British photographic history

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Staffordshire Photographic Society celebrates 125 years

Stafford Photographic Society was formed in 1895. It is one of the oldest photographic societies in the  Midlands. A young man named Charles Fowke was primarily responsible for its formation, he gathered together other photographic enthusiasts and started the YMCA Amateur Photographic Society, so called because they met at the YMCA in Gaol Road. In 1898 the name was changed to Stafford Photographic Society.

The picture here of Society members was taken in 1907 on their summer outing to Alton which included lady guests. Tripods and box cameras are much in evidence.

Early meetings tended to be of a technical nature with members giving talks and demonstrations on such things as bromide and gaslight prints, lantern slide making and portrait lighting using magnesium ribbon.

The First World War put a temporary halt on activities. The club restarted in 1921 with 24 members enrolling at 5 shillings a year and ladies being invited to join for the first time. Flashlight photography was demonstrated in 1923 and the post-war programme included invited speakers, picnics and cycle outings which were very popular in the 1920s.

During the Second World War meetings were fortnightly, in spite of blackouts and other problems. After the war a cine group was formed and membership increased to 124 members by 1959

The 1970s brought competitions in prints and slides and in the 1980s audio visual presentations became popular, the first woman President, Mrs P. Hill being elected in 1988.

For many years the club logo was the Broad Eye Windmill and this changed only in 1968 to the film strip logo.The current club logo illustrates the digital changes of the new century.

With thanks to Peter Storey


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