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A vi­brant and re­laxed club that wel­comes all new­com­ers

Amateur Photographer - - 7days -

When was the club founded?

Chel­tenham Cam­era Club is one of the old­est and largest cam­era clubs in the coun­try. It was es­tab­lished in 1865.

What does it of­fer new mem­bers?

Guests and new mem­bers are made wel­come; we en­cour­age a ‘new buddy’ at­mos­phere for new mem­bers. We un­der­stand that all our mem­bers have dif­fer­ent as­pi­ra­tions and our pro­gramme ac­com­mo­dates this. We run tu­ition cour­ses on sub­jects rang­ing from cam­era tech­niques through to post pro­cess­ing. We also have sub- groups fo­cus­ing on Na­ture, Stu­dio and Au­dio Vis­ual work, and ar­range pho­to­graphic out­ings.

De­scribe a typ­i­cal club meet­ing.

Our weekly club meet­ing, held each Thurs­day, lasts for around two hours. The theme varies on a weekly ba­sis; we have guest speak­ers, in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal com­pe­ti­tions and two ‘mem­ber print ap­pre­ci­a­tion’ meet­ings. We also sup­ple­ment our weekly meet­ing by hold­ing a meet­ing on the first Tues­day of each month.

Do you in­vite guest speak­ers?

We gen­er­ally in­vite up­wards of 12 key­note speak­ers, all with dif­fer­ent dis­ci­plines. In the last few years we have also held ex­ter­nal events with speak­ers such as Char­lie Waite and David No­ton.

Do mem­bers com­pete in re­gional or na­tional com­pe­ti­tions?

Our mem­bers are ac­tively en­cour­aged to en­ter such ac­tiv­i­ties. The club holds ‘Bat­tles’ against other clubs in the South West, and we com­pete against clubs in Aus­tralia, the US and Ger­many on an an­nual ba­sis. Many of our mem­bers also en­ter na­tional and in­ter­na­tional sa­lons. In­deed, the club hosts its own In­ter­na­tional Sa­lon, with over 7,000 en­tries from 55 coun­tries, now in its sixth year.

Has the club, or in­di­vid­ual mem­bers, ever won any big com­pe­ti­tions?

Sev­eral in­di­vid­ual mem­bers have won gold medals and other awards in na­tional and in­ter­na­tional sa­lons.

What about na­tional pho­to­graphic so­ci­ety dis­tinc­tions?

We have 31 mem­bers who have gained a pho­to­graphic dis­tinc­tion, and we en­cour­age and sup­port mem­bers who wish to gain them. We also ap­pre­ci­ate that many of our mem­bers just wish to en­joy their hobby, so there is no pres­sure to ob­tain a dis­tinc­tion.

What are the most pop­u­lar pho­to­graphic gen­res among your mem­bers?

Our mem­bers dis­play a broad spec­trum of im­ages. Land­scape, Na­ture, Por­trai­ture and Still Life, fol­lowed by Sport and Al­tered Re­al­ity are the most dom­i­nant.

How old are your mem­bers?

The age pro­file ranges from late 30s to mid-80s, but the ma­jor­ity are in their 60s. We try to en­cour­age younger mem­bers by host­ing and run­ning such events as the Glouces­ter­shire Young Pho­tog­ra­pher of the Year Com­pe­ti­tion.

What are the club’s goals for the fu­ture?

Hav­ing just com­pleted our 150th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions, we would like to think that our pre­de­ces­sors would find the club still vi­brant, a place to ex­hibit and learn, and a place where mem­bers feel re­laxed.

Award-win­ning mem­bers of the Chel­tenham Cam­era Club

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