Having embraced Zoom for their fortnightly meetings, Woodford & Wanstead Photographic Society member Alan Simpson gives a snapshot of what the historic club offers to the community
Founded in 1893 in the Coffee Tavern beside George Lane (South Woodford) railway station, Woodford Photographic Society added Wanstead to its name in 2005 because that is where, in more normal times, we now meet. As one of the oldest photographic societies in the East Anglian Federation, we celebrated our 125th anniversary in 2018.
Our fortnightly programme of events includes talks, competitions, exhibitions and outings. We also run informal masterclasses to teach Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom basics. We have a wide variety of photographic skill levels and everyone is willing to share his or her knowledge and learn from others. Social nights are held on the second and fourth Monday of each month. These informal meetings take place in the bar area at Wanstead House and give members opportunities to network. The club is also active on Facebook and Instagram, where members and non-members can share images and comments. Visitors and potential new members can attend their first three club meetings free of charge.
Our programme includes talks and demonstrations by guest speakers, some from the local area, and others from further afield. Our competitions are judged by qualified external judges. Under Covid-19 restrictions, we made good use of Zoom and had judges and presenters from across the country.
Our current membership total is approaching 40, and through Zoom, we even recruited a new member in the USA! Several members have gained Royal Photographic Society LRPS and ARPS distinctions. One member has recently gained his FRPS, the club’s first for several years.
Most genres are represented by our members. Our annual print and projected image competitions can attract more than 200 entries. The subjects include landscapes, portraits, sport, street photography, nature and wildlife, with many particularly creative images amongst them.
When the club was formed back in 1893, its aims included ‘the discussion of the subjects connected with photography in a social manner, and the encouragement of photographic research practice among the members by mutual and friendly assistance’, and ‘a desire to do something of value to the community’. Today, we are a friendly club and welcome everyone with a passion for photography, amateur or professional, acknowledged artist or enthusiastic novice.
We hope to continue our mutual and friendly assistance, and to carry on serving the photographic community well into the future.