Magnified Societies: Through the lens with DUPA

Illustration: Isabelle Griffen

This week, Trinity Life is profiling College’s photography society, Dublin University Photography Association, otherwise known as DUPA. Speaking to Trinity Life, DUPA’s Visual Communications Officer, Lisa Murray, highlights the role the society plays in providing amateur photographers with a platform to continue their work during college. “It’s a way to keep up something you love that may have been lost in college otherwise,” she explains. When asked whether being the Visual Communications Officer for this busy society is an enjoyable experience, with responsibilities ranging from designing the graphics to creating posters, she highlights the very inclusive nature of DUPA, explaining that “being thrown in the deep end can be stressful” but that the DUPA committee are very supportive of one another’s work.

“One service the society offers is the opportunity to rent out equipment that students may not be able to afford.”

One service the society offers is the opportunity to rent out equipment that students may not have access to otherwise, a clever way to encourage those who want to get into photography but aren’t able to fund it themselves. DUPA also organises weekly classes focused on topics such as camera handling, landscape photography and darkroom workshops. Speakers from the areas of fashion, landscape and theatre photography often address the society, with fashion photographer Alex Hutchinson having spoken at the start of Hilary Term. Bogdan Hrechka, Equipment Officer on the committee, also notes how the society endeavours to provide for as many techniques and styles as possible through their workshops.

Murray explains how these classes can make new members feel welcomed into the DUPA sphere. Upon being asked how to get involved if you’ve never been involved with the society before, she maintains the best way to do so is to attend the classes and get chatting to people. She expresses that the “social aspect” of the classes is equally as important as enhancing your skills. Ultimately, it is a low-pressure environment in which to meet other students who are there to get involved, and usually a few trips to Pav are involved as well.

“The social aspect of the classes is equally as important as enhancing your skills.”

For those who are wondering about the social side to DUPA, they regularly organise mini trips such as photo walks, which are based on using the trip as a backdrop for stunning shots. Trips of late have included a stroll through Phoenix Park to capture the wildlife, a trip to Glendalough, Co. Wicklow, and a photo walk to Grand Canal Dock at night time for long exposure practice. If you’re a budding photographer looking to develop your skills, these photo walks are a good place to start. In addition to this, they held a Reading Week trip with VisArts to Barcelona, chosen for the stunning Gaudí and Gothic architecture found on every street.

Some of DUPA’s main events are exhibitions, with one held each term. For this, all students, whether members of DUPA or not, are welcome to submit their work under the theme chosen by the society. The exhibition last term was based on “Freedom of Expression”, with Murray noting that the reason for a broad theme is to ensure that people aren’t “intimidated” by a theme that is too specific or narrow. The submission deadline for the Hilary Exhibition has been extended by a week, so if you’re a budding photographer, or snapped a one-off picture that you feel deserves a spot on the wall, don’t be afraid to submit!