JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – A collection of works is focusing on area photographers.

The Greater Johnstown Camera Club’s members-only “The Art of the Lens” exhibition will be on display Monday through Oct. 24 in the Goldhaber-Fend gallery at the Community Arts Center of Cambria County, 1217 Menoher Blvd., Westmont.

Members chose the photographs they wanted to enter in the show, including still lifes, flowers, pets, wildlife, travel and landscapes.

“We ask our members to submit at least one piece for the show, so some of the artists may have as many as 15 pieces,” said Linda Fleming, president of the club.

“The show speaks to all the different experience levels,” she said.

“People who are newer to the club get a little taste of what it’s like to choose a photo worthy of a show, matte and present the piece, and folks who are more advanced get to display more of their works to the public.”

‘Little bit of everything’

She said there is no limit on the topics for the photographs.

“Typically, we have a little bit of everything,” Fleming said.

“One of the things that is neat about our club is that people have different interests and they are very divergent. We have some people who are avid bird watchers and they photograph birds all the time.

“We have those who enjoy sports photography and we have travelers, so we have a lot of photographs from venues all over the world.”

Fleming said the title of the show portrays members snapping a piece of art with their cameras.

Top-notch exhibits

“Art is in the eye of the beholder, and so each of us gets to present our version of art through this exhibit,” Fleming said.

She said the club’s exhibitions are top-notch.

“The work always blows me away,” Fleming said.

“I’m amazed by the talent in our group and in our town. I’m impressed with the beginner members of the club and the work they have to offer. And, I’m inspired by the more experienced members of the club who have more technique expertise. It always exceeds my expectations.”

The display will feature more than 100 pieces from 15 club members.

“We don’t have a limit and photos don’t need to be something taken this year,” Fleming said.

“So many times people go back in their archives and take a look at previous works and show it.”

She said viewers will gain a better understanding of the skilled photographers in the area.

“Their eyes will be opened to the level of talent and they’ll probably see some things they didn’t expect,” Fleming said.

“I’m really hoping the attendees will take away how photography is an art form.

“When they see all the lovely pieces we have, they’ll walk away knowing that when we snap our camera and take a picture, we’re producing a piece of art just like a painter or sculpture.”

Appealing collection

Angela R. Godin, executive director of the arts center, said the exhibition is an appealing collection.

“It’s something that people really look forward to because there’s so many different people from different communities and walks of life who are a part of the camera club,” she said.

Godin said she’s always impressed with the quality of the work.

“It’s wonderful,” she said.

“There are so many subjects and materials that are captured in the shots. You can look at each piece and really see the purpose and what the artist wanted to capture and convey.”

Godin said those seeing the exhibit will experience shock and awe.

“You’ll see how wonderful the work is,” she said.

“It’s very diverse and attractive and would appeal to just about everybody.

“What’s so unique and special about the Greater Johnstown Camera Club is they really work together. When they do their different meetings or events, they’re talking to one another from different backgrounds and skill levels and trying to improve upon each other and it’s a camaraderie they have.”

Godin said that the club has been an integral part of the arts center for many years.

“We’re the home location for their meetings and some activities, so being able to feature them each year really keeps it fresh in people’s minds that we have all these diverse photographers in our community,” she said.

“Getting to showcase these works is very special.”

Opening reception

To celebrate the exhibition, an opening reception will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday.

Exhibiting club members will be on hand to discuss their works and answer questions.

“It’s a nice time for us to mingle and interact socially, and we love it when members of the public come and see what we have to offer,” Fleming said.

Light refreshments will be served.

There is no fee to attend.

Many of the pieces will be available for purchase following the exhibition.

In addition, the exhibit will be featured during Rosie’s Bookpalooza that will be held Oct. 22 through 24.

Founded in 1938

According to club history, the camera club was founded in 1938 by John D. Hesselbein, a Johnstown street photographer.

On Jan. 22, 1940, the club produced its first public exhibition of 100 photographs at Franklin Street Methodist Church. That first showing was the foundation of the club’s traditional members-only exhibition.

With the ever-increasing popularity of digital cameras, the club has experienced a growth in membership over the past few years.

Club membership is comprised of people of all ages and various levels of photographic skills.

Top priority

Education remains a top priority of the club, which helps members to obtain the knowledge and skills that will enhance their abilities.

The club maintains a permanent, rotating photo display at Laurel View Village in Davidsville.

In addition, the club holds an annual public competition that is open to all photographers, sponsors the members-only show each year and takes field trips that offer additional photographic opportunities.

The club has about 25 members, and is accepting new people of all skill levels.

Typically, the club meets at 6:30 p.m. the first Thursday of each month at the arts center. The next in-person meeting will be held Thursday.

“We are predominantly an amateur club and have had a few professionals, but members of the public are welcome to attend one or two meetings to get a feel of what we offer,” Fleming said.

“Every meeting, we have an educational program and that can be a speaker or a how-to video on new techniques and improving your craft. We also recognize members who have had their photos published either locally or in national publications, as well as share photo opportunities that are available.”

She added that the club provides a social atmosphere for people with similar interests.

“The best part of the club is how generous people are with their time and advice,” Fleming said.

“Folks who have been doing this for a long time do not hesitate to share their expertise and what they’ve learned along the way with younger or more novice members.”

The membership fee is $25 for an individual or $30 for a family.

Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.

There is no fee to view the exhibition.

For more information, email president@johnstowncameraclub.org.

Kelly Urban is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. She can be reached at (814) 532-5073. Follow her on Twitter @KellyUrban25.

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