Photography Club makes a reappearance at UWL

Photography Club Logo. Retrieved from

Jessica Fitzgerald, Arts & Entertainment Reporter

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse senior Sara Hafften is reactivating the UWL Photography Club. As president of the club, Hafften said she wants to build a community and create a place for students to create art. She hopes to see the club develop and thrive.

Hafften said that she wanted to reactivate the Photography Club because it had died out since the COVID-19 pandemic when meetings were only allowed to happen over Zoom. She said, “I don’t even think that there was a president last year so nothing happened. I thought that I should start it up. I wanted to do this for a while, and I love photography and teaching, so I thought it would be a good opportunity.”

Hafften has been involved with photography since her freshman year of high school. She said that since then her interest and passions have fluctuated and developed into what she values today. Hafften started with an interest in landscape and portrait photography which developed into an interest in advertising photography. She said she is now interested in artistic conceptual photography. “The club is open to all views of photography!” she said.

The UWL photography community has been influential to her, Hafften said. In 2020, she was the photojournalist for The Racquet Press. She also assisted Mike Lieurance, the former campus photographer, she said what she learned from him impacted her career path.

Now that she is working with artistic photography, Hafften has learned a lot from UWL photography Professor Linda Levinson. She said, “She [Professor Levinson] has been such an inspiration and she has opened my world to art.”

Hafften said that it’s important for photography to have a place at UWL. “On our campus there is a lot of interest in the sciences, so I think it’s great to bring light to the arts and what impact they can still have on our campus community, but also on the individual. I think people try to monetize everything and worry about resumes, but this is just for students to have a safe space where they feel like they can create.”

The UWL Photography Club is open to all students regardless of major or minor. It is important to Hafften that the club provides a space for creating connections. She said, “Meeting other students that have the same interests is great because they can bring creativity and different ideas that you may not have thought of. Or maybe they will have more experience and can help you if you aren’t sure what you’re doing. We can support and encourage each other.”

Even those who have never taken a photo in their life are welcome to join the club. Hafften said having a camera is not necessary, and that she is planning on working out a camera rental system through the photography department, like the one that is in place for photography students.

The club had its first meeting on Feb. 16 where they discussed what they want the future of the club to look like. “Everybody was thinking that we don’t want it to feel like another class. It’s mostly just for fun,” said Hafften. “It’s pretty open. We are just gauging what people want to learn like I think we are going to do one day that’s just dedicated to film photography!”

Hafften said she already has ideas for prompts to inspire club members before each meeting, and that the meetings will consist of tutorials and work sessions. She said, “For our next meeting we are going to start with photographing your favorite color and then bringing it to the meeting to share.”

The first meeting had around five attendants in total, said Hafften. She said that while they still had a great discussion, she would love to see interest and attendance grow in the future. “There is an art community, but sometimes the photography people get left to the side because we work in a different building than the other art students,” said Hafften regarding the challenges in gathering interest. “Also, especially if you are just starting out with photography, knowing where to start and what equipment to get can kind of seem daunting.”

During the 2023 spring semester, the UWL Photography Club will be meeting once a month. The remaining meetings are 7-8 p.m. on Thursday, March 23, April 13, and May 4. Meetings will take place in the photo lab in the basement of Wing Technology Center. Hafften said that she plans on keeping it simple for the first semester back as a reactivated club and that biweekly meetings would be a great goal for the future.

Even though Hafften is graduating in the spring, she said that she hopes that the UWL photography club will have a bright future. She said, “I definitely would like it to grow. I think it’s a great resource even after you graduate. If you’ve made friends and need help with photography you can reach out to them. I’m excited to see how it develops!”

For future updates on UWL photography club meetings and activities, follow @uwlphotoclub on Instagram.