In the latest installment of our occasional conversations with Fort Worth newsmakers, Ken Spencer, vice president of the Fort Worth Camera Club, spoke with arts and culture editor Marcheta Fornoff about the group’s new exhibit at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center, the gallery space managed by Arts Fort Worth.

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity. For the unabridged version, please listen to the audio file attached to this article.

Ken Spencer: I’m Kenneth Spencer, vice president of the Fort Worth Camera Club.

Marcheta Fornoff: Tell me about the Camera Club’s new exhibit at the Community Arts Center. 

Spencer: We try to get as many prints as we can from people to show at the exhibit. We have print contests every month. And they’re matted and they look nice, but they look the best properly framed and at the Art Center under nice lights. So that lets people have a chance to see our work. 

If you go…

Exhibit: Now through Sept. 3
Admission: Free
Address: 1300 Gendy Street
              Fort Worth, TX 76107
Hours: 9 a.m. -5 p.m.
Monday – Saturday

Fornoff: Talk a little bit more about these competitions. Who can enter? Are there themes? Give us a little more info on how those work.

Spencer: We turn in our competition entries at the first of the month, some are prints and some are digital files. And then they’re taken off and judged by a local photographer. On the second meeting of the month, we get the awards and scores on those prints and digital (photos).

Fornoff: Are there any themes, or is it sort of an open call for whatever people have been shooting lately? 

Spencer: We used to have themes, (like) close subjects, but with the (COVID-19) virus fewer people have been attending and people don’t need to get out and about anymore than they have to. And so we’ve done away with close contests for the interim.

Fornoff: What is unique or special about this round of photos? 

Spencer: This is the first time that our members have had a chance to show their work for some time. We had the gallery reserved for 2020, but then the virus came along, so that got put off.

Fornoff: Talk a little bit more about the mission and the scope of the Fort Worth Camera Club. 

Spencer: We’ve been here since 1930, and people that want to improve their photography come and show their work. We have a lot of beginners and we teach them some photography (techniques) if they have questions.

In our competitions, they can look at the competition (entries) and hear the judging, and that gives them a good idea of what it takes to make a good photograph. 

Fornoff: You also offer workshops and seminars, too. 

Spencer: Yeah, we have a workshop every month. 

A gold frame surrounds a photo of the interior of an abandoned industrial building covered in colorful graffiti
“Abandoned Incinerator Colors” by Ken Spencer is one of several photos on display from the Fort Worth Camera Club. (Marcheta Fornoff | Fort Worth Report)

Fornoff: I’m curious: how long have you been in the Fort Worth Camera Club?

Spencer: Since 1986. 

Fornoff: What has kept you going back? What value do you get from participating?

Spencer: Seeing other people’s work and you can always learn more. And so if you watch other people’s work and talk to other people that are there doing photography, some like portraits, some like landscapes, we have one guy that’s taking deep space pictures and so it’s always something to learn. 

Fornoff: Do you have any tips for beginning photographers or photographers who just want to up their game? 

If you go…

Meetings: On the first and third Thursday of the month (except December)
Time: 7-9 p.m.
Address: 3500 Camp Bowie Blvd
              Fort Worth, TX 76107
Membership: Learn more here

Spencer: Sure. Come to the camera club.

Fornoff: When is your next meeting?

Spencer: (We meet) the first and third Thursday of every month. 

Fornoff: Is there anything I didn’t ask you about that you want to mention or you think is important to know. 

Spencer: Well, if you get down and see the exhibit, you’ll see quite a variety of work. There’s some portrait work, there’s some landscapes, quite a variety of work because our members. It’s funny, if we go on an outing to a certain site, we’ll get a variety of pictures from that very (same) site. Some will meet close up, some will be overall shot, some landscapes. It’s funny how different people will see different things in a scene, and it’s interesting to see what people see. 

Fornoff: That seems like a good lesson to learn even outside of photography. 

Spencer: It is. 

Fornoff: Thank you so much for your time. 

Marcheta Fornoff covers the arts for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at marcheta.fornoff@fortworthreport.org or on Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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Marcheta Fornoff

For just over seven years Marcheta Fornoff performed the high wire act of producing a live morning news program on Minnesota Public Radio. She led a small, but nimble team to cover everything from politics...