Here we are, at the end of a momentous season at Shirley Photographic Society, probably for all the wrong reasons.
Congratulations to Mick, who has 'held-the-fort' so effectively this year and, happily, has agreed to continue as our President for the forthcoming season. Congratulations, too, to Jenny and Jolanta on their well-deserved promotions to Group 2 and Group 3, respectively.
At this year’s AGM we decided upon our theme for next season’s Themed Competition. The voting was close, but our members chose the theme of 'Trees'. So, perhaps time to start thinking out-of-the-box, in order to produce something to catch the judge’s eye. We hope to have both digital and print versions of the Themed Competition next season, and remember, there are no constraints on when the picture was taken.
Our formal season heads towards a conclusion with next week’s Creative and AV Competitions, the remaining few guest speakers and our AGM and President’s Evening. However, the good news is that our season will continue throughout the summer recess with a variety of guest speakers, member’s evenings and informal competitions brought to you through the magic of Zoom. Any pictures entered into these ‘fun’ summer competitions do not count as an ‘entry’ and may be used in next season’s competitions.
It is quite surreal to think our lives have been ‘on hold’ now for over a year. When we held our last meeting at the Methodist Church, back in March 2020, who could have guessed what the year had in store for us? However, we’ve embraced the technology, managed to carry on and have even picked up a few new members along the way. We all look forward to meeting them face-to-face in the not-too-distant future.
Coronavirus restrictions may continue, but our club continues online through the medium of Zoom. The recent Mono / Travel competition was heavily over-subscribed, demonstrating the depth of commitment our members have to keep our club going. Although we have missed meeting up face-to-face, I can’t help but think that our experience of continuing to meet as a Society via Zoom has, somehow, brought us a little closer together.
Who could have predicted a year ago, when we were holding our last few meetings in the Methodist Church Hall, that we would be conducting our club entirely online. Twelve months ago, if someone had suggested downloading video-conferencing software and running the club online, I would have thought they had been reading too much Science-Fiction! But, here we are....
Wishing you all a very Happy New Year! Let’s hope the year 2021 brings the chance to meet up in person as a club once again. I sincerely hope so.
Through the magic of Zoom, our club continues to thrive online, and in the forthcoming months we can look forward to welcoming a wide range of speakers and judges. In February, we welcome Claire Carter with her presentation ‘The Camera Lies’, the chance to enjoy the second round of our Mono and 'Travel' competitions, and an evening with our very own David Venables and David Steele. March sees Simon Van-Orden visit us online with his talk 'Chasing the Lights’ and our Annual Interclub and Annual Digital competitions. Many thanks to Sue Pearmain for curating such a varied and interesting programme for us to enjoy. Sue has done a wonderful job in very uncertain times.
I think you will agree, in these testing times, our shared hobby has kept us going. Although opportunities to get out-and-about to take new photographs have been somewhat scarce, our online competitions and lectures show that our members have been willing and able to adapt. We have seen images shot in the back garden, from local walks and parks, table-top creativity and much evidence of much trawling through back catalogues stored on hard-disks. We have seen long-forgotten photographs from the past re-visited, and perhaps re-edited. Have to say, I don't take any credit for keeping the club going,... the club has kept me going. I have needed the club as much as the club needed me.
Well, as the sun sets on the year 2020, one thing is certain: 2020 is not a year we will forget in a hurry. In January, we saw wildfires in Australia, February brought storms and floods to many parts of the UK, then in March, a global pandemic changed everything. Whatever next? Locusts?
In the New Year, we kick-off with our new ‘Four Pics’ competition. Just like our traditional ‘Six Prints’ competition, but not six, and not prints. Please send four fun pictures to the usual email address. Any theme, any subject and just for fun so entries are still eligible to be entered (twice) into this year’s competitions. In the first round the audience will vote for their favourite two of your four, ready to compete in the second round, where they will meet the best of the rest, and onwards to the final.
May I take this opportunity to wish you all a happy and contented festive season, whatever compromises we face. In 2021, things can only get better.
