Membership: To do or not to do

by Quiana Jackson

David Levinthal Untitled from the series Wild West 1994.jpg

Starting 1 November I will begin to renew my memberships to NPPAPPA and the newly added membership to local museums. Now I know that students are not rich and neither am I, but I like to stay current on things that interest me and that I can gain additional knowledge from. Honestly, the money that I spent on memberships would probably be eaten or I would buy something that I really didn’t need.

Some may not know but I was obsessed with being a photojournalist. Photojournalism has always been my first love because I wanted to report the news with a newsworthy image. Five years ago I was encouraged in undergraduate school to apply to NPPA (National Press Photographers Association) and to adhere by the Code of Ethics set forth for visual journalists. Since I have progressed from my dreams of being a photojournalist, still the things that I receive in the mail and email have inspired my photographic career. As students, the membership fee is $65 and you have options on how to pay. You can do a one-time payment, annual payment or split payment. Once you are a member you can have a card that states your membership number and that gets you into conferences if there are some in your area, where you have a chance to network with other photojournalists. You can also access the website and see the work of many people that are well-known and unknown. There is also a Student Quarterly that you can submit your work for on the website.

Professional Photographers of America is my second membership that I have maintained for 3 years. I have actually met my undergrad instructors who worked the event as well as my peers that I attended class with. This is a great advantage because I found a place that I interned at through PPA. You have access to tons of video, mentorships, and a subscription to PPA magazine. If you are looking to network with the pros then I would highly advise you to join PPA because I have met some of the best people at one of their conferences. I have even seen live tutorials in person and got a ton of free things! Membership is $79 a year and this is so worth it.

Lastly, I am going to obtain membership to The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston. The MFA has a membership of $60 and with that, I can expect to have free year-round admission and discounts all around. Since I live about 3-4 hours from Houston then this is a saving grace especially if there is an exhibition that I would like to see. CAMH has free admission but membership is $35 for students or if you are an artist the price is still $35. For students, it is always a good idea to see how exhibitions are shown and how the artist decides to show their work. Curators are a big part of art and to speak with them on their knowledge of what the public’s feedback is to a body of work can help aid how we present our work to the public.

In closing, membership isn’t for everyone. In my case, I am very interested in being a part of something and networking with people. I am NOT much of a people person but I tend to gravitate to people that are interested in the same thing as me. If anything, go visit a museum and see the works of the greats. I am ecstatic to go see David Levinthal ’s photographs at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.