Photo club focused on fellowship, enjoyment

Jan. 25, 2014 @ 06:54 PM

Jerry Batchelor's interest in photography began during his days in the United States Army.

"It started many, many years ago," the Lee County native said. "But it proved to be a little too expensive with the film — to constantly take and get it developed. So after the Army, it was hit and miss until digital cameras came out."

Batchelor said he wanted to continue his hobby into retirement and was one of the charter members of the Sanford Area Photography Club.

"It's the fellowship more than anything," said Batchelor, who has served as the club’s president. "Meeting with people who have similar interests, and it's an excellent place to get additional knowledge."

The club, which has been in existence for four years, meets at 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of every month at the Lee County Enrichment Center, located at 1615 S. Third St. They hold competitions among club members and plan photo outing to various places across North and South Carolina, according to its current president Mary New.

Each of the meetings focus on a different photography-related topic, and New said they are interested in having professionals come to critique club members' work.

"We have people of all (skill) levels," she said. "We have a lot of fun. We laugh and have a good time."

New has taken pictures ever since she was a child and said taking photographs, in particular nature and wildlife shots, have been a passion for her. She often takes photos of birds outside of her home, naming each one as it perches on a bird feeder.

There are several individuals with similar photo interests at the club, she said, and the meetings offer them a chance to build off of one another.

"The enjoyment of interacting with other individuals who love photography," New said. "To learn as much as they are interested in (learning). To teach other people the knowledge they have about photography."

Bob Smith, another area photographer, started the club after realizing there was a core group of photographers in Sanford who were interested in meeting.

"Some people think we are professional photographers," Smith said. "We try and stress that we want to learn from one another and get better at our craft."

This hobby is a way of making friends, he said, and the fellowship has helped all of the members grow.

Club membership is $20 per year or $30 for a family per year. More information is available at


Want to Join?

What: Sanford Area Photography Club

Who: Anyone interested in photography, regardless of current skill level

When: At 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of every month

Where: The Lee County Enrichment Center, located at 1615 S. Third St.