I was getting less and less out of the meetings and also contributing less to the other members. Years ago I would show photos and view the work of others from the club eagerly. As time past and as I found my own indvidual voice it got to be less and less rewarding to be part of the group. The people there are very good helpful and dedicated folks who love photography but there type of photography and mine did not mesh well. I was like a thorny cactus in a room filled with beautiful flowers. I was showing nude ladyboy portraits and hard edge documentary photography like "Families of the Dump" and the other club members were sponsoring trite photo project themes like "Reflections". We grew apart and were speaking different languages at the end.
Once every 5 or 6 years I might show up as a guest and say hi to the group but my time there as a regular member is over. It is best for the club that they bring in new members that fit the mold and style of everyone else. People are always most comfortable if others are just like themselves. I tended to be a boat rocker which sometimes caused tension and resentment within the club.
Having a dude or dudette member that actually shows up with photos is also very important! Attendance is something I could not guarantee any longer, not only because I work nights in security but also because I am planning extensive long term trips. Last year I attended only 1 meeting, the year before maybe 2. If everything goes right over the next 20 years of my life possibly 5-10 years will be spent in Asia-Africa-Central America working on my photography projects. It would be unfair and selfish of me to take up a spot in the group if it could benefit someone else. Plus of course if your not really wanted any longer there is no reason to hang on, it is best to smile, say thank you and leave.
If any of my former club members read this I would like to thank them very much for helping me in so many ways to become a better photographer and hopefully a better person. You are all good people and I will miss you, good luck and best wishes.
Keep shooting!! No excuses, make photographs!!!
'Ain't Photography Grand!"