It seems like only yesterday that we drew last season’s activities to a close at the beginning of May but it is now only a little over a month until we resume our weekly gatherings again on Wednesday, 28th September, 2011, at the new start time of 7.30 pm! I do hope that, in the interim, you have all managed to enjoy a restful break and made the most of whatever photographic opportunities have presented themselves so that you will return to Thie Ellyn brimming full of fresh ideas and enthusiasm.
As your President, I can report that the Committee has been working very hard over the Summer months to devise a varied and interesting Programme for 2011/12. This will be posted on the iomps.com website by the end of this month but, to assist your planning and preparation, I would like to give you advance notice that the assignment competitions have been set provisionally as follows:-
* 2nd November - People at play (Prints and PDI)
* 7th December – Household Objects (Prints and PDI)
* 1st February – Song, Book or film Title (Prints and PDI)
* 21st March – Manx Churches Print Competition (for the IOM Bank Cup)
(Please see later the decision about the new format for our Small Prints Competition).
Continuing the Theme
A year ago, I listed my aims for the Society as wishing to see:-
1 a steady improvement in the overall standard of the projected digital images of Society members;
2 maintenance of the high standard of the Society’s print work, with further improvements being sought at every opportunity;
3 the Society maintaining and building upon its links with the L&CPU and the PAGB;
4 the Society improving its liaison and collaborative working with other ‘local’ photographic clubs and societies;
5 greater encouragement being given to our less experienced members by listening to their views and seeking to respond constructively to them;
6 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
7 the Society continuing to publicise its activities and to promote its successes.
We have made some progress and I continue to believe these aims are both relevant and appropriate for the Society. So, I do hope we can all play our respective parts in working together towards achieving them. As always, the thoughts and suggestions of members are most important in seeking to take the Society forward. Please don’t be shy as your feedback is most welcome and I shall ensure it is considered by the Committee.
2010/2011 in Retrospect
Last year, the Society did well again with no fewer than nine of the images it submitted from members being accepted by the L&CPU for inclusion in its various Folios touring the region over the coming Winter. This off Island exposure gives valuable publicity to the Isle of Man and much deserved recognition to the members of the Society who produced the retained images. This year, these were Ray Davies, Sue Jones (2), Robert Blyth-Skyrme, Peter Cartmel, Diane McCudden (2), Natasha Wilson and Tony Curtis. I must make special mention this year of Robert Blyth-Skyrme who has had one of his images titled ‘Snapper Shoal’ awarded a Certificate of Merit and this has been sent by the L&CPU to the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain.
Our Society was placed joint 11th overall out of 29 regional clubs in 2011 with a highly creditable 10th place out of 39 for projected digital images and 16th out of 32 for prints. We should all feel extremely proud of this achievement
Ray Davies secured third place in one of the L&CPU competitions earlier this year and was invited to attend the Delegates Meeting on 18th June in Chorley to receive his award from L&CPU President, Christine Widdall. Unfortunately, I do not know whether he was able to attend as he has had other things on his mind of late! [On which subject, might I send our love and very best wishes as a Society to Anita and Ray on learning of the successful delivery of their first child, a baby boy, very recently. So, no doubt we shall see lots of baby pictures for the foreseeable future!]
Added to this very happy news, several more of our members have been granted a Credit Award by the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain this past year which entitles them to append the letters CPAGB after their names.
I don’t propose to list them here for fear of inadvertently missing someone but congratulations to them all for having the standard of their photography recognised in this way.
John Cowan, Evie Jones and Jessie Russell - RIP
On a sad note, the last year has seen the passing of three stalwart members of our Society who have each left a void it will be impossible to fill.
John Cowan was one of the friendliest and most welcoming of people when newcomers visited the Society. He always had that warm smile to greet everyone and was never slow to offer help and advice to those who sought guidance. He also managed the Society’s website and kept it up to date with a quiet but dedicated efficiency.
Evie Jones was one of our Life Members and never missed a Society evening or event. She kept us all on our toes and did so much to ensure the smooth running of all our activities. As we come to terms with her loss, we are still discovering more about just how much she did quietly behind the scenes for us.
Jessie Russell was another of our Life Members who never lost her keen enthusiasm for photography. She was an ever present on Wednesday evenings and I once described her as ‘the Peter Pan’ of the Society’, which seemed to sum up for me her youthful exuberance. Her passing came as a terrible shock to us all, especially with its suddenness so soon after she had attended our annual dinner to receive her latest photographic award.
I place on record my personal thanks (and those of the Society) to them all and would wish to convey the condolences of all members of the Society to their families. We miss them all so much.
It is always pleasing to see members of the Society with the confidence to display their photographic skills in public exhibitions. So, I am delighted to remind you all about two such opportunities to see examples of this.
First, a selection of work by Diane McCudden has been on display recently at Jurby Parish Church but there will be a further opportunity to view more of her photography at the Garretts Gallery, Unit 11, Kirby Farm Industrial Estate (almost opposite the Kirby Garden Centre) on Vicarage Road, Braddan, from 1st September.
Second, one of our newer members, Hazel Walsh, currently has an exhibition at the Sayle Gallery in Douglas where she is presently the photographer in residence. It is called ‘Mann Abandoned’. Having viewed it once already myself, I can recommend this highly with its stark images designed to provoke an emotional response to the subject of dereliction.
I congratulate them both warmly.
