County’s story to be portrayed in photos

Published 3:04 pm Thursday, April 20, 2017

By JENNIFER MAIER / Community Columnist

Every picture has a story to tell. The Shelby County Camera Club and the Shelby County Museum and Archives have partnered to create a portfolio of photographs that will help tell the story of Shelby County.

The idea for the collaboration came from Shelby County Camera Club President Ted Vodde.

A grouping of Civil War items at the Shelby County Museum and Archives was the subject of a photograph by Penny Raley Wegener. Wegener, along with other members of the Shelby County Camera Club, are working on a project to photograph the collections at the museum. (Contributed)

“I saw an article online about Time Magazine sending a photographer to do some quality photographs of items in the National Civil War Museum in Pennsylvania and I thought, ‘Why don’t we do the same thing with the items in the Shelby County Museum and Archives?’”

When the project is complete the museum will have a collection of photos that can be used for a variety of different purposes.

“The most important thing is that the Shelby County Museum and Archives has a nice set of photographs of items in the museum that they can be proud of and can use online and in printed matter to help promote the facility,” Vodde said. “Timing is also great because we’re coming up on the 200th Birthday of the county so we should have a nice set of photographs to help promote the facility in conjunction with the birthday celebration.”

The Shelby County Camera Club will celebrate its third anniversary this month. Vodde started taking pictures after receiving his master’s degree while living in the Great Smoky Mountains.

“I created the Shelby County Camera Club as a means for people who love photography with all different levels of skill sets to get together and talk about what interests them as well as events, places to photograph and a perennial favorite – equipment,” Vodde said. “One thing I’ve always stressed is that we have a friendly, non-threatening environment in which each member can present some favorite pictures at the end of every meeting. This way novice photographers can present pictures without fear.”

Other local photographers have gotten on board with the project, including Hank Siegel and Penny Raley Wegener.

“Hank is a tremendously gifted photographer and teacher and really dove into the project with great enthusiasm,” Vodde explained. “He was able to create some great images on our first visit. On our second visit, Hank and I were joined by another gifted local photographer, Ms. Penny Raley Wegener.”

Several photographs by Wegener left an impression on Vodde.

“My favorite photograph so far has been the Civil War grouping that Penny did as it begins to blend still life art with photography and history,” he said. “In the future I want to do more groupings like that which reflect a variety of experiences that people have had in the past in a colorful and creative way.”

The photography project is open to all members of the camera club.

“This [project] gives members the opportunity to do some creative tabletop studio style photography and to learn new aspects of composition, lighting and camera control,” Vodde explained. “Plus we’re helping our home county by volunteering our time and talent to help the Archives.”

The photographs will be released over the next few weeks on the museum website,

Anyone interested in learning more about the Shelby County Camera Club can contact Vodde at (205) 620-5505 or by email at Meetings are the third Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. at the Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit located at 858 Kent Dairy Road in Alabaster.