Croydon Camera Club
Croydon Camera Club

Croydon Camera Club History 1980-1990

Years 1988-1989
Change at the top

The Annual General Meeting of 1988 saw some changes. Tessa Most retired again. This marked the final break with the three, Harold Stillwell, Tessa Most and Alan Richards, who all came back from what they thought was retirement to save the Club. Roy King stepped down from Presidency, after two years, to pass the Presidency on to Michael Hope, but Roy stayed on Council as Secretary — it was said that Michael didn't want to be President unless there was an experienced and reliable Secretary available. Michael Hope had joined the Club about 6 years earlier when he was already Chairman of the D.O.E. Camera Club in Whitehall. He obtained his Associateship with the Club and gained many external acceptances with his slides. As well as being a first rate photographer, he had a stature and presence which it was felt would well represent the Club in the lead up to, and during the forthcoming Centenary in 1990.

In June 1988 Harry Cundell organised an evening outing to the London Docklands, and in the same month a majority vote in Council changed the Club title of Lanternist to Projectionist.

Club members were still gaining acceptances at outside Exhibitions, four members had eleven acceptances at the Surrey International and in the Summer of 1988 the 13 acceptances for the C.A. Exhibition included a Certificate for newly elected President Michael Hope.

Technical innovation, artistic expertise

A competition with Sutton Coldfield Camera Club in the previous year had seen some prints produced by Colin Bell using a process called Colorvir. Roy King tried this process and produced some prize winning prints. In fact he ended up the year winning the Advanced class prints. Colorvir is a French process of colouring black and white prints by toning, dyeing and a process producing a form of pseudo-solarisation. This produced very colourful images, providing a good deal of impact. It was soon taken up by a several other members including Ian Coulling who produced two stunning bright red and yellow beach pictures to win the 1989 Best Print Panel award, at the 1989 Annual Exhibition, judged by Helene Rogers FRPS.

While colour was being added to black and white prints, David Eaves had been using different techniques including the old technique of gum bichromate, but he had his greatest successes in adding and changing colours to colour slides. This was done by making lith masks, adding selective colour to these masks by dyes. Harry Cundell also used a similar technique and soon both David and Harry were producing prize winning pictures. These derivates certainly made for great evenings on the Club competition evenings, since the photographic strength of the Club during the late eighties was variety. Some Clubs tended to be strong on portraits or maybe strong on pictorial landscapes, but Croydon had variety and many Wednesday evening judges commented that just the prints they had seen that evening would make a smashing Exhibition. However there was always a mixed reaction of judges to derivatives, which they either liked or disliked.

In September 1988 the death of another Honorary member, J.J. Taylor was reported and not long afterwards the Club heard that Daphne Petchey, a former President, had died.

On December 17th 1988 Liz Malarkey revived the Club Dinner, a Christmas dinner held in the Maple Room of the Fairfield Halls.

Exhibition trauma and success

The 1989 Exhibition had a new sponsor, another local dealer, the City Camera Exchange who had recently set up shop in the High Street, Croydon, and provided funds of £500 for the Exhibition. This sponsorship was found by the Secretary writing letters of invitation to about 50 local and national companies. Forty nine refusals were received, but almost at the last moment one positive response was received. Major problems caused by the Fairfield management during the Exhibition week included the loss of the last day through double booking and damage to some of the prints when all Exhibits had to be moved on the Kingston Polytechnic graduation day. However the Fairfield wanted to make amends for their errors and Liz Malarkey negotiated a very generous rebate in hiring fees and a free Saturday later in the year. More importantly she gained for the Club a two week booking for the following year with the dates of choice. This worked out well for the Club as it was able to get the dates it wanted for the Club's Centenary Exhibition in 1990.

Council sponsorship was again obtained by Treasurer Clifford Fifield. Although his business work kept him from producing as many slides as he would have liked, he still spent much of his time producing immaculate accounts for the Club, much admired by the Club Auditor Basil Stewart. This Council sponsorship was used to finance a Wratten Lecture held in the Maple Room of the Fairfield Halls, on February 10th 1989 when Brian Hawkes gave a lecture entitled 'Street Furniture'. Sadly Brian Hawkes died just a year later.

Photographic Auction

Each year the Club holds a fund raising Auction, which can also turn out to be fun, courtesy of the various Auctioneers. Recently Stuart Pickford made his mark as Auctioneer and in 1989 there was so many photographic goods to be auctioned that two evenings were put aside and £170 raised. A good deal of the items for sale came from darkrooms which the Club had been asked to clear. One in particular was from Stanley Bowler Hon FRPS, a great inventor and writer about photography and cine who in his eighties was moving to smaller accommodation. He was able to recount a tale of visiting the Croydon Camera Club as a speaker in the 1930's, and he reported that one Enoch Salt had been so rude and aggressive towards him he had vowed never to visit Croydon again.

At the end of the 1988/89 session it was reported that entries in the EnPrint class had been encouraging, but there was the complaint that the judges had been taking too much time over them at the expense of the other classes.