Camaraderie in focus at Camera Club

Members of Hawick Camera Club in the High Street premises get ready for one of the many slide shows
Members of Hawick Camera Club in the High Street premises get ready for one of the many slide shows

STANDING at over 70 years of age, there’s plenty to focus on at Hawick Camera Club.

And while technology has developed since the first meeting on March 30, 1937 in the Central Rooms, O’Connell Street, the club’s founding principal remains the same.

Attended by 22 like-minded people, it was agreed that “the object of the club shall be the development of photography”.

President John Hill told the Hawick News: “In terms of the mechanisms and science of taking photographs there has been a big change, but the camaraderie, encouragement and way people see how they can improve, the very ethos of the club, has stayed the same.

“That is one of the big reasons why the Camera Club continues to attract both existing members – of which we have a very high number, which we have had for donkeys years – as well as a steady stream of new people who come and enjoy the help they get.”

From O’Connell Street, professional photographer Melgund Murray later opened and made his premises in North Bridge Street available for meetings.

The club gathered regularly until the outbreak of the Second World War, and then ceased to meet until October 1948, when meetings were resumed, first in the public library hall, and from 1950 in Dovemount Place.

The first exhibition was held in the Buccleuch Memorial in January 1950 and since then the work of members has been regularly shown to the public.

Since 1952, monthly competitions have been a regular feature of club activity, allowing members to comment on other’s work; this has led to a considerable improvement in members’ photography, and helping each other has been one of the main strengths of the club’s life.

Mr Hill said: “There’s an opportunity for people who are interested in taking photographs to talk to other people of a similar mind.

“The raisen d’etre of the club is to run photographic competitions and people who are maybe not so experienced can come along, look at the work and talk to those who have entered.”

In October 1957 the club took the courageous step of leasing, and subsequently purchasing its present premises at 78 High Street.

Over the years they have been extended and improved, almost all by the members’ own efforts. The clubrooms offer a 40-seat cinema where slide shows are regularly organised and a portraiture studio which also serves as an exhibition room for print displays.

The introduction of audio-visual presentations has led to a wider knowledge in the town of the club’s activities, and the annual exhibitions in March have attracted a large and regular following. While competitions are hosted in-house as well as with other clubs throughout the Borders and the north of England.

Membership of the club has been the springboard to a successful professional career for several members, of whom three examples are: Derek Lunn, who has a studio in the Howegate; Ian Rutherford, who is employed as a staff photographer with the Scotsman newspaper; and John Parris, who also has a successful business.

Club meetings are held each Thursday at 7.30pm during September to April in the High Street clubrooms. Mr Hill added: “If you are interested and would like to know more, give us a visit, you will be made very welcome.”