MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Photographs capture a fleeting moment for posterity.
For military families with frequent moves and changes, a snapshot can capture details that may otherwise fade away in the wake of new memories in new places.
Camp Lejeune Photographers, a casual Facebook group not associated with the base, made up of members of the local area and military community, hosted an exhibit to support a local veterans group in Swansboro, N.C., June 22.
The group is comprised of has more than 170 photographers of all levels and expertise who share advice, tips and inspiration through the social media site’s pages. The group’s members donated 26 photos to showcase and sell to support the Swansboro chapter of Veterans of Foreign Wars.
The group began when Paulina Gwaltney’s husband, a Marine, received orders to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.
Gwaltney knew she would need a community to be a part of when she arrived in North Carolina. Taking inspiration from a social media based photography group at her husband’s last duty station in Germany, she created Camp Lejeune Photographers. An exhibit, like the one organized by Gwaltney, is a great confidence booster – no matter what stage a photographer is on their journey, said Sandy Tyson, a professional photographer and member of the group.
Tyson joined the group to meet likeminded people whose “eyes didn’t glaze over” when she spoke about photography, she said. She found a wide variety of photographers who share her passion in the group.
Gwaltney describes the group as a “laid-back bunch of people who love photography.”
For Gwaltney, photography is a part of everyday life. She documents big changes in her life and everyday occurences, such as moves she has made as a military spouse and the variety of furniture she has had over the years. She has also photographed landmarks throughout Europe and military aircraft.
She considers herself a student of YouTube and Google, but from her self-taught beginnings Gwaltney has made the leap from amateur to professional.
The group’s experts provide guidance in a bully free environment, said Gwaltney. The group is moderated to ensure members are providing constructive criticism rather than harsh, undue judgments.
Such oversight means the group fosters growth in its members rather than discouraging budding artists. The exhibit is a way for members to showcase their skills and see for themselves how far they have come.
“It’s great to see their faces when they realize their talent,” said Gwaltney. “I’m so happy they can get their stuff out.”
Gwaltney said she plans to hold another exhibit in the future and hopes to schedule it before Christmas.
For more information about Camp Lejeune Photographers, visit facebook.com/groups/CLPhotographers.