This is my first letter to the whole membership of the IOMPS as your President. Though I have been a member of the Society for over 40 years, my attendance in quite a few of those years was, of necessity, extremely erratic due to my work commitments which often meant my having to work on Wednesday evenings! My daily work also meant having to attend countless meetings, which is the main reason why I always tried to avoid becoming involved with any more committees in my leisure time! So, I hope you will understand why it took more than a little arm twisting before I finally agreed to allow my name to go forward for your consideration at the Annual General Meeting.
Now I feel very proud and greatly honoured to be your President, so I should like to begin by thanking the membership for their faith in electing me to this prestigious position. When I look at the long list of those who have preceded me as President over the years, many of whom I have known personally, I do feel somewhat ill-equipped and under qualified but, nevertheless, I promise that I shall do everything I can to lead the Society forward and to represent its interests at every opportunity to the best of my ability.
My Aims for the Society
I believe it is important that I should set out my aims for the Society for my term of office and to seek your support in helping us all to work together towards their fulfilment. In no particular order, I would like to see:-
- a steady improvement in the overall standard of the projected digital images of Society members;
- maintenance of the high standard of the Society’s print work, with further improvements being sought at every opportunity;
- the Society maintaining and building upon its links with the L&CPU and the PAGB;
- the Society improving its liaison and collaborative working with other ‘local’ photographic clubs and societies;
- greater encouragement being given to our less experienced members by listening to their views and seeking to respond constructively to them;
- a furthering of our reputation as being a ‘welcoming’ Society so that new faces are greeted warmly and encouraged to feel ‘at home’ because I believe the doors of the Society should always be wide open for new members; and
- the Society continuing to publicise its activities and to promote its successes.
So, if any member has any ideas or suggestions for improvement in what we do generally or in relation to our programme of activities, please do not hesitate to approach me or the Secretary of the Society, Chris Blyth (862082). Whilst I cannot guarantee that every idea will be adopted, I can promise that it will be properly considered with an ‘open’ mind before a decision is taken and that the committee will let you know the outcome.
2009/2010 in Retrospect
Last year, the Society had one of its most successful seasons ever with its entries into the L&CPU Annual Competitions. Out of 68 photographic clubs and societies affiliated to the L&CPU, our Society came 10th in the category for ‘General Projected Images’; 6th in the ‘Monochrome Prints category; and a very creditable 16th overall. To be placed in the top quarter is a magnificent achievement of which we can all feel extremely proud. Five images submitted by the Society have been retained by the L&CPU for inclusion in its various folios that will be circulating across the region over the coming winter months. This wide exposure gives valuable publicity to the Isle of Man and much deserved recognition to the members of the Society who produced the retained images, namely Ron Shimmin. Ray Davies and Mark Stringer. Moreover, Ray Davies was also awarded a ‘Certificate of Merit’ for his mono print titled “The Alleyway”.
However, the highlight achievement this past year must be that Life Member, Ron Shimmin, had his stunning print titled “Storm Over the Millau Bridge” selected by the Royal Photographic Society as one of only 123 images (out of a total of over 3,000 entries submitted) for inclusion in its prestigious International Print Exhibition. This exhibition is now in its 153rd year, making it the longest standing exhibition of its type in the world. It is on show this Summer in London, after which it will tour various venues throughout the UK, before being seen world wide. So, Ron receives our warmest congratulations for this magnificent and well deserved recognition of his photography.
The Committee of the Society
Your Committee has been working very hard over the summer months, meeting on three occasions so far, to consider a variety of matters that have to be dealt with between May and September each year. This includes planning the Summer and Winter Programmes, of which more later. Several important decisions have been taken. Though our Secretary has circulated details, I believe I should repeat the main ones here briefly for completeness and as a useful reminder.
1. There will be no classes for slides in our Monthly Competitions this year but we have decided to retain classes for slides in the 2011 Annual Competitions. [Because relatively few members are now using slides, this decision will be re-visited next year].
2. The rule that all images submitted in competitions must be entirely the work of the entrant has been re-affirmed. [In particular, members are reminded that, whilst it is permissible for prints to be printed and mounted by a professional, any and all editing must be carried out by the author and no computer art, images from magazines or CDs can be used].
3. All digital images entered for future Monthly and Annual Competitions must be at the higher resolution of 1400 x 1050 (rather than the current 1024 x 768). [This should ensure that we make best use of the Society’s new digital projector and also satisfy the rules of the L&CPU. I am hoping that a guidance note can be circulated shortly to members to explain how best to make the necessary adjustments prior to entry].
4. Decisions regarding the elevation of members from one class to the next above will be based solely on a member’s work during the year in the Monthly and Annual Competitions.
5. A Sub-Committee has been re-formed, with the President in the chair, to deal objectively and expeditiously with such matters as the reclassification of members; the entries to be submitted from the Society for ‘slide battles’; and the entries to be submitted to the L&CPU.
6. A review of the Society’s Rules and Constitution is to be undertaken during the Winter months and any ideas or suggestions for changes that might need to be considered by the Committee should be submitted by the end of October at the latest to our Secretary, please.
