Ryde Photographic Society
In 1905 it was proposed to form a photographic society in Ryde. The idea was met with a fair bit of scepticism. An interested party wrote in the IW Observer November issue, “I am not a photographer myself; only a mere painter. But photography is an excellent study as long as it does not indulge in pretentious flights, and seek to rival the contents of the National Gallery in its productions, and I note that the multitude of coloured photographic post cards are far less artistic and the colouring is too often crude or monotonous.”
Ryde Photographic Outing to Beaulieu (photo right)
This outing was successfully carried out on Thursday 7th June 1906 in ideal photographic weather. About 40 members and friends boarded the S.S. Prince, at 10.45 a.m., at Pier Head, arriving at Beaulieu Hard about 12.30, after a pleasant passage on a calm sea. From here the members either walked or drove to Beaulieu, where a welcome lunch was partaken of at the Montague Arms. Immediately after lunch cameras were brought to bear upon the many lovely pieces of scenery, and the picturesque ruins in the vicinity of Beaulieu Abbey and Church were thoroughly studied. A very pleasant half hour was spent in the house by the mill stream. At 5 o’clock the ladies dispensed tea, after which Mr J. B. Purnell proposed and Mr Gem seconded a hearty vote of thanks to the hon. Secretary, Mr H. Senior, for his great kindness in procuring the steam launch and making all arrangements for a most enjoyable day. Mr Senior suitably responded and hoped that there would be many outings equally successful. Returning to Bucker’s Hard the return passage home was made, arriving at Ryde Pier about 7.45.
In January 1907, considering how successful the Cowes Camera Club and the Newport Photographic Society were, it was a matter for wonder that the Ryde Photographic Society had not received greater support. However, by March that year, to encourage new members, the Society had secured a suitable headquarters in Church Lane with dark rooms, lecture room, etc., for the use of members at all times. The Committee arranged monthly competitions throughout the year, and intended holding an exhibition at the end of the season. Lectures and demonstrations were arranged and it was hoped the Society would meet with the support of all amateur photographers.
In April the same year, the Ryde Photographic Society held the first exhibition of the work of the members, which could be seen at the Society’s Rooms in Church Lane. Generally speaking, the photographs were very good indeed, while certain of the more prominent bore evidence of much artistic skill. Anyone interested in photography could see the exhibition by applying to the secretary, Mr. Edgson, Union Street, for the key of the rooms.
By the October meeting and lecture, there was such a large attendance that the accommodation was scarcely sufficient. The popularity of amateur photography and the success of the Society, had grown considerably.
The Photographic Monthly magazine in the January issue 1910, its seventeenth volume, told of the “News from the Societies” being brief notes of the doings of the Photographic Societies in all parts of the country, and particularly the extent to which the hobby had grown and overtaken other pastimes. Also, that it could be equally enjoyed by the ladies as well as the men.
Sources: IW Observer, RSHG Archive
Image: Roy Brinton Collection RSHG Archive
Article: Ann Barrett