Our photographer friend Ali on the island of Paros


Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,

Colossians 3:23


Many find community in church. At the age of forty-two when I started believing in God, that was the kind of community that became most meaningful to me. It was a place where I found kindred spirits—people who shared my faith.

But before I started following God, I found my most kindred spirits at Lions Gate Camera Club. The eighty to a hundred who were members when Wes and I joined in 1969 all shared a passion for photography. Every Thursday night we met to show slides and prints and to have workshop and showcase evenings.

When Wes and I joined, we knew little about making pictures. But by learning from others, including the judges who provided constructive critiques, we quickly caught on.

We went on local outings—by ourselves or with club members–trips out of town, as well as trips abroad. Our goal was always to come back with pictures that would do well in club competition. Looking back, I believe some might have considered our constant search for good photographs an obsession. But don’t the things we most like to do take over like that when they bring us satisfaction and joy?

In any case, that’s how it was for Wes and me for over half of our marriage. Photography gave our life something enjoyable to focus on—something to share with each other.

Becoming immersed in photography was not all this club offered me. This was the place where I came out of my shell. Having so much in common with others, I learned to become comfortable socially in a way I never had before. I came to feel at home amongst these friendly folks.

The club had a wide variety of activities and needed chairmen and assistants to fill the many positions. It wasn’t hard—even at first—to be an assistant. Later I was to take over chairing meetings like print competitions or workshops. Being chairman of a meeting wasn’t always easy for me because it involved speaking in front of the group. It took awhile before I overcame that anxiety.

Over the years I held many positions, even being president for a year. That was a big responsibility, especially during the year I served when the place we met at was the subject of strike action. We had to scramble to find another place.

Although my mental ill health must have shown at times, it never became an issue. I, like the others,  was a person who loved to make beautiful photographs. They looked at me as someone who had an interest in common with them. And no matter how I was at times, they enfolded me as one of their own.

Working hard to do the best I could, I started doing well at photography. This led to many interesting pursuits. I’ll spend a bit of time in the next episode to tell you about them.

This has been part 7 of my series My Journey from Patient to Leader. Read part 8: Growing