Karen Schlechter, Photographic Society of Philadelphia

Karen Schlechter, Photographic Society of Philadelphia at Cafe Twelve

The Photographic Society of Philadelphia is the oldest photography society in America and the third oldest in the world. The society is not a camera club, instead it is a forum to educate, share and celebrate the art of photography. After nearly shutting down because of lack of attendance, the society has rebounded since monthly meetings have moved to the venerable Plastic Club at 247 Camac Street, the Avenue of the Artists. The Photographic Society of Philadelphia now boasts 120+ members, holds monthly educational forums at the Plastic Club, monthly meetings and photography shows at Hummus Restaurant at 212 South11th Street and a long running photography show at Cafe Twelve, 212 South 12th Street, Philadelphia.

Cafe Twelve offers the members a high visibility venue to display their work with a dozen photographers each exhibiting one of their works and one photographer having a mini-solo show with six works. The system is simple – picture hangers stay in one place so as not to damage the walls and works are switvhed out monthly with the solo show hanging for two months. The current solo show is by photographer Karen Schlechter who chose an unusual way to display her art.

Karen Schlechter, Photographic Society of Philadelphia

Karen SchlechterPhotographic Society of Philadelphia at Cafe Twelve

Karen and DoN talked about her work at a recent First Tuesday meeting of the Photographic Society of Philadelphia at Cafe Twelve. I asked Karen how she produced the un-framed prints, a risky move for a coffee house show, so that they show the detail without reflections on glass or parts of the image cut off by mats.

“I used a company called Printmoz.com and I had everything printed directly to gator board. Gator board is a light weight, durable, dense foam composite, denser than foam core board. It comes in a couple of different depths, I used 3/16th inch depth because I like the slim line look. I didn’t have to worry about matting the photos and you can see the whole photo, the full frame shot.”

What kind of camera are you working with?

“All of these were taken with the Canon EOS 40D 10.1MP Digital SLR Camera, digital. Although I do still sometimes shoot with film.”

Do you make any changes with Photoshop?

“It depends. Most of the time I tweak the hue and contrast and the lighting a little bit. Some of the images that are in the show I didn’t even touch at all.”

Karen Schlechter, Photographic Society of Philadelphia

Karen SchlechterPhotographic Society of Philadelphia at Cafe Twelve

How long have you been a photographer?

“Since my parents gave me a Brownie camera when I was about eight years old, maybe younger. At that point in time my Mom was saying I was taking better pictures than my Dad. I can remember this because we went on a vacation to Williamsburg, Va., and my Dad and I were both fascinated by the way one of the gates closed because they had a cannon ball on a chain and it was an automatic close on the gate. Everybody thought I took a better picture of it than my Dad did. I still have my Brownie tucked away, I remember I thought it was the coolest thing around because it had this little camera that used a flash bulb that you put into it and shot 120 film.”

How long have you been involved with the Photographic Society of Philadelphia?

“Three or four years. I like the diversity of the membership and what everybody shoots with and what they shoot. Because we run such a gamut, there’s people that are old school film, there’s people who use all digital, there’s people that mesh the two and the subject matter that everybody takes is always interesting. I’m an administrator on the Facebook page and what we’ve done is linked the Tumblr and the Facebook page together so if you post something to the Tumblr it automatically posts to the Facebook page and gets a wider distribution. And we have a Twitter account.

You have your own pages, don’t you?

“I have Mujetdebois on Tumblr and Mujetdebois on Flickr.

What do you like about photography?

“I was talking to David Swift earlier and I was saying how much my photography has changed. The fact is I’ve gone from these like landscape-y things to people and faces, and I’ve noticed most of my stuff has been getting closer and closer. And more intimate. I’m practically shooting macro, even though I’m not, but I’m isolating the subject. And I’m trying to figure out, ‘What does that really mean?’ Does it mean I want to take things out of their environment or am I wanting to isolate myself into that environment.”

Written by DoN Brewer, images courtesy of Karen Schlechter.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

RobL December 6, 2013 at 10:59 pm

Congrats to Karen on her solo show at Cafe 12!

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