Fordham Photography Club: Worth a Thousand Words


Fordham’s photography club ventured into Manhattan to practice landscape photography with the city skyline. (Courtesy of Mia Battista for The Fordham Ram)

It is dark outside as I step into Freeman 103 where a group of eager-eyed students wait for the second Photography Club meeting of the semester to begin. A few minutes past 8 p.m., the group’s president and club founder, Abby Housberg, FCRH ’23, welcomes back members from the interest meeting. She reveals that the Executive Board will be teaching the basics of camera settings and, more importantly, how to adjust those settings to capture the perfect picture. She notices some worried expressions in the crowd and reassures everybody that this lesson will be helpful “for advanced users and also those who have never touched a camera before.” Like some students in the lecture hall, Housberg’s words comfort me because, while I love taking pictures, I know next to nothing about how to operate a camera. After finishing her announcements, Housberg passes the mic to the club’s vice president, Trevor Zicherman, FCRH ’24. Zicherman walks the room through the three primary camera settings: shutter speed, aperture and ISO. His detailed and digestible explanations provide a clear and almost intuitive illustration of how and when to use certain tools. To name a few examples, a fast shutter speed slows motion, which is helpful for capturing sporting events. Moreover, an f/2.8 aperture creates a focused image, whereas an f/16 aperture creates a wider depth of field. The E-board laughs as the vice president displays a complex chart on the screen. “Don’t worry,” Housberg interjects, “if you feel this chart went right over your head, then that makes two of us.” We all laugh with her.

Last weekend, Zicherman took a few excited members on a Manhattan excursion. I sat down with him to ask how it went. He told me that he specializes in photographing cityscapes and wanted to bring a few interested members to a cool spot. The group ventured to Pier 57 Rooftop Park in Hudson Yards, which has an exquisite view of downtown Manhattan as well as the city’s latest addition, Little Island. I inquired about what he focused on teaching.

“I wanted to be hands off and did not want to disturb [club members] from taking pictures. I wanted to be a fly on the wall and only help if they needed me or had questions,” Zicherman said. He adds that there is no correct way to take a picture. A photograph is one’s art and every creative decision lies with each photographer. He was there to offer suggestions when prompted without stepping on anyone’s toes.

I admire his decision to take a step back because, as the E-Board mentioned, there are members with varying skill levels, some relatively advanced. There was a fascinating anecdote from one member who had the delightful opportunity of capturing the SpaceX rocket as it illuminated the sky. The photographer exclaims, “we were taking pictures and suddenly saw something blue in the sky. It looked like this white light, and as we kept observing, we realized what it was. I didn’t even know it was a thing.” This surprise event and the whole excursion sounded marvelous, and it made me wonder if Zicherman will be holding future workshops. He replies affirmatively and mentions that last year, the club ran an exposure workshop which focused on capturing objects in the dark. The club leaders took glow sticks and taught members how to take cool pictures of them in low light. He would like to do that again. The E-Board also expressed interest in doing more cityscape photography and going to a park to capture fall scenes and colors. Later in the semester, they are thinking about visiting the Botanical Gardens, which I am personally excited for.

Last but not least, I sat down with the club’s president. I asked, “Why did you decide to start this club?” Housberg revealed that she had done photography on and off campus for a while but was disappointed there was no central place for photographers to congregate. Instead of accepting this reality, she found others with similar interests, took the idea to OSI and started the club. Housberg was able to acquire an impressive amount of funding from Fordham which paid for cameras, lights and other equipment so that members would not need a camera to participate in the club or go on excursions.

Housberg explained that it has been very rewarding to “connect with other clubs and campus organizations and meet photographers of all levels.” She joked that “she’s the glue that holds the club together,” planning and executing events, overseeing club interactions and looking for more ways to engage and get opportunities. Inquisitively, I asked what tips she has for photographers not knowing where to begin. Immediately, she stated, “Experiment. Take as many pictures as possible.”

The E-Board members gave various pieces of advice as well. They implored every photographer to ponder the following questions, “What is the story you want to convey?” and “What do you like to photograph?” One club leader added, “You want an overexposed image rather than an under-exposed one. Take multiple images at different exposures and settings and take more pictures than you think you need to.” Lastly, and most importantly, “Rules in photography are there as suggestions. Experiment and do what you like to and how you like to. A picture is a picture.”

If you are interested in joining the Fordham Photography Club, feel free to either email them at [email protected] or DM them on Instagram @fordham_photopraphyclub on Instagram to inquire about how to join.