Sheffield Photographic Society's 90th exhibition

PUBLISHED: 14:39 28 April 2010 | UPDATED: 15:00 20 February 2013

Sheffield Photographic Society

Sheffield Photographic Society

One of the world's oldest photgraphic societies stages its 90th exhibition.

This February, Sheffield Photographic Society reaches a milestone in its long history with the opening of the society's 90th Annual Exhibition. Sheffield PS has actually been in existence for 144 years, making it one of the oldest photographic societies in the world. It's also one of the largest in the UK, with over 100 members, including 16 who live within or close to Derbyshire.

When established in 1864, a small group of professional photographers was 'bound together by personal regard and a common interest in scientific investigation.' 'Photography was very scientific in those days,' says Society historian Michael Arksey, 'so only professionals with the ability to understand the science would be able to master the art. Also, a group outing like the one pictured to "Lathkyl Dale" in 1879, would have been a considerable undertaking. These were the days of the "wet plate" and the "dark tent" so a photographic excursion was a serious matter. All the equipment, including cases of chemicals as well as heavy cameras and tripods, had to be carried, so one wonders how they got everything in that coach!'

Michael published a history of the society in 2000 and what could make Sheffield PS unique is that his partner, Eileen Cooke, is the Society archivist. Nowadays, the society is made up of both amateur enthusiasts and professional practitioners, with a healthy regard for both digital and traditional film-based photography. 'After ebbing and flowing like many other clubs and societies over the years, we approach our 90th exhibition in a stronger position than we have known for some years,' says Society president Jim Charlton. 'This has been brought about not only by the digital revolution but also by our Society's response to it. We have embraced the changes with enthusiasm - setting up tutorials and workshops for both our members and the wider public, adapting our club night programme, initiating a digital sub group and, at the same time, accommodating our members who do not wish to switch at this time to digital photography. Sheffield Photographic Society is thriving.'

The Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Cllr Arthur Dunworth, will open the 90th Annual Exhibition at 11am on Thursday, 14th February in the new 1554 Gallery inside Sheffield Cathedral. Society members will be on hand at various times to give further information about membership or simply to chat about the images or photography in general. The exhibition runs until Sunday 17th February. Opening times: 9am to 5pm, Sunday 9am to 1pm.


Visit for more details of the Society, including its varied programme of events.

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