You can’t say it often enough: Corona is a spoilsport. The 2021 pandemic ruined the tenth birthday of the Vaterstetten photo club, for example. The “autumn exhibition” in Zorneding’s town hall, which normally opens with hundreds of visitors, is still hanging today. And now we can celebrate together – with a slide show, entertaining speeches and a lot of exchange: On Friday, April 29th, the photo club invites you to the finissage in the Zorneding town hall. “Unfortunately, this time we can’t only serve appetizers and sips because of the conditions,” explains organizer Josef Pfiffer. Nevertheless, the anticipation of the unexpected event at the end of the exhibition is clearly noticeable.
how it all started
In the spring program of 2011 at the adult education center in Vaterstetten, there was an invitation addressed to everyone “who had fallen prey to photo fever”, regardless of previous knowledge or preferences. “It was about founding a photo club for Vaterstetten under the umbrella of the VHS, which should organize itself to a large extent,” explains Holger Oesterling, who had issued the invitation as a pedagogical employee at the educational institution and himself a passionate photographer. His idea: There should be a network of photographers on site who can learn with and from each other.
And so it happened. The first evening was a complete success. “Although only a few lousy registrations had been received, the room was soon overcrowded,” Oesterling recalls. And already at this first meeting, the first excursions, further appointments and organizational framework were agreed – the photo club Vaterstetten was born.
“Photography keeps you young”: more than half of the members have been there from the start
Since March 2011, the club has existed as a permanent group of around 30 members who meet regularly, more than half of whom have been there from the start, around two thirds are male. The oldest member is Frank Brasch, the 80-year-old also runs the VHS senior computer club. “Yes, photography keeps you young,” says Oesterling and grins. No wonder, because the club is extremely lively: there have been and still are a large number of joint ventures, excursions, practical and theoretical workshops. Special topics such as concert or drop photography, macro, landscape or portrait shots, equipment reviews or the presentation of new software for image processing – everything has its place at the club meetings. In order to be able to cope with all this better, individual, subject-related working groups were even founded. The direct line to the adult education center brings a number of advantages, says Oesterling, for example you can use their networks or their computer rooms for joint image development on the PC.
There are also regular internal competitions, for example for the “Picture of the Month” or for the covers of VHS programmes. But the people from Vaterstetten are also always successful with external tenders. Bettina Obert, for example, won the magazine with her picture “Reconquest”. photo forum first prize in the “Architecture meets Nature” category.
After many years, Oesterling handed over the organization of all this to Josef Pfiffer, who is supported in the operative business by Hilde Jüngst and Uli Steger. There has long been an internet forum, a kind of digital bulletin board, for finding appointments and an uncomplicated exchange, “so that we can concentrate fully on the essentials at our club evenings,” says Oesterling.
Since every photographer attaches importance to the fact that his pictures find an audience, the club has always paid special attention to exhibitions. In the past eleven years, shows have been shown in the adult education center in Vaterstetten, in the Hellabrunn Zoo, in libraries, old people’s homes, a hospital, in various town halls in the district and even open-air at the street festival in Vaterstetten. “And the response from the visitors was consistently great,” says Pfiffer. Visitor records are regularly broken in the Zorneding town hall, which has become the club’s main exhibition venue: most recently, the photographers were able to welcome well over 200 guests at the vernissage there.
If you want to take part, you have to come and try it out for a while
Pfiffer is happy to say that there is still a lot of interest in internal club life – almost too much. That’s why the following generally applies: Anyone who wants to take part must come and get a taste of each other for a while. However, there is no space available at the moment. According to Oesterling, the reason for the limited admission are two problems: Firstly, a larger group is difficult to organize, especially with regard to the necessary premises. And secondly, that the club as a VHS course, in contrast to other photo workshops, costs next to nothing. “That’s why we want to prevent anyone just wanting to pick up information without really getting involved.”
In terms of content, however, the photo club does not make any specifications: from purism to experiment – “everything must be allowed,” says Pfiffer, and Osterling agrees. Different currents are always an enrichment, he says. Because that’s exactly what it’s all about: inspiring one another and opening one’s eyes to unfamiliar perspectives. “We trust and help each other.” After all, another person always has a different view of a photo – and that’s nice.
You can convince yourself of the diversity of the club on a recently redesigned one home page, or currently with a visit to the autumn exhibition in Zorneding town hall. The range of topics there alone is very broad, ranging from technology and industry to architecture of various colors to landscapes – and these from the desert (Gerhard Brüningk) to Lake Chiemsee (Wolfgang Fraas). There is brightly colored stuff like Irmi Wurdack’s “Passagen” or Axel Steiger’s “Nachtfahrt” alongside black and white restraint like Wolfgang Schneidt’s “Sauna-Bahnhof”. The cover picture is a light painting by Bettina Obert: In “Tanz in der Nacht” she played with a longer exposure time and “twisted telephoto”. The photographer was able to elicit a dancing swing from the illuminated large-scale sculpture “Tiger and Turtle” near Duisburg.
Josef Pfiffer, on the other hand, skilfully uses the medium of reflection in “Umadum im Werksviertel”. The photo shows a girl kneeling on muddy gravel, but the desolation is not all-encompassing: the shadow of a Ferris wheel can be seen in a puddle. There are panoramas of water and clouds, such as Hilde Jüngst’s “Himmel in Flammen”, but also shots that focus on a detail, such as a “Swallowtail” by Frank Brasch or the undercarriage of a steam locomotive by Waltraud Plutta. On the other hand, Eleisa Caro’s “Ice Drop”, an eye-catcher white on white, shows how much effect can be achieved with absolute reduction.
Wolfgang Fraas has chosen a motif from the district of Ebersberg, he stages a highly romantic bridge at the Zinneberg monastery, while Michael Lamla has directed his gaze up into the sky, to the “North American fog”. All this and much more can be discovered at the autumn exhibition 2021, which this time will not end until spring. And who knows, maybe the next show can even be opened with a vernissage.
Autumn exhibition of the Vaterstetten photo club in Zorneding town hall, can be visited during normal opening hours. Finissage on Friday, April 29th at 7 p.m. Online gallery at www.fotoclub-vaterstetten.de.