Members of Kenai Camera and Coffee meet at a local coffee shop. (photo courtesy Colette Gilmour)

Local photographers find confidence through collaboration

The group is putting on show at Kenai River Brewing

Since 2019, local photographers have been meeting for coffee at least once a month to share tips, practice trends, and “inspire each other.” This month, their work adorns the walls of Kenai River Brewing — the first collaborative show by Kenai Camera and Coffee.

Colette Gilmour, a commercial photographer, said Tuesday that she started the group because she was looking for a local photography community, and she couldn’t find anything that was still active.

“I decided to just jump online and create a Facebook event.”

Now, the group meets once a month in the summertime, and every other Saturday in winter.

They collaborate, they go on shoots together, they share tips and discuss new happenings in the photography industry. They also bring their latest work for critique.

Kim Sparacio said Wednesday that the group has a variety of members — from professional photographers to folks shooting with their cellphones.

Photographers, Gilmour said, are “solo creatures.” For her, meeting up, comparing work and sharing ideas drives motivation to keep shooting.

Irene Houdek said Thursday that being in the group has given her confidence as a photographer.

Putting on a show is a big step. For some of the photographers, like Sparacio, it’s the first time they’ve ever had work publicly exhibited.

Gilmour said that it was interesting for the artists to see their work printed out for the first time, instead of on a phone, camera or computer screen. Despite the photographers’ different styles and sensibilities, she said the show works as a cohesive whole.

“They really complement each other,” she said. “I feel like that says a lot for our group because we’ve created that friendship and bond.”

A release from the group says all the work answers the question “What inspires you about your life on the Kenai Peninsula.”

Gilmour’s pieces capture people fishing and mountains rising over the landscape. Houdek’s center on “simplicity,” a fallen leaf covered in frost and a rocky beach on the Southern Kenai Peninsula. Sparacio’s are each photos of fishing, but one was taken in 2018, the other in the last year.

Kenai Camera and Coffee’s Facebook group can be joined by anyone, Gilmour said, regardless of skill level or equipment. It’s at

Reach reporter Jake Dye at

Members of Kenai Camera and Coffee meet at a local coffee shop. (photo courtesy Colette Gilmour)

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