A Milford photographer has launched a new Facebook photography page to celebrate pictures of Delaware.
“The goal is to build a photography community and put people in touch with each other in the creative community and give people a showplace for their images,” said John Mollura, whose Delaware Community Lens launched Monday, welcoming anyone to join.
By Friday, it had 40 members and loads of photos, ranging from portraits of buildings, to pets and wildlife, and scenes of Mother Nature. Many said they were delighted to be there.
Becky Craft wrote that she’s a Sussex County native and hobbyist who is just getting back into her camera “after a long dry spell.” She’s set herself a year of photo challenges and posted a photo from a walk on Goat Island.
Joan Kingsley told the group that she’s a newbie to nature photography and gravitates toward photographing birds.
“I do it because it it’s fun and soothing and puts me in beautiful, serene places in nature,” she said. “I love sharing them with others and learning more about the birds.”
Jeremy Smeltzer wrote that he loves photographing everything from nature to street scenes and hopes to make a career “out of my love for capturing the Wonders moments.”
Mollura plans to start putting up “loose” topics twice a week.
“The first topic for the Delaware Community Lens will be ‘Light and Love,’ inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s quote, ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.'”
No one has to adhere to the topics.
“That’s basically just to give people an excuse if nothing else to get creative and share their images,” Mollura said. “They’ll be able to post them right there on Facebook.”
Those who join are asked to agree not to critique any photos posted, unless asked by the submitter for help or suggestions.
“We started Community Lens as a safe place for people to put their work out in the world and share it,” he said.
The idea for Delaware Community Lens began with a Milford version that Mollura created and expanded with a daily photo topic at the beginning of the pandemic. The statewide version follows its lead.
Photos posted on Delaware Community Lens may be used by the DelawareLIVE news network, which include Town SquareLIVE, MilfordLIVE and 302 Sports.
“It’s always exciting to see your photos used,” Mollura said. “Back in the good old days when we could get together and hang out, we would do photo walks around town and I would give a loose talk and people would come back to my studio to create fellowship and share their art.”
He’s only been a full-time photographer for four years, and the community lens sites grew out of his own reluctance to share what he was shooting.
“When I was starting to get more serious about photography, there was so much fear,” he said. “Even now I get a little big nervous about putting my work into the world.”
Mollura graduated from Penn State with a degree in mechanical engineering and spent 15 years as a test engineer for NASA and U.S. military projects.
He got his first camera 35 years ago, he said, and he gradually began shooting photos as a side hustle to his day job.
But when his company was sold and changed focus, he decided to make the leap into photography.
“When I say to someone this isn’t rocket science,” Mollura said, “I say that with authority.”
Mollura said the main point he wants to drive home is that Delaware Community Lens is meant to be a positive place where people can build a community to share their artwork.
Everyone who shoots photos at any level of experience is welcome he said, whether you’re using an expensive camera or a 6-year-old iPhone.
“There’s enough places to on social media and the internet that are not positive places. This is meant to be a respite from all that negativity,” he said.