera on your phone, you are welcome to come learn more about the art of photography and share your creative visions with other members. The club is a safe space where anyone can participate: rookies, pros and anyone in between.
At first, meetings started over Zoom on Wednesdays from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. where members had the opportunity to learn from professionals like Mike Peters, the university photographer of Montclair State. As time went on during the fall semester, members of the club found themselves a new home: Calcia Hall room 131.
The photography club hosted its first gallery exhibit on Dec. 1, courtesy of their board led by president Di Fulco. Instead of exclusively taking the pictures, she and the rest of the board worked to have the K. Schnitzer Gallery. Students were encouraged to submit pictures that they took, regardless of if it was on a professional camera or the camera on their phone, and they were displayed in the gallery for all to see. Galleries have become a consistent part of the club’s schedule, and more will be on the way.
In addition to these galleries, the club also hosts “Feature Friday,” a weekly Instagram post where a club member’s photos are showcased. One of these features have even included The Montclarion’s very own director of photography, Karsten Englander.
Earlier this month, the club hosted a meeting where members could take pictures on film cameras and develop those pictures.
Maggie Evans, a senior communications and media studies major and the current club president, commented on how the club provides more accessibility to other photography mediums like film photography.
“It’s always a really cool process to take film pictures and develop them. We’re trying to make [film] more popular again for people to like see how fun it actually is,” Evans said. “I know it’s hard to get your own chemicals obviously and like have your own darkroom, so we want it to be available to everybody who it can be.”
Nina Andrews, a junior psychology major, is the treasurer of the club and commented on resource availability in the cage, Montclair State’s very own state-of-the-art center for all film and radio production needs. She also mentioned that the process of developing film alone is its own unique process and opportunity to use resources available on campus.
“We have limited materials in the cage just because of all the classes that we’re renting out too and that’s the main priority but we are able in the club to like take advantage of what we have left,” Andrews said. “You don’t get that opportunity to have that creative process when you’re sending your film out or like your disposable cameras. This is another way to take advantage of what we have on campus.”
On Wednesday, Oct. 25, as part of the photography club’s weekly meeting, they provided members with the opportunity to take pictures using an unconventional medium: a paint can. Each paint can was equipped with a small hole on the surface, covered by a piece of tape. Inside the paint can was a piece of photo paper, where the picture was produced. Members stepped outside of the building and found locations around the Montclair State campus to take photos of. In order to take the picture, they placed the paint can on a stable surface and removed the piece of tape for 30 seconds, allowing the photo paper to be exposed to light. After the 30 seconds were up, they covered the hole with the tape and returned to the room to begin processing.
In order to process the image, members entered the darkroom, a processing area where there is no light in order to safely develop the image on film or paper. Members then placed their photo papers into a photo tray, which contained certain chemicals to allow the picture to develop. After a few minutes, members were able to take their pictures out and see what they had produced.
Markell Robinson, vice president of the club, is a senior film and television major. He encourages people to practice casual photography and take pictures to capture different moments of their everyday lives, even if it’s just on their phones.
“I do think that more people should practice casual photography, it’s a good way to capture your everyday being,” Robinson said. “I usually do not take pictures every day, but I just recently got a point and shoot camera so I can start just taking pictures everywhere I go. In 10 years from now, you’re not gonna be able to really look back and see what you did in college but I think if you take those pictures every day, you’ll appreciate them in the long run.”
Dan Dreisbach, a junior visual communication design major, is the secretary of the club. He emphasized the importance of a photographer’s relationship with their subject.
“For photography, especially portrait photography, you have a relationship with your subject,” Dreisbach said. “I know me personally I’m very awkward in front of the camera. So part of taking pictures of somebody is making them feel comfortable, getting to know your subject, like knowing what they think they like about themselves or what they don’t like and trying to capture the best part of what they like.”
To learn more about the club or if you have any questions, reach out to @msu.photoclub on Instagram.