Appreciations of Croydonians
A Friendly Commentary by the "Ex-Office Boy", E. A. Salt.
This article first appeared in THE NEW PHOTOGRAPHER, Monday August 8, 1927.
[E. A. Salt wrote weekly contributions for the BJ, a task which earned him the title of "Office Boy", since he first made a contribution in 1897.]J. Keane
From early days existed a rule limiting the occupancy of the presidential chair to two successive years, promptly abrogated when John Keane entered it. Sufficient said.
Despite strenuous struggles to escape from the fetters of strict neutrality imposed by his office, he remains the head of the club, and a very hard-working one at that.
If there is anything definite to say, none can say it better. If there is little or nothing to say, none can more convincingly camouflage this fact with a flow of sonorous and elegant words. Though obviously specially endowed by nature to be a writer on art, yet he prefers to be a pictorialist, but with a confident belief that provision of a varied fare can alone supply the necessary vitamins for a really robust life in any photographic society, however corpulent as regards membership it may be.V. Jobling
The alert specimen of humanity, shown at one end of the drain-pipe in course of fumigation, is the energetic secretary, who goes off like a pop-gun at slight provocation, and as quickly recovers himself.
A handyman in excelsis, and the acknowledged authority on Vermouth, Woolworth's Stores and anything mechanical, especially the application of appropriated domestic oddments to the arts and crafts.
Usually is so busy making cameras and accessories that little time is available to employ them. Created a sensation at a Cripplegate tugboat outing by operating a triple-extension hand-stand camera of unique design. Even such an expert on cameras as Mr. J. E. Saunders (among other remarks) expressed himself as astounded, and deplored the absence of this attractive side-show on the last river outing.C. Kiefer
Along with the President, favours brands of cigars having their most useful application in greenhouses. Treasurer, and known as "Shylock." Nevertheless, no "pound of flesh" appeals to him, but he is a whale in gobbling up the ducats, and if a chance of making a penny arises, never fails to realise a shilling for the benefit of the club.
A Swiss, who on joining instantly absorbed its gay and festive spirit, and played up. Keen as mustard, he is the only treasurer ever known who can present a balance-sheet in the form of a diverting entertainment.J. M. Sellors
Ex-president, and ex-secretary, and when in office the finest exponent of terrorism the club has ever known. Is an adept in blacklead pictorialism, with a leaning towards leafless trees, duck ponds and dicky birds. In less exalted mood has carried out much careful experimental work.
Many of his demonstrations live in history, especially those of domestic character. For instance, a chair now in the store-room bears testimony to a cure devised by him for an original rocking tendency. By sawing bits off each leg in turn, stability was attained before the seat actually touched the floor.
Also invented, and applied on one occasion, a new chair polish, to which members adhered with great tenacity, several being exposed to the risk of returning home in a localised state of nature. Never will be forgotten a pictorialist of generous proportions being rocked to and fro, or the language he used on his liberation.R. C. Grimwood
The clouds splitting the body do not symbolise a nebulous temperament, and were probably introduced simply because the artist had no continuous roll of cartridge paper at hand to render the imposing height of his model without undue contraction of the rotundity scale, not a marked feature in the original.
An enthusiastic panchromatic and Bromoil-transfer merchant, a strong scientific bent is happily combined with an artistic temperament.
Unfortunately (for the club) preferment in life has removed Mr. Grimwood to the precincts of the enterprising Hull Photographic Society, where, doubtless, mutual politeness prevails, as the fair sex is admitted. Provided he never forgets that he is not at Croydon when a debate arises, he should escape the order of the boot. His neck-dislocating nod of affirmation, and violent oscillation of the cranium sideways in negation, abides in the memory. If only as a "landmark" on club outings he will be sadly missed.S. C. E. Stone
As pure in thought as angels are, is the characteristic, photographically speaking, of this rare and well-preserved specimen of an almost extinct race, which regarded as inviolable the sanctity of an untouched print. How far this attitude was inspired by an utter incapacity to sin in the direction of "control" may be a matter of doubt, but no doubt exists that its survivor is sincere.
Few clubs can boast such a unique link with the past, which is cherished. The artist has well caught its benign expression when regarding a photograph of doubtful origin.
Pertinaciously preaches that as much "personality" as possible should be pumped into pictorial presentation. "Gum" is the medium often favoured, assisted at club outings by less viscous fluids, employed in moderation, to stimulate the imagination. His last medalled picture may, without exaggeration, be described as a really inspired "Worthington," full of quality and feeling of content.
In debates, exhibits all the restraint shown by a sporting fox terrier when exchanging compliments with a supercilious cat well out of reach.
Denies that a virgin photograph is necessarily an attractive spectacle, and has courted death several times by endeavouring to rectify the rectitude of a highly incensed Mr. Stone.C. S. Spackman, R.B.A., R.M.S., S.G.A.
Skilled painter, etcher, graver, and architect, one better known on the Continent and in America than in this land of doles. May be described as a "modern," handicapped commercially by sanity of outlook. Loves those critics who broadcast what they do not believe, with a love that has yet to be born.
Has never taken a photograph, and, apparently, has no intention of doing so, but keenly appreciates the spirit of the club, and is a regular attendant. Speaks well of the art of the camera, even if he assigns limitations to its scope. In all essentials, the caricature is a more speaking likeness than the original is to himself.J. W. Purkis
Declares he lives, and has his being, in the club for the express purpose of being used as a football by the "ex-Office Boy". Modestly omits to mention that, not infrequently, this state of affairs is reversed. Is an authority on beer, particularly old beer, considered as a staple article of food.
Possesses a wide knowledge of science, mainly in direct application to photographic practice in many branches. Also a great "curve" artist, especially in "H. & D." forms of composition.
Considering that common-or-garden pictorialists are as plentiful as blackberries, the Purkis type is of great value in any society where the mentality of its members does not rise superior to an understanding of the principles underlying their craft.N. Moody
Is of such a quiet and retiring nature that none would suspect him of being a pictorialist, which is the case. An expert in screen-plate work, and an all-round photographer of the hit-and-not-miss type. Therefore somewhat of a rarity in amateur circles.
Any inference drawn from the little cherub held in the hand is liable to misconstruction in the absence of the knowledge that he once exhibited a clever study in colour of the nude.E. J. Wadham
An ingrained pictorialist with photographic conscience long since asphyxiated by oil paint. When contributing to debates, has a pleasing knack of assuming the peculiar modesty of demeanour characteristic of a chanticleer in a poultry yard. But can take as cheerfully as he can give.
Regards "panchromatism" as a mild form of insanity, and scientific lectures and demonstrations as conclusive evidence of a malignant type of the same disease. The artist has evidently caught him whilst in contact with the latter.E. A. Salt: The "Ex-Office Boy"
(Reviewed by the Editor.)
The official scribe, whose powers of fiction would have made him a "best seller" in other branches of journalism. Can and will argue with anyone or anything. Possesses a wide knowledge of matters photographic, and, on the rare occasions when he is taken out of his depth in a discussion, generally manages to draw a "red herring" across the trail and seduce his opponent into an ambush, when the slaughter commences. As the club reporter, formerly employed a candle lamp, which usually failed halfway through the lecture. Finding no difference in style or accuracy through this mishap, has now wisely abandoned both lamp and notes. Absolute death on "Wofflers," who seldom lecture twice at Croydon.
More could be said, but matters are perhaps best left in the hands of the eleven previous victims, who will exact vengeance on the Wednesday following date of publication.