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This year sees The North Shore Photographic Society celebrate a landmark anniversary. To honour 60 years since its inception, the society is holding a special anniversary exhibition of past and present members’ work, which was officially opened on Wednesday 22 October at the Mairangi Arts Centre, and runs through until 22 November. Channel spoke to club vice president Janet Munnings to find out more...
It was 60 years ago, back in July 1954, that the inaugural meeting of the North Shore Camera Club was held. The 30 attendees, including then mayor of Northcote John Potter, Bruce Herrick - who remained a member until his death in 2008 - and ‘Chess’ Chester, decided to start a club. The group soon changed their name to The North Shore Photographic Society, and in 1955 became affiliated with the Photographic Society of New Zealand.
The society now has a membership of 108, with new members joining every month. And despite the increase in members, meetings are run in much the same way as they were 60 years ago. “We have a set subject meeting and an open subject evening,” explains Janet. “Photos are critiqued by a Photographic Society of New Zealand accredited judge, and are scored with either Acceptance, Highly Commended, or Honours. After judging, the judge may do a presentation of his own work, then we all mix and mingle over tea and coffee.”
A keen photographer herself, Janet has been an active society member for nearly three years, having heard about it from a friend. “Many members join the club for social reasons. It is a great place to learn different photography techniques and find out about the latest gadgets. Personally, I enjoy watching other people’s talents, and participating in field trips,” she explains.
Janet loves the lifestyle the Shore has to offer, and the spectacular scenery guarantees she is never short of inspiration for her photographs. “The beaches are absolutely beautiful,” she says.
The society’s current members range in age from 14 to 90 plus years old, and although there are no classes specifically aimed at children, those aged 14 years and over with an interest in photography are encouraged to join up. Meetings are held every second Wednesday of the month in the Memorial Hall in the Takapuna Public Library Building at 1 The Strand, Takapuna, and anyone is welcome to join – annual membership costs $50.
The committee ensures there are judges for every competition and topics for every workshop. They also offer some of the best field trips you will ever go on, according to
Janet who lives in Silverdale and , as vice president, does her utmost to support club president John Parry to ensure all things run smoothly.
Among its 108 members, The North Shore Photographic Society counts some of the country’s top photographic talent, including Doug and Jean Moulin, and Ilam Wittenberg, who is about to host his own exhibition at Silo Park on Auckland’s waterfront. The North Shore Salon (est. 1995) is the society’s most prestigious competition. Held annually, the competition attracts approximately 2,500 entries.
The arrival of the digital age has clearly had a profound effect on the world of photography. A society memo sums up the changes well: ‘At first the cameras were really expensive and the images had many problems. Then Photoshop and other software became readily available. Looking back at some of the early digital entries reminds us of looking back at fashions of a few decades ago – we ask how we could have been so naïve. Now we take digital work for granted and many wonder what the old-timers are talking about when they speak of film, darkrooms and slide projectors.’
“Digital photography has opened a huge door, not only technically, but also financially,” Janet adds. “People are able to experiment much more now with digital than in the film and dark room days.”
What makes a good photo? “Well, it must have the ‘wow’ factor, where the photographer has looked outside the box,” says Janet.
Colour, or black and white? “I like both,” she says. “Believe it or not though there is a special art to producing a very good black and white photo.”
Janet’s opinion on the ‘selfie’? “I am fine with selfies taken in the right place at the right time. We do have photos taken on mobile phones presented at the club for judging – I expect it will be the next era,” she muses.
With the 60th anniversary exhibition officially launched and the exhibition well under way, visitors to the Mairangi Arts Centre are in store for a photographic symphony. On display are 101 current members’ images and 68 historic images taken over the past 60 years.
So get along to the Mairangi Arts Centre to view a truly wonderful snapshot of the North Shore Photographic Society members’ work – past and present.
What: North Shore Photographic Society 60th Anniversary Exhibition
When: 22 October – 22 November, 2014
Where: Mairangi Arts Centre, 20 Hastings Rd, Mairangi Bay, www.mairangiarts.co.nz
For more information: http://www.northshorephoto.co.nz
Channel Magazine: Issuu 49 November 2014