Why I’ve Stepped Back From GPWSW And What’s The Future Plans?

Anyone who has known me through photography has known me through a number of ways, but possibly the number one way you’ll know me is through the group I set up in 2017 called Great Photography Walks South Wales (formally Neath Port Talbot / NPT). A few weeks ago I decided to step back as the group enters its sixth year, and there are a number of reasons why.

Before I even begin, GPWSW is like a child to me. It’s been in every part of my life for the last 6 years, and from the very first meeting of the group in 2017 which attracted just 4 of us, through to more recent times when there have been 20+ individuals meeting up in person, it’s been brilliant. On top of that of course there’s the Facebook group, which has attracted photographers of all levels which has also been a huge, if not bigger, part of my life.

Why am I stepping back?

This is the thing, I only ever set up GPWSW to be a temporary thing, and if I was to carry on running the group, it was always meant to be a fortnightly or monthly meeting event. Obviously, that didn’t last long and we were soon into weekly meets taking place, alongside a busy Facebook page and constant organising.

The whole concept of Great Photography Walks was to be focused on photography. This would include a little group chat about cameras, plus then going out to achieve certain images. It started off very well, and indeed, over the years, the Facebook side of this has been helping people learn photography, from the basics, through to editing images.

As time has gone along, the emphasis seems to have gone from photography, and turned to walking. Sometimes walking miles and miles, almost like a hike with the camera. Although times like this are always welcome, when it’s weekly, for me it just become monotonous. The last few months I’ve been staying at the back of the groups of people to try and recapture taking images and using technique etc, but there is always the pressure of the majority of the group just wanting to get around whatever venue we are at, and just snapping as fast as they can.

And talking of pressure, that’s another thing. Since 2016, week in and week out I’ve been deeply involved with my “little monster” as I began to call it. I had created a monster which needed constant attention. All my time taken up thinking, planning, organising and keeping the group alive. It’s a huge responsibility, especially then on the meets, to ensure people are safe and everyone is enjoying. I know all the meets are at their own risk, but there’s always that nagging feeling in the back of your head… “What if…”.

I have met some of the most amazing people with GPWSW. There’s no denying I’ve made some friends for life. And while I’m stepping back, one of my best friends I’ve made is looking after things and keeping the group running. I know it’s in good hands, and I wish them all the best.

Future Plans

I have a few plans for the future, while I’m taking a break from the group. I have set aside a major project (or two), as I want to get a book started. The details of this can be found at my new From Project To Print page on my website.

I’m also thinking about doing something else. On my few weeks away from the group, realising all that’s missing from it, I am contemplating something very different, and for people who really want to get the most from their photography.

“Street Shoot Therapy” is an idea I’ve been pondering for a while now, but I’ve always been very conflicted with what’s going on with GPWSW. This is something very new and bold, and will attract the people who want to get more out of photography. The idea being that a limited number of us, once a fortnight or every three weeks meet up in a town or city for photography. This will be a day thing, not just a “how fast can I get from A to B” thing. Meeting around 10am, wandering slowly around looking for street shots, architecture, gardens and then stopping for food before continuing. Each visit will be planned with target compositions for each photographer to take amongst the street shots themselves.

It will be a genuine photography day out, only focused on taking images, not about how fast we can get around. It’ll be a social event, having a meal and drink half way through the day as a rest spot. It’ll be a learning experience, discussing and trying out techniques with those joining us. It’s everything that GPW was supposed to be, but instead of stressing about where we can go from week to week, it won’t matter if locations are repeated multiple times.

My Photography

I have been really off my game with photography lately, and not picked up the cameras much at all other than to photograph family. Much of that is down to how I’ve been feeling with everything, plus the horrible weather we’ve had, plus it feels like I’ve been taking the same photos, day in and day out for the last numerous years.

I have so many things planned in my head, but most importantly, I’m going to be focusing on photography books. At the moment, I have albums, and as nice as those are, I want it to be more. I want images, text, the whole story. They will all be recorded, the process from start to finish, in my new “From Project To Print” section of the website.

Great Photography Walks South Wales will always be my baby, always be the something I can be proud of and no doubt I will attend a meet or two in the future, but at the moment, it is something I just want… make that NEED… a break from.

Until next time… Keep reading through the website, there is a lot to see!

Published by Mark G.Adams

Fujifilm And Olympus Documentary Photographer, YouTuber & Blogger.

4 thoughts on “Why I’ve Stepped Back From GPWSW And What’s The Future Plans?

  1. Sometimes things don’t turn out the way you expect Mark. I made a similar commitment to Scouting when my kids were young. Soon, it was taking 20 hours out of my week. Good on you for realizing what you are missing most. All the best, getting busy with photography. Cheers. Allan

    Liked by 1 person

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