Posted by: 6x6pix | July 28, 2011

YOU. Are. the Best.

Some BPC members may already know that three of my four co-assistant-organizers and I are moving on from the organization. I won’t go into details here of the past week’s events, or the reasons we were given for the mass dismissal; some of you will hear versions of it from others, I’m sure (and I’ll tell you mine if you ask). But here, I want to say thanks to all the members I’ve met, past and present, for inspiring me, making me laugh, and for keeping this group interesting for me for the past six years.

When I joined BPC in February of 2005, it was a meetup.com group of about 150. I instantly felt at home with the members I met, and within a year of joining, I was heavily involved in leading photowalks and other shooting-centered outings and workshops. I continued to do this into 2010, but the peak of this activity for me was in the summer and fall seasons of ’07 and ’08, when I led, on average, about 3 outings per month, with groups ranging from 3 to 45 members (averaging 12-18 per outing).

At the start of 2009 I shifted my focus, starting the BPC Facebook page and this blog to increase communication and exposure opportunities for members, and to raise awareness of BPC outside the group. My job (the paying one) is in web/marketing/social media, so this was a natural area for me to contribute to the group (and our founder, Banafsheh, was at that time still notoriously “anti-online,” so there was a big hole to fill in our communication and marketing outreach). Fellow assistant coordinator Alicia Carlson and I developed the majority of the content for the BPC blog (another assistant organizer, Jeff, sometimes contributed as well), and we’ve posted regularly on the Facebook page for two and a half years, creating several new ways for members to share their work and their news. I enjoyed doing all this, and met a lot of wonderful photographers, many of whom are my good friends today.

So I want to thank everyone — BPC members and others — who’ve supported these efforts by submitting images and content, reading and engaging on posts, etc. And to all the members who came on my outings over the years, in rain, sun, heat, cold, wind, snow, rough seas and fog so thick you could slice it with a knife — you made those outings worthwhile and fun for me, and to those still with the group, I hope you continue to do great things with BPC, and that it can do great things for you.

— Bonnie

(As of today, I haven’t left BPC, but Banafsheh told the former assistant organizers a few days ago that she’s refocusing the group to “work with Amateurs [and] with kids,” and right now there aren’t a lot of events on the calendar that I’m likely to attend (and I won’t be scheduling any myself, obviously ;-).

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Responses

  1. Do you know why all the BPC events cost money now? I only joined 2 years ago but there were a lot of events then (some you led, some Jeff) that were free, but since last year nearly everything is workshops that costs money, or things that are public anyway like gallery openings or those events at Hunts where someone wants to sell us something. And the meetings are the same thing over and over again, in a place I wouldn’t put prisoners in.

    Anyway thank you for all your fun events and teaching me how to load a Holga!

  2. Great post, Bonnie. You gave so much to the BPC over the years. We’re so happy to have met you and become friends with you.

  3. Thanks so much, both of you. And Anand: the feeling is very mutual!

    RJ: Sorry, I don’t know the answer to your question… maybe Banafsheh will respond here.
    (And, FWIW, I think the building where the meetings are held is kind of fun, in a creepy way… it’s not hard to imagine something in the Hostel series being shot there, for instance :-D )

  4. I left this meetup for the same reasons RJ raised. I understand that there are expenses involved for activities of any kind. But as time goes by, I can’t help but wonder if the organizer(s) are profiting from them, either monetarily or otherwise. For transparency’s sake, they should publish an annual report detailing how the money is spent. Members can then decide if it is a good deal for them, or suggest better ways to spend the money.

    BTW, my comments apply to other meetup groups as well.

  5. KR, you can (and should) ask Banafsheh Ehtemam for that info. As a 501(c) non-profit, BPC is required by law to make its latest Form 990 (annual IRS filing form) and its exemption application (the original application for non-profit status) available to anyone who asks for them. The 990 details the money coming in, and where it’s going. There are IRS fines for failure to provide the info so I’m sure it will be provided if you ask. By all means, request it if you have these questions.

  6. Well I was curious after reading earlier comments and I looked up the BPC in the official database of 501 organizations and guess what, its not listed.

    According to the IRS the BPC is NOT a registered 501c3 or 501 of ANY kind. This is a matter of public record and you can look it up on the IRS website:
    http://www.irs.gov/charities/article/0,,id=96136,00.html

    If this group claims to be a nonprofit group, that is fraud. I won’t be giving them any money.

  7. I’d already decided to let my membership lapse because the BPC has really gone downhill in the past year or so. If you look at the calendar right now, there is NOTHING on it — no upcoming events at all. As others point out above, in past years there were always great, FREE events year-round, many opportunities to get out and see a part of town (or someplace out of town) I hadn’t seen before, and shoot some photos. Now all the events are demos or book signings that aren’t even organized by anyone in the BPC, or they cost money. The group has just really gone downhill, I’m so glad I found this post because I was starting to think it’s just me since there is no discussion about the state of the group on the discussion board or anything (meetup site). Thank you for posting this.

  8. I have little original to add, except to share in the lamentation for what the club has become: a honey pot for the organizer. The fun runs out when she only values activities from which she profits.

    I’ve been very busy, but I think there is a demand for “the old club model” – meeting somewhere near Kenmore Square, on the Green Line for easy access by BU and BC and Emerson students, with shoots around the city that don’t need a car to reach. There are plenty of inexpensive, business-lunch places that are pretty dead in the evening that would welcome 15-20 of us.

    Post if you’re interested.

    Mel

  9. Thanks for commenting, Jenn and Mel.

    Jenn, there has occasionally been discussion on the meetup message board about the “state of the group” … very sadly, those threads tend to be deleted after a day or so.

    Mel, I’ll spread the word about your idea via Facebook and Twitter.

  10. Only spoke the woman via email twice Banafsheh Ehtemam , got so confused , never bothered to join with one of their so called out door activities and found very few folks there, well I never joined


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