Walter’s Mill Covered Bridge

Ronald Bruner's "Walter’s Mill Covered Bridge" is on display at Greater Johnstown Camera Club’s “Magic of the Ordinary” exhibition.

Members of the Greater Johnstown Camera Club are showcasing their works in a collection of photography.

The club’s members-only “Magic of the Ordinary” exhibition is on display through Oct. 30 in the Goldhaber-Fend Fine Arts Center 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 and area landscapes.

“Our former president Bryan Smith came up with the title and the exhibit to showcase members’ photos of everyday items,” said Linda Fleming, president of the Greater Johnstown Camera Club.

“These are things that members noticed and photographed. They may be things that other people might overlook in the busyness of their lives, but sometimes when you close in on the details of these common items with a camera, then the ordinary becomes magic.”

Other destinations

She said the show’s photographs also feature vistas and landscapes from locations such as the Mediterranean and Alaska and other travel destinations.

“In that respect, they certainly aren’t ordinary photos, but that’s why I think the exhibit has something for everybody,” Fleming said.

“It’s ordinary things that we see each day and these exquisite captures from far-away locations that we might just dream about.”

The display features 134 pieces from 20 club members.

“The number is higher than in the past few years and that’s quite remarkable given that members haven’t had nearly the level of opportunity this year because of COVID, and we’ve been behind the eight ball with some of our meetings being done remotely,” Fleming said.

“Everybody worked really hard and came through in spades, so we’re really excited about the number of pictures we have this year.”

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

“People are always amazed that these are works by amateur photographers, many of whom are just hobbyists and do this in their spare time,” Fleming said.

“Each of us in the club has a sub passion, something that really speaks to us and is our specialty, and all you have to do is look at the work to see the passion that each artist has for his or her work.”

Fleming’s hope is the exhibition will inspire people to look closer at the world around them.

“Many of these photos just took a minute to notice something kind of common, but by focusing the lens on something up close, we pick out these details that make it magnificent,” Fleming said.

“I hope by looking at these things, especially here in western Pennsylvania in the fall, exhibit- goers will see what’s right under their noses and the spectacular things in our community.”

‘Super captivating’

Angela R. Godin, executive director of the Community Arts Center of Cambria County, said the exhibition is an appealing collection.

“Seeing the attractive variety of vibrant colors and diverse shots makes it super captivating and it’s quite the display,” she said.

“It’s very exciting to walk into the gallery with the facility having been updated with new flooring, wall carpeting and ceiling and it’s so attractive, so the pieces kind of jump off the walls at you.”

Godin said people who see the show will be blown away by the variety of photos.

“Each piece is very specific to what that artist wanted to capture and that’s clear in every piece you see,” she said. 

Godin added that the Greater Johnstown Camera Club has been an integral part of the arts center for many years.

“There’s such a great variety of seasoned photographers who are always encouraging new photographers or those new to the area to join and become a part of what they share,” she said.

“The fact that we get to showcase these works by such a positive group is very special.”

Many of the pieces will be available for purchase following the exhibition and range in price from $10 to $100.

The camera club was founded in 1938 by John D. Hesselbein, a Johnstown street photographer who wanted to promote the art of photography in the area.

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, which continues to this day.

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 who all have a love of photography.

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 50 members, and it 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 Community Arts Center of Cambria County, but with the ongoing COVID-19 concerns, members have been meeting via Zoom.

“People can come to a meeting or two before they even decide to join and can see what we’re all about,” Fleming said.

“Every meeting we offer a half-hour program on some technical aspect of photography, so either someone will present a program on their particular interest or we’ll watch a video on new techniques. There’s always something to learn. Our members are so generous with their time and their talents and always eager to answer questions.” 

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

“Even when we have our banquets or dinners, people are talking about photography and I always get some tips,” Fleming said.

Gallery hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. There is no fee to view the exhibition.

Those attending are asked to wear masks and practice social distancing.

For safety purposes, visitors can enter directly into the gallery from an outside door.

For more information, visit www.johnstowncameraclub.org or 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.

Recommended for you