Camera Club

Mention of Clive Landen in the post on one of his former students, Anastasia Taylor-Lind, sent me off to Google to find out more about him, though there was disappointingly little. Almost all that I found were links about his exhibition and book Familiar British Wildlife, pictures of roadkill, which reminded me of the work of a friend of mine, Carol Hudson, and a group show back in 1985 where as well as her fine still life images of dead birds we had a row of prints of her photograph of a dead cat laid out across the gallery floor. Most visitors stepped very carefully over them.

I sent some of Carol’s work to J. David Sapir,  then a Professor (and now Emeritus Professor) in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, who had a pioneering web site ‘Fixing Shadows’, founded in May 1995 with a commitment to ‘straight photography’, and it precipitated quite a discussion about exactly what was meant by that term.

Also Google took me to another historic web site which I’ve not visited for perhaps ten years, Camera Club. This was set up by “artist, writer and lecturer Stephen Bull” as a contribution to Photo 98: The Year of Photography and the Electronic Image, and for it he persuaded six “well known gallery artists and photographers” to submit work to be judged as a part of an amateur photographic competition at the Ilkley Camera Club in Yorkshire.

Most of the links away from this site no longer work, and so some of the associated material is no longer available, but you can still see the four pictures from each of the photographers and the brief comment made on them by the judge (who was fully aware of the project) along with his mark out of 20 for each picture.

In my experience, club judges seldom gave any picture less than half marks, so the 10 out of 20 awarded Landen for one  of his pictures was rock bottom, though Martin Parr also achieved this for his cup of tea. Landen’s four images totalled 51 points, making his by 2 marks the lowest score of the six. The club star was  John Kippin with 70, one of his landscape images gaining the full 20, and he was duly awarded the The Stephen Bull Trophy.

It’s a site that still amuses – at least it amuses me – and  also very much shows the passage of time, both in web design and in photography in the choice of photographers and their pictures. Though I’m not sure camera clubs have changed much; certainly in 1998 they were still very similar in their ideas to 20 years earlier.

2 Responses to “Camera Club”

  1. ChrisL says:

    I love that the photo credit for the winner is credited; Martin Parr.
    I was disappointed there was not one “well seen” at all in the comments though.

  2. Yes, I don’t know if all the photographers attended but Martin and John Kippin appear to have been there.

    The club I belonged to for a few years around 1980 used to occasionally do something a little similar but the other way round, inviting people who were not ‘club judges’ to come and judge their monthly competition. There was a near riot in the audience when Peter Turner came, and I think some of the normally very polite audience and formal audience actually jeered at what he said about the picture I had put in that month.

    There were others who were less controversial but also very much not club people, and although typical club judges like the one who took part in this were listened to politely I think there would have been some pretty adverse comments in the pub after the meeting and certainly some club judges were never invited again.

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