I hope everyone is well, and staying safe in these unprecedented times, and has still managed to get some photography done so far this summer. The number of members who have joined the Facebook chatroom and participated in the weekly competitions has been brilliant, and lots of fun.
Jennifer Moffat set the topic of colour last week - showing off that great creative photography can continue during the lockdown.
It was a hard decision for the committee to end last season early, but ultimately it turned out to be the right decision. However, I don't think any of us thought this was to become such an upheaval to our everyday lives.
During the last week, we have been contacted by a couple of speakers and judges who were booked for next season, seeking clarity on our plans. It takes a considerable effort to arrange for people to visit the club and the majority of them do it for little more than their travel expenses, so it is only fair and reasonable to make a decision as early as we can.
The committee has discussed this and made the difficult decision to cancel all guest speakers for the remainder of the calendar year. In all cases, I have written to the guests and asked them to reschedule for the following year, on the same equivalent date. I hope they will all agree to this and we don't miss out on them altogether.
Regarding judges, we feel it is crucial, in the absence of guest speakers, to continue the competition season. Therefore we have decided to revert all of the annual image competition rounds to PDI only, and I have written to the judges to ask them to judge remotely - either as an audio recording or as written comments that I can read. We can then prepare a narrated slideshow that will be broadcast on the relevant Tuesday night so that members can tune in at home.
Several clubs have moved towards using zoom video conferencing to hold meetings, which is undoubtedly an option that is open to us. Still, the committee is fearful that this would not be popular with all members, and we certainly don't want to alienate anyone. However, we do need to hold an AGM, and our current plan is to try to hold the AGM on the 1st of September using zoom. We will trial a committee meeting in the next few weeks to establish how this will all work and will issue further details in plenty of time.
If the AGM is a success, we can look to holding some subsequent club nights in this way. If it is not, we will look at other possible ways to provide some weekly content/entertainment by other means. All clubs are in the same boat, and we will be speaking to others to see what is working for them.
We hope very much that things can get back to some kind of normality in 2021, and the second half of the season can proceed as originally planned, but we will need to take stock in October/November and make a further decision in plenty of time. Guest speakers and judges for the second half of the season have been made aware of the plan of action.
In light of the above, it is unreasonable to expect members to pay a full subscription for the coming season. Hayley has nearly finished the magazine, which will be terrific (a whopping 100 pages), and we still need to cover the cost of this (and postage - issues will be posted to members upon enrolment for the new season). We propose that a reduced subscription fee of £20 per person will be charged for membership for the 2020-21 season - on the basis we will do our very best to provide as good a syllabus as we can while maintaining the competition schedule - at worst, in an all-digital form. New members will be welcome as always.
I appreciate that it seems very early to make such a decision. However, we believe it is the right thing to do; to provide some kind of certainty and commitment to doing our best to ride this out, amidst all the uncertainty and worry that surrounds everyday life just now.
I hope everyone understands the reasoning behind the decisions, and agrees that we are doing the right thing. As always, please do not hesitate to get in contact with any of the committee if you have any queries, comments or suggestions.