Croydon Camera Club
Croydon Camera Club

Croydon Camera Club History 1980-1990

Years 1986-1987
Sussex Safari

So started another new year, this time with a syllabus from Alan Richards, bringing the Club some new faces, and some familiar ones. Well known photographers on the national scene were Bill Wisden, Nobby Fry, Dick Jones, Lucilla Phelps and Roger Reynolds. A star lecturer was Sydney Reynolds FRPS APAGB from Lowestoft, President of the East Anglian Federation, who showed us immaculate atmospheric prints of the trawlers off the Suffolk coast. This visit was to lead to a weekend outing to Lowestoft in 1987, but before then, at the end of September 1986, Alan Richards had organised for the Club a one day "Sussex Safari" led by Bill Wisden. Over 20 photographers took advantage of this opportunity to follow Bill round his local haunts of the South Downs and Sussex Coast to Beachey Head. This outing produced more pictures for the coming Club competitions than any other outing in living memory.

Clifford Fifield, who had slipped into the role of Treasurer with great ease, made his photographic mark by obtaining his LRPS in slides and new members recorded in October 1986 included Roger Bosher, Angie Prior, David Eaves and Wally Conquy, all to make their mark on the Club in the coming years.

Enthusiasm and more enthusiasm

At the end of 1986 the Club heard with some surprise that Alan and Peggy Richards were shortly to retire to Cornwall. Alan, a member of the RPS Portraiture Panel, who had served the Club for many years previously including a term as President, had once again in the past few years returned to play a major part in the Club's revival with Harold Stillwell. Alan had such enthusiasm, experience and imagination and was a great stimulus for both the beginner and the advanced worker. Always willing to help and with a great ability to talk stimulatingly about photography. He organised an outing to Woking Camera Club just before he left for Cornwall at the end of 1986, to discuss each others prints and slides. At least 15 members made the journey, in contrast to the few who supported the away SLF competitions just a year or so previously. However Alan had forgotten to take Croydon's slides, but this hardly mattered as those present spent all evening discussing the prints.

So the three who had come back to the Club and done so much to save it were now all living miles away. Harold Stillwell, living in Wiltshire, but still on Council as archivist and beginning to plan the forthcoming Centenary Celebrations, Tessa Most, Secretary of the Club, living near Newbury, and now the Syllabus Secretary, living near Tintagel in Cornwall. But all three knew that they had laid the foundations for the running of the Club to continue in the next years without them.

So it was with great relief to the Club that two more stalwarts, Joy and Tony Cane stepped into the breach and volunteered to take over the Syllabus, which they did so efficiently, despite discovering that Alan Richard's future Syllabus had been arranged by telephone only!

Joy and Tony were the type of Club members that every Club needs, turning up every Wednesday, always arranging the chairs before and after. If there had been a position for a Club electrician or carpenter, Tony would have had it without question. Also both Tony and Joy improved their photography steadily over the years, with Joy producing imaginative colour slides, while Tony became a master of black and white printing.

Not long afterwards in February 1987, David Eaves, who had only joined the Club six months previously, was co-opted as Competition Secretary to replace Joy and Tony who had ably run the competitions for several years. Although David was new to the Club, he was no stranger to Competitions and Club photography, having been at various times Competition Secretary and President of one of the strongest Midlands Clubs, Sutton Coldfield. David's prints and slides showed great creativity often enhanced in the darkroom. David was a chemist, and was able to replace Alan Richards in a stimulating and helpful role to all members, although in quite a different but no less effective way, quietly by example.

Alan disappeared in December 1986 with members presenting him with a set of port goblets and a bottle, and Council presenting him with his choice of photographic books.

At the end of the 86/87 session the internal competition showed David Eaves to have won both the advanced prints and slide competitions. Clearly the Club had found a great asset. In the other classes Tony Cane won both the intermediate prints and slides, while Angie Prior and Roger McCallum won the preliminary print and slides respectively.

In March 1987 Tessa Most hired a minibus and drove it herself to take 10 or so members and friends on a weekend outing to Lowestoft where they were guided by Sydney Reynolds. Reports of this outing gave it high praise.

The Annual Exhibition

The new President Roy King, who had just gained his Associateship in Pictorial Prints, said that he wanted to ensure that the Club had an annual exhibition each year, but found that in his first year, the Club were unable to get a booking in the Fairfield Halls. There was the suggestion that in this age of 'Thatcherism' the Fairfield could make more money by concentrating on more commercial exhibitors. So it was decided to hold a one day "House" Exhibition in the YMCA on Saturday May 23rd 1987.

There were panels of prints all round the walls, but relatively few members of the general public saw it. Edwin Appleton judged and pronounced Ian Coulling winner in the prints class and Roy Bigg winner of the slides. Although this allowed members to have their annual exhibition and other Clubs were invited to the evening slide show, a one day exhibition proved a lot of work for members mounting and dismounting prints, with relatively little public attention. In the evening Honorary member Majorie Marshall ARPS, who had earlier been Secretary of the Club, but recently had given service to the Photographic Alliance as its Secretary, (and later to become its President) was presented the award of APAGB.

Marks out of 10

At the beginning of this session, once again the points versus labels controversy came to the fore, and it was decided to keep the existing system of judges awarding labels, with the highest number of labels over the whole year winning the trophy. In order to make a concession to the scores out of ten brigade, led by Michael Shave who had joined Croydon from the Bromley Club, judges were asked to unofficially award scores out of ten as well as labels. When the end of the year arrived and the arithmetic was done it was found that in five of the six classes numbers of labels or scores out of ten would have given exactly the same winners. Only in the advanced prints where the competition had been quite intense might there have been a different result. By using scores out of ten any of Ian Coulling, Roy King, David Eaves, Sam Tanner or Alan Richards could have won depending how the scores were used, ie highest overall, most number of tens, average per print entered etc. A statisticians task indeed.