Re-Classifications for 2010/11
Based on the points awarded to members throughout the past year, it has been decided that, for competition purposes, Peter Cartmell, Natasha Wilson, Anita Gould-Davies, and Jenny Shanley should be elevated from the Standard to the Intermediate Class; and that Ray Davies should be elevated from the Intermediate to the Advanced Class. So, congratulations to all of them for having the improvement in the quality of their work recognised in this way.
Chris Blyth, John Hall and John Cowan
To my knowledge, three of our faithful members have suffered ill-health over the past few months. (If there are any others of which I have not been made aware, I apologise to them). Our Secretary, Chris Blyth, has been suffering from quite a bit of pain and discomfort during the Summer. He underwent surgery on the 9th August and, when I spoke to him a few days ago, he was still a bit sore but, thankfully, beginning his recovery at home. I am pleased to say that John Hall, who I visited on Friday, is in goods spirits and now making progress at home after being discharged from hospital. As many of you will know, John Cowan has been very poorly, also having undergone surgery recently. I saw him in the Hospice on Friday where his medication is being sorted but, hopefully, he will well enough to return home again before too long.
I have conveyed to all three of them on behalf of the Society our very best wishes.
IOMPS Summer Activities
I hope you are all enjoying the Summer, ‘mixed’ though it has been so far. There have been good days, it is true, but they have been few and far between. We are always told not to put our cameras away when the weather is inclement but, if you are like me, sunshine and blue skies (with a few white fluffy clouds) are a greater inspiration!
Three summer outings have been arranged so far, namely, two boat trips from Port St Mary to the Calf and Sound (thanks to Chris Blyth); a visit to the Ballanette Nature Reserve (with thanks to the owner, Stewart Clague, for kindly facilitating this) and to Lonan Old Church; and an evening visit to the Douglas Fire HQ on Peel Road to witness and photograph a drill (thanks to Tony Curtis). I can personally vouch for the fact that the boat trips were most enjoyable but indisposition and a long-standing prior engagement prevented me from attending the other two, though I am told both were very successful. Unfortunately, my attempts to arrange an evening visit to the Douglas Power Station have been frustrated and it now looks unlikely that this will proceed this year. I understand the difficulty for the MEA is one of staffing for an evening visit as there are particular health and safely issues and there is normally only a skeleton staff there at night. Sadly, we had to abandon plans for a disposable camera afternoon this year but hope to re-introduce this idea for next Summer.
The Winter Programme
The Programme for the coming Winter has now been finalised and will be circulated soon. I wish to thank the members of the Committee for their helpful input, especially our Competitions’ Secretary, Evie Jones, for all her hard work seeking judges and in other ways. I am keen to ensure that the Programme offers some variety to meet the differing needs of the membership and hope we have been successful in that endeavour. Whilst there is a serious side to photography with our regular competitions, our main focus should be on enjoying our weekly gatherings and each other’s company in a convivial atmosphere where old and new members are able to share ideas and make new friends. I hope, therefore, that you will all try to encourage guests to come along to our meetings so that, if they are interested in photography, they might be persuaded to return on a regular basis and become full members. New members should not feel pressured into entering competitions or that they need to be proficient photographers to join us. Our membership has a wide range of abilities from beginner to ‘expert’ and uses film, digital or both. Whatever level we have reached, new members wishing to improve the standard of their images should be enabled to learn by seeking help and advice on photographic problems on club nights from those who are more experienced and knowledgeable. We obviously cannot promise that the expertise will be available to provide the answers to every query – but, if we don’t know, we probably do know someone who does!
For our second meeting on the 6th October, we wish to respond to requests we have received for a practical evening early in the Winter programme. So, if there are any specific issues or subjects on which you would like advice, assistance, or practical help, then do please let me or Chris Blyth (862082) know as soon as possible so that we can try to tailor the evening to meet real needs.
Finally, perhaps I could just remind you all of the topics for our Winter assignment competitions which are ‘People at Work’; ‘Architectural Detail’; ‘Shapes’ and, for the Isle of Man Bank Cup, ‘Manx Landscape’.
The Society’s Website
Because of John Cowan’s illness, he has decided that he will not be able to continue as the Society’s Webmaster. I have thanked John on behalf of the IOMPS for all his painstaking, meticulous and diligent work as our Webmaster over past years. He has done a magnificent job in ensuring that the website has been kept right up to date each week in terms of both words and images and supported our efforts to promote the Society in so many other ways. However, we must respect his decision and I know that we all wish him well.
We are extremely grateful that Mark Stringer has very kindly agreed to take on this important role and he is currently working very hard to construct a new website for the Society. This rebuild would have been necessary in any case as the old software is no longer supported. You can view the developing site by entering www.iomps.com in your browser of choice. If anyone wishes to contact the Society, they can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, and, for the present, the message will be ‘picked up’ by Mark. This might change as we give further thought to how best we might improve its accessibility and our speed in responding to enquiries.
I shall look forward to welcoming you all to our first meeting of the Winter which will be held a little earlier than in the past few years, on Wednesday, 29th September at 7.45 pm at Thie Ellyn with a ‘showcase of the Society’s work’.
With my very best wishes