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Style Magazine

Focused on Fun

Apr 01, 2013 10:30AM ● By Style

Photos by Dante Fontana, © Style Media Group.

Art is a communal entity.

As surely as the artist may lock him or herself away to become fully immersed in their vision, one must share their art with the outside world for its purpose to be fully realized. From this sharing of ideas and thoughts we learn, we grow, and we gain a greater understanding of those around us. The need to share in this experience is what inspired our ancestors to paint on cave walls and why we have the Museum of Modern Art.

Kelly Ford—local Folsom Parks and Recreation coordinator for the Folsom Teen Council, senior classes and art classes—knew her passion for photography was something that could be enriched by interacting with other photography enthusiasts, hence last fall she chartered the FolPho Folsom Photography Club. “It was just by chance,” she says when asked how she decided to embark upon the adventure of working and learning with the bravest and brightest photographers in Folsom.

She had been enjoying photography classes at the 48 Natoma Art Center, expanding her knowledge and gaining experience, yet Ford found her interests going beyond the general topics of her studies. She began meeting outside regularly scheduled class time with fellow students, exchanging ideas and discussing ways in which they could expand their art form. Ford realized the invaluable learning experiences she and her friends were gaining from their informal meetings, so she had the idea to make the group bigger, opening up their gatherings to more people who would bring different ideas to the table. And so the FolPho Folsom Photography Club was born.

Ford likes to keep the natural feel of the group, and has yet to petition for members or advertise. Building the membership was an organic process and remains so as they near their one-year anniversary. “When I run into people, if they happen to talk about photography or take pictures, I invite them,” she explains. Professional photography experience is not necessary; FolPho is open to everyone in the Folsom area with an interest in taking pictures, from the hobbyist to the longtime professional.


Back row (L to R) Kelly Ford, Jordon Harris, Gene McKinnon;  Bottom row (L to R) Larry Klink, Heidi Onken

The key to FolPho’s success is the natural inclination to share one’s passion for their art with others. Ford cites the ability to learn more about style, technique and new approaches to basic form from the work of other photographers as one of the reasons to forge a bond with more local artists. “I know when I see a photo I really like, I try to look up the artist and find out more about their technique; I can find inspiration that way,” she says. From lens variations and lighting to editing software, one unique idea or approach can spark an entire series of work for artists like those in FolPho.
The group has been freeform in its infancy, mainly connecting by way of their open group on Facebook. Members drop by the page to ask questions, check for updates and share their recent work. “You get tips and tricks from other people,” Ford explains about the gregarious nature of the group. Settings, filters, backdrops and reflectors are all minute ways to take photography from fun to a fine art. By reaching out to each other, possibly more experienced photographers, Ford and the other members can take their photography to an entirely new level.

FolPho’s virtual meeting space is an amazing constellation of imagery, from still life to nature scenes and everything in between. You can spy vibrant abstracts of light and form followed by touching portraiture adorning the main page, all offered for perusal and praise by the group’s members. Yet this trust is not to be taken lightly. While FolPho is meant to educate and inspire, criticism is welcome.  

Ford currently hosts a weekly “one word” photography inspiration project, in which members of the group are encouraged to submit photographs that represent their interpretation of the word of the week to the group’s Facebook page. It’s a fun and creative way for members to get to know each other and become more familiar with other’s styles and techniques. In the coming months she also plans to organize photography outings in Folsom and the surrounding areas. The club recently ended their six-week-long exhibition in The Gallery at 48 Natoma and is looking forward to many more events and exhibitions in the near future.

For more information, visit