Fortunately (phew!), our town's camera club is nothing like this. We enter statewide competitions, but we never compete within the club. We display up to eight images per person at our monthly meeting, open comments, brief description. Mostly still lifes, some birds, landscapes. Majority of members are terrified of taking pics of human beings! Some field trips, but not nearly enough. A wide range of skill levels, but friendly most of the time, informative, and a good place to make friends. Mostly retired folk, yes, but a few college students and people who have flexible working schedules.NancyP said:Camera club competitions - I have never understood those. Project anonymized images at a rate of four per minute, discard half, project remaining images, discard half, etc until there is a rank order 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Judge of the competition doesn't comment on images or on criteria he considered important.
I don't get to learn from others' mistakes, I don't get to debate criteria, I don't know who shot interesting but technically imperfect images, I don't know anything about the context of the images, I don't get to know individual members' interests or anything else about them. Socially, it's a dud.
Biggest waste of time - when I attended that club, I would exit after the guest talk, before the competition, using excuse "must get to bed, I have an early day ahead". (True. Competitions would drag on to 10:00 PM sometimes. Most of the attendees are retired and don't need to be coherent at 7:00 AM.).
Many or most amateur photographers are not in it to become acknowledged as excellent at a genre of photography, they merely want family and community photos, proof of bird sighting (or way to ID bird definitively), snaps of something they'd like to own or copy for decorating their house, ID that flower, etc. A proportion of the above "many or most amateur photographers shooting for own satisfaction" like to improve their craft, because it is interesting to work on skills and on communicating ideas.
But I can imagine there are many variations of the "camera club," some not so nice.