19th November 2020
The theme for next year's President's Assignment is 'Shapes'. A theme with so many possibilities: one shape, many shapes, odd shapes, regular shapes, indeed anything and everything has a shape! Once again, in light of current restrictions, we have relaxed the rule where the shutter must have been pressed in the year following the announcement of the theme, so feel free to trawl through your back catalogue and get creative! The only rules are that we have not seen the picture in a previous season and it is all your own work.
'Two Famous Midlanders' by Tony Dyson
Congratulations to Anna Ladbooke who was recently presented with the prestigious Award, Young Solihull Photographer of 2020. This annual competition is open to all Solihull students studying photography at school, and is organised by the Rotary Club of Solihull, and sponsored by the Touchwood Shopping Centre. Anna’s winning pictures can be seen on display in Touchwood. Many congratulations! What an accolade!
The migration of our website to a new, more secure server is almost complete. Just a few more members' galleries to add, and the competition results to fill-in as the season progresses, together with one or two 'tweaks'.
The season continues to be successful online, with a healthy audience of over 30 members each week. For all its faults, the internet has allowed clubs like ours to continue to function under the current coronavirus restrictions. Through the use of Zoom, we have been able to enjoy competitions and presentations from visiting speakers, some as far afield as France(!). Vive La Zoom!
A very warm welcome to the 2020/21 season at Shirley Photographic Society! It promises to be a very different sort of season, with online speakers and digital competitions in the first part of the season and, hopefully, live meetings and print competitions in the second half.
Many thanks to everyone for supporting the online challenges and events during the summer period. Hopefully, they helped the time spent in lockdown pass a little more painlessly.
As the new season kicks-off online, we can look forward to the usual mix of guest speakers, members’ evenings and competitions. Here are a few of the highlights:
First Digital Competition - Judge: Trevor Bell LRPS
Mongolia - From Steppe to Eagle Hunters - Julian Elliott
Mono and Travel Competitions - Judge: John Haines
The Art of Metamorphosis - Andrea Hargreaves MPAGB EFIAP/b BPE3* PSA4
Landscape Competition - Ralph Duckett MPAGB EFIAP APAGB
Hope this message finds you all fit-and-well. Well, what strange times we find ourselves living through. Testing times for us all. The Covid-19 pandemic has managed to disrupt every aspect of our lives and our shared hobby is, perhaps understandably, a low priority at the moment. However, in the forthcoming weeks and months we are sure to appreciate a little entertainment, so, as a club, we have tried to respond by continuing with a few activities and challenges. Our final formal competition of the season, the Annual Projected Competition, has been completed with Anne Sutcliffe stepping in to judge the images from home. We have a new deadline for our Creative Competition (9th April), to be judged by our own members online. We have other activities in the pipeline, and I plan to produce a more regular newsletter, so we can keep in touch during the next few months, while we are unlikely to be able to meet up in person.
The New Year at Shirley Photographic Society brings a wealth of talent. January sees the annual visit of the latest MCPF Travelling Portfolio, showcasing some of the work of the best Midlands’ photographers, our own ‘Transport’- themed competition and a return visit for professional photographer, the unmissable, Ashley Franklin. In February, we can look forward to our Mono Competition (this year judged by John Haines) and Landscapes (judged by Paddy Ruske) as well as our own Graham Walton with his talk ‘East, West and In-Between’.
Many thanks to Fay Venables, Sue Pearmain and Chris Mallett for organising our wonderful Christmas Meal at Fulford Heath Golf Course, which proved to be an excellent evening. Great food, great company and Phil managed to find a matching pair of shoes this time.
Also, many thanks to Chris, Jan, Fay, Patrick, Sue and Dave for all of their hard work in co-ordinating and presenting our Christmas Knockout at the end of December. This popular event raised a grand total of £462.50 towards club funds! The proceeds from the Knockout, the weekly Lottery draw and our raffle draws each year help to pay for visiting speakers and judges, meaning we can invite quality visitors from further afield, so many thanks for supporting these events.
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