At the AGM earlier this year, the membership elected me to serve as the President of the Society and I must say I feel honoured to serve you all once more in this capacity. As I indicated at the time, I offered myself only so that others might have a bit more time to consider taking on this role in the future. I did say, however, that it could only be for one year this time (instead of the customary two) for personal reasons concerning Sandra’s health.
Your Committee has been extremely busy over the Summer months dealing with a range of matters. As I know the membership is anxious at this time of the year to know, I can reveal that the Committee has decided that the assignment competition topics for the coming year will be :-
- Flora (i.e. plant life, including Flowers)
- Manx Culture ( a print only competition for the IOM Bank Cup)
2013 - Our 75th Anniversary Year
Let me begin by reflecting on this important milestone in the history of the Society. It has certainly been a memorable year in several ways.
Our Anniversary ‘Exhibition of Photography’ at the House of Manannan in Peel from May to August 2013 was highly acclaimed, being opened by our Patron, the Lieutenant Governor, Mr Adam Wood. There were good attendances throughout and much favourable comment from both locals and from visitors to our Island. Those who undertook the task of planning and preparing the exhibition to show something of the history of photography on the Island and a range of top class images from members did a great job!
We were grateful to well known local photographer, Andrew Barton LBIPP, LMPA, BIPP for his active support over the Summer months. He ran four successful full day workshops in June and July, 2013, covering an introduction to photography, studio still life, portraiture, and a final one he titled ‘photo fun’. A positive spin-off from these workshops was that we were able to welcome several new members to our Society which is something we are keen to see. Indeed, the quality of work being produced by some of our newer members is keeping the more experienced members ‘on their toes’. They dare not rest on their laurels!
Then, the Society held another exhibition at the Loom Gallery at Laxey Woollen Mills. Opened by Mr Steve Rodan SHK, Speaker of the House of Keys, this was also well received with several images being sold. This is now becoming an annual event but it could not happen without the active support of the membership and much hard work by Chris Blyth.
During the year, we also competed for the third time in a three-way digital ‘battle’ with the Oldham Photographic Society and the Rochdale Camera Club. This event is now well established in our annual programme. The Committee is keen to seek out opportunities such as this for friendly rivalry with other clubs because it helps us to gauge our progress measured against other amateur photographers. The competition was won once more by Oldham but our images did very well and we were certainly not disgraced! Indeed, Shirley Lotfy's image "Lady in Red" was awarded 19 points (out of 20).
Our Annual Competitions at the end of the year were judged by John Sixsmith PPSA, EFIAP BPE5* EPSA , and his wife, Margaret (ARPS and EFIAPg, FBPE, EPSA), both highly respected judges from the Lancashire & Cheshire Photographic Union. He judged the projected digital images and she judged the print entries. They then entertained the membership with presentations of their own work, demonstrating the standards to which we should also aspire.
It seems like only yesterday that we drew last season’s activities to a close at the Cherry Orchard Hotel in Port Erin with our social evening and presentation of trophies. That was a most enjoyable occasion – good food and good company - but in just over a month’s time we shall be resuming our weekly gatherings again at Thie Ellyn. I do hope that you have all managed to enjoy a restful break in the (mostly) pleasant weather and kept your cameras at the ready throughout. It is always good to see everyone returning in the Autumn with fresh ideas and brimming full of enthusiasm!
John Dale RIP
We were greatly saddened to learn of John’s recent passing. He had fought his illness with much courage and yet had still remained cheerful in spite of the treatment he had to endure. I went to school with John so we go back a long way. He was always a ‘larger than life’ character and I know we shall all miss him and his creativity, which often brought a smile to our faces. We send our condolences to his family.
As a Society, I believe we can be pleased at the improving quality of the work being produced by our members on a regular basis. Many of our visiting judges have been very complimentary about this over the last year or so. Over the years that I have been a member of the Society, I have noted a steady improvement, particularly in the presentation of print entries. Believe me, the contrast between even 10 years ago (and I can go back quite a bit further) and now is remarkable. But we cannot allow ourselves to become complacent!
The Society’s strong links with the L&CPU and the PAGB remain important as is our continuing liaison and collaborative working with other local photographic clubs and societies. We have tried, periodically, to offer encouragement and advice to our less experienced members through practical evenings, but I hope any member who has a query will not be afraid to ask for guidance whenever they feel the need. Our more experienced members are happy to share their knowledge and experience and to offer constructively advice.
