Meeting 23 September 2013


Our meeting on 23 September was devoted to cameras. Members were invited to bring and talk about one or more cameras they had used and enjoyed in the past, or indeed were currently using, the idea being that this sine qua non of photography, normally (and rightly) ignored in favour of its product, perhaps deserved a brief time of its own in the limelight. In the event we had a very interesting evening, with not a single digital camera in evidence. Nigel and Derek T brought along a dozen or so instruments between them, Nigel from his extensive collection of classics and Derek from his personal photographic past, and several others of us also contributed, if more sparsely, to the feast. We had examples of every format from sub-miniature to 4x5; press cameras and studio cameras as well as roll film and 35mm. David showed his home-made pinhole camera, an impressive and beautiful construction of lacquered wood rivalling anything by Thornton Pickard, together with examples of what he has produced with it. The evening was an opportunity to see and handle some camera legends and some true curiosities. Many of us had forgotten the feel of real metal instruments and were pleased to be reminded. Our general impression was a mixture of wonder and admiration for the huge variety of approaches to the simple matter of taking a photograph adopted by different manufacturers in photography’s mechanical past. By comparison, the current, probably inevitable, relative uniformity of electronic solutions seems much less exciting.

We were pleased to welcome two new members to this meeting, Tim Hancock and Andrew Williams, and I hope we shall be seeing them again. Despite the absence of several of our regular members, the meeting was well attended and produced a surplus of £5 after payment of the room hire charge. Now, after the £10 surplus from the July meeting, we are in the unusual position of having a float of £15 to put against future shortfalls.

Our next meeting will be on 18 November. It will be led by Keith and its theme will be the way the photographic exploration of a subject can change the photographer’s own views of that subject. It is a theme closely tied into the fundamental concept of Contemporary Photography as we formally practise it, and should make for an interesting evening. Keith will be providing more details nearer the date.

The meeting after that, on 20 January 2014, will be a formal work-in-progress evening. At any meeting members are welcome to bring work for show and discussion without prior notice, and this has happened on many occasions in the past. But for this meeting we will be positively inviting all members who are currently working on, or have recently completed, any kind of project to show us what they have been doing. A quick check last Monday suggested that most of us have some project on the go and there should be no lack of material. So whether it’s a blurb book, an RPS distinction, an upcoming exhibition or presentation, or just a personal exploration of a particular subject, that is occupying you photographically, let us see it and talk to us about it. You may get some useful feedback and the rest of us will surely find it interesting. Nearer the date I’ll be asking you to let me know if you’ll be responding to this invitation, so we can divide the evening up beforehand and ensure that everyone has an equal amount of time. I want to thank John Corbett for this idea, which should get us off to a cracking start in the New Year.