The Committee of the Society
Your Committee has met several times in recent weeks been working very hard over the summer months, meeting on three occasions so far, to deal with Society business. This has included planning the Summer and Winter Programmes, of which more later. Several important decisions have been taken. Our Secretary, Chris Blyth, has circulated some of the details and many will appear in the new Programme for 2011/12. I should, perhaps, just mention 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 either our Monthly or Annual Photographic Competitions this. [This is because relatively few members are now using slides].
2. I should remind members, old and new) that 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
3. On a trial basis for this next year, it has been decided to respond to feedback we have received by introducing a requirement for a larger A4 print size for our ‘Small Prints Competitions’. Whilst the other rules remain the same, such as no mounting to reduce costs and encourage participation, entries will have to fit an A4 format this year. Provided that either the height or the width is A4, we are affording some image flexibility if entrants prefer to opt for a letterbox type style.
Re-Classifications for 2010/11
Based on the points awarded to members throughout the past year, it has been decided that, for competition purposes, Robert Blyth-Skyrme and Isobel Cartmel should be elevated from the Standard to the Intermediate Class; and that Claire and Mark Stringer should both 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 acknowledged in this way.
Though it seems some way off, you might like to know that the Society has been invited to stage an exhibition next Spring at the Hodgson Loom Gallery, Laxey Woollen Mills, St. Georges Mill, Glen Road, Laxey. for a period of 3 to 4 weeks. Your Committee believes this will be a good venue to showcase some of the Society’s work and has accepted. Details have yet to be finalised but will be announced as soon as they have been confirmed. At this stage, we are looking at a possible preview evening for the exhibition on the 16th February. I expect we shall need around 100 images and we shall be asking members to provide prints about 2 to 3 weeks in advance for display on the basis that the majority will be for sale to the public
The Summer Outings, 2011
We have had a successful Summer of joint activities which have been well supported and from which I have received a good deal of positive feedback. We have had good numbers joining in on the visits to Garwick Glen to photograph the bluebells; the Gaiety Theatre; the House of Keys Chamber and Legislative Buildings; and Milntown, Lezayre. We also had our disposable camera competition around Castletown which proved very popular, though I was unable to be present. The members’ print panel entries will be judged on the evening of the 9th November.
It is gratifying that they have proved to be so popular and I would like to thank very much those who planned and made the arrangements for them.
The Winter Programme 2011/12
As I write this letter, the Programme for the coming Winter is being finalised. The Committee has done its best to construct a Programme which offers some variety to meet the differing needs of the membership and I hope it will be well received by the broad membership.
Whilst there can be a serious side to photography with our regular competitions, I believe our main focus should be on enjoying our weekly gatherings and each other’s company in a convivial atmosphere, where photographers of all abilities and levels of experience are encouraged to share ideas and make new friends. I hope, therefore, that members will try to persuade guests to come along to our meetings so that, if they are interested in photography, they might feel inspired to return on a regular basis and become full members. New members should not be made to feel pressured into entering competitions or that they need to be proficient photographers in order to join us. Our membership comprises a wide range of abilities from beginner to ‘expert’ and those wishing to improve their photography should seek help and advice on photographic problems on club nights from those who are more experienced and knowledgeable. If we don’t have the answers to every query, we probably know someone who does! We are very fortunate in the Society that most of our more experienced members are willing to take time out to provide advice to those asking for guidance.
For our second meeting on Wednesday, 5th October, we intend to try something a little bit different to respond to a few of the requests we have received for practical tips on specific topics at the start of the Winter. We are planning to concentrate on basic photography skills for our newer members in a series of very short sessions but these might also serve as handy ‘refreshers’ for other members too, especially if they have become too used to relying on the automatic functions on their cameras!
Christmas Social Evening
Following the very positive feedback we received from those who attended the extremely successful dinner and prize presentation at the Douglas Golf Pavilion last May, a provisional booking has already been made for the evening of Tuesday, 13th December (NOT a Wednesday!) for our Christmas Social. On that evening, we shall have a triptych competition about which we shall be circulating very clear guidance a bit nearer the time. [There will not be a Society gathering on Wednesday, 14th December].
Recognition for the Society
During the past year, I am pleased that the good reputation and status of the Society has been recognised by external bodies. Members have been asked to assist the UK War Graves Commission with its project to photograph and record all war graves on the Island. Peter Cartmel has already begun work on this and anyone else who might be interested should have a word with him first.
Manx National Heritage then asked our members if they would help an initiative to create and image populate the newly opened I-Museum in Kingswood Grove, Douglas by photographing all war memorials on the Island, of which there are a fair number. A few of us are now working on this project but, if any other members would like to participate, please speak to Chris Blyth, John Phipp or to me. It would be great to have more help with this over the next couple of years.
Finally, the Castletown Regeneration Committee of the Council of Ministers asked us to help with its new tourist maps and this project has just been completed. Thank you very much to those who helped with this piece of work.
The Society’s Website
As you know, Mark Stringer is our Web Master and he has done a good job in the past 12 months establishing and updating the Society’s website at iomps.com. If anyone wishes to contact the Society, they can e-mail email@example.com, and such messages will be ‘picked up’ by Mark.
I shall look forward to welcoming you all to our first meeting at 7.30 pm on Wednesday, 28th September at Thie Ellyn with a ‘showcase of the Society’s projected digital images and prints.
With my very best wishes