The Society prides itself on being friendly club and, as I mentioned earlier, new faces are always welcome. We all have a part to play in greeting ‘strangers’ and in helping them to feel ‘at home’.
We cannot stand still as a Society. Consequently, 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 will be considered by the Committee.
The Committee of the Society
Your Committee has met several times since last May and has been working very hard arranging outings and devising an interesting and varied new programme. I would like to place on record my thanks to the Committee members for their suggestions for summer outings and for guest presenters. In particular, my grateful thanks go to our hard-working Secretary, Claire Stringer, for co-ordinating the new programme so efficiently. The Society would struggle to function without their continuing commitment throughout the year in so many ways.
Re-Classifications for 2014/15
Each year, one of the more difficult tasks facing the Committee is to review the points scored in the preceding year’s photographic competitions. This can never be an exact science but the Committee does spend quite a bit of time, carefully examining the results over the whole of the previous year. A range of different factors is taken into account before a final decision is reached and the Committee’s aim is always to ensure the outcome is as fair as can be to all members and in the best interests of the Society. Naturally, we are sorry if anyone is disappointed by the Committee’s decision but all I can say is that it does approach the task with complete objectivity.
This year, the Committee concluded that there should be no re-classifications from the Intermediate Class to the Advanced Class but it did agree that two members, Nessie Gillen and Mark Falconer, should be elevated from the Standard to the Intermediate Class.
The Summer Outings, 2014
Chris Blyth organised two more successful boat trips from Port St Mary in the Summer which were fully subscribed. (Sadly, I was off Island on both occasions and missed them!) Then, we had a trip to the Ballanette Nature Reserve at Baldrine, Lonan. Unfortunately, the Meteorological Office advice caused us to postpone the trip from the Sunday to the following evening. This proved to be the correct decision and we were blessed with a lovely evening in beautifully scenic surroundings. The Society is most grateful to Barbara and Stewart Clague for their generous support, given so willingly. It was a pity that the disposable camera competition in Peel had to be cancelled at short notice due to inclement weather, but we thank Tony Curtis for making all the arrangements.
It is gratifying that all of these outings have proved to be so popular.
The New Programme for 2014/15
The Autumn and Winter Programme is scheduled to start on Wednesday, 1st October, 2014, with a prompt start at 7.30 pm, as previously agreed! The Committee has tried to construct a programme with broad appeal to suit all tastes and I hope it will be well received by the membership. Full details will be posted on the iomps.com website shortly.
There will be a change this coming year to the method for submitting competition entries for the projected digital images. Fear not, the Committee is arranging for guidance to be given to everyone at the start of the season to help you all with this. (I am assured it will not be difficult to follow the guidance!)
Whilst we all take our photography fairly seriously, it has always been my personal view that our main focus should be on enjoying our weekly gatherings and each other’s company in a convivial atmosphere. We should all try to have a little fun and to create a relaxed atmosphere where photographers of all abilities and levels of experience can 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 know that help and advice on photographic problems is available 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.
IOMPS Laxey Exhibition
Though it seems some way off, you might like to know that the Society has been invited to stage another exhibition in February/March, 2015, at the Hodgson Loom Gallery. Your Committee believes this is a good opportunity to showcase the work of the Society 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 Friday, 13th February. As in the past, 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 Society’s Website
As you know, Mark Stringer is our Web Master and he has done a great job in the past maintaining the Society’s website at iomps.com. It requires a good deal of dedication and constant attention to keep the information up to date. So I place on record a big ‘thank you’ to Mark for his diligence.
Thanks to Our Sponsors
I would like to place on record the Committee’s gratitude to the Isle of Man Arts Council, Manx National Heritage, Isle of Man Bank and the Loom Gallery for their support over the past year, not forgetting all of the judges we call upon and who give their time so freely.
I am looking forward with eager anticipation to the new season and to welcoming you all back to our first meeting at the beginning of October. On the first night, we are hoping to feature the annual digital entries from last March which most of the membership will not have seen before. So, it will be a gentle phasing in and an opportunity to get to know each other again and exchange tales of those ‘shots’ that didn’t quite come off as hoped!
With my very best wishes and thanks for your continuing support,