Joe was delighted to be the first SLPS member to be interviewed for the new SLPS website with a chat about his 50 years as a member of the camera club. I thought Chat Lines would be a good way for members to get to know a little more about club life over the years and its fellow photographers in a little more detail, and Jane our new web manager agreed to give it a try.
I set off to meet with Joe with just few preconceived ideas and to let the conversation unroll in old fashioned chat style, something I really enjoy doing. Joe started by telling me about how tough it had been being an amateur photographer and coming from a family of 14 including three sets of twins. Luckily, he was able to earn enough money as a can lad on the building sites to buy himself his first camera, an Agfa Super Isalet, which cost him a hard earned £25.00 and is still a very well respected camera today renowned for its high lens quality and suitability for contra jour photography, something Joe enjoys immensely.
Being a very enthusiastic member of the SLPS, Joe quickly got involved with committee work taking on many tasks from organising exhibitions to selling raffle tickets, and he soon became the friendly face who was always there to greet you. He also had an uncanny way of making the visiting judge or lecturer feel at ease by throwing out the odd comical comment which always made the evenings go with a swing.
The highlight for Joe came after 46 years as a member when he was awarded the South Liverpool Photographic Society Life Membership Award for his distinguished services to the club, an evening he says he will never forget. When it comes to taking photographs he is just as happy being out with his medium-format camera taking architectural photographs as he is recording big events in Sefton Park using his 35mm Nikon film cameras. As a traditionalist, Joe hasn’t moved over to digital as he prefers to use all the tricks he has learnt over the past years rather than learn all the new digital ones.
Joe feels that as the size of the club is growing it should reintroduce a two-tier competition system to encourage new members to enter all competitions. Joe thinks that this would give the beginners an easier chance to develop and show off their photographic skills. Joe believes the club is going from strength to strength probably due to it getting onto the digital stage in the very start of digital photography. He says he enjoys the summer syllabus, especially lectures from the clubs members as this is unique to the SLPS and he would like to see the ideas expanded.
Joe has now outgrown many of his old favourite club friends for various reasons but will always remember fine photographs from skilled SLPS members such as Reg Coleman FRPS, John Riley ARPS, Len Brecknell, Wally Free, and the late Peter Kay, Alec Balmer, and Bill Connell. He also enjoys the work of present members such as Steve May and Eric Garnett ARPS.
Joe’s own claim to fame came after coming high up in the top of a National GPO Photographic competition with fellow member Len Brecknell and narrowly missing out on the big money prizes. After 50 years as a member of the SLPS he is still as passionate about his photography as he was the day he bought his first camera and believes that the standards of photography are higher today than they have ever been.
Joe and I could have discussed club life and photography all afternoon but I was already one hour late in leaving this very contented member.