Sharing Snaps

Social media unites Juneau photographers

A long exposure captures the rotations of the earth. (COURTESY RON GILE)

Hobby photographer Ron Gile and several photographer friends who also lived in Juneau would often take pictures of Romeo, the famous wolf that frequented Mendenhall Glacier.

“Every time someone saw the wolf we had to call four or five people,” Gile says. “We thought, ‘Why don’t we just make a thing on Facebook where we can make one announcement.’”

Gile started the page titled Juneau Photo Group and invited a few friends. They shared pictures of Romeo and of Juneau landscapes among themselves. Then it grew. Other photographers started to join. They all helped each other, openly shared where photos were taken, and even gathered in person biweekly for photo sessions. It continued to grow, out from Juneau, attracting interest around the state and from tourists who traveled through on cruise ships. The page now has over 12,700 members, and 15 to 20 more requests to join every day. It’s even gone international. One woman from Australia and another from Singapore were so enamored by the page they came to Juneau just to meet its members, Gile says.

Unlike many other outlets on social media, Juneau Photo Group is strictly anti-politics. Volunteers monitor the page and remove offensive comments, posts that could incite argument, and any attempts to sell photos. The rules don’t even allow hunting photos, just in case it ruffles feathers.

The first page grew so much Gile and the other administrators started a second page titled Juneau Photo Education Group (yes, the acronym is intentional) where amateur members can help each other with camera questions. And though the group no longer holds regular meetings, Gile and some of the other original members still make annual trips to interior Alaska just to take photos.

Check out the Juneau Photo Group HERE.