Grand photos

 The Photo Club of Sun City Grand in Surprise, AZ


Through Their Lens

A Series of Interviews with Active Grand Photos Volunteers

Richard Coles

A past Club President, Richard has volunteered as speaker coordinator, education class instructor, donation liaison, marketing coordinator, Board Secretary and photo shoot team leader.

When did your interest in photography begin? Both parents were very creative in different ways but my first opportunity for true creative expression came through singing solo on stage from age six to twelve. With little money for a camera or film, photos in books, magazines, and art in galleries caught my attention at an early age. After graduating my engineering master’s program, I bought a Canon Nikkormat with a good 50 mm lens. I left for a couple of weeks to travel in Europe and haven’t really ceased exploring.

How did you arrive at Grand? Margaret Anne and I had been working at a hectic pace for several decades and concluded it was time to adapt to a more relaxed lifestyle in a warmer climate. We visited Grand in 2001 and decided this was going to be our new home. We were successful in getting jobs in Phoenix, moved to Grand in 2002, commuted daily, obtained U.S. citizenship and eventually retired.

What do you most enjoy about Grand Photos? It offers a welcoming community of creative people with whom I’ve developed close personal friendships. Here, I found others interested in exploring the southwest region while sharing and improving their photography skills. The Club offers wonderful opportunities to learn and share images through its classes, photo shoots, SIG’s and other activities.

How did you find yourself in various volunteer roles? Just after joining the Club in 2009, Wayne Wellan and Dik Salsbury met with me to ask if I’d coordinate outside speakers for the monthly meetings. Shortly after that, since I enjoy exploring, I began to lead a lot of photo shoots which offer opportunities to see new places, share photo tips, and develop lasting friendships. Several years ago, the collapse of the DSLR sales and rise in popularity of smartphones posed significant risks to the relevance of our Club so I formed a marketing team to get the word out that our members take photos with any camera. We also developed and trademarked the ‘We Click’ logo. After I served 3-years as Secretary of the Music Club there was an unexpected vacancy on the Grand Photos Board, on which I was asked to serve as Secretary. The idea for the ‘Through Their Lens’ series of articles came to me as a meaningful way to shine a light on active volunteers in our Club who enable it to offer welcoming and enriching experiences. These volunteers contribute daily, knowing that Grand Photos will only be as vibrant as we make it.

What is it about photography that has maintained your interest over so many years? Photographic technologies, that help improve, significantly alter or create unique images, are constantly changing. These inspire and challenge my creativity.

What are your favorite things to photograph? My natural curiosity leads me everywhere and we enjoy travel which has allowed us to see different parts of the world. I grew up in a Canadian community with a strong connection to the land and the sea so I do enjoy the ‘magic’ at the boundaries, where the wing meets the sky, sky meets the land or the land meets the sea. People are also fascinating to watch and photograph. Night photography, abstract, minimalism, black & white, and street photography are all favorites.

Previous editions of Through Their Lens:

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