History of the Club
Originally Peter Smith, his brother Ralph Smith, Stephen Potter, John Grant and Joe Vowles were members of the Co-operative camera club, when they were told that the Madeley Centre in Normanton had just opened and had a purpose built darkroom, So the Madeley Photographic Workshop was set up there in 1975 under the auspices of a city educational enterprise.
Photographic courses were organised in the evenings, successfully introducing many students to film based photography. Instruction and participation was provided in basic techniques, presentation, dark room work, studio lighting and the history of photography. These very successful courses generated an enthusiastic band of photographers and the limitations of meeting within an educational establishment began to tell. Meetings and courses were limited to term times and had to finish at 9.30pm, resulting in the local pub becoming an unofficial, but attractive venue.
Fortunately, the club was able to obtain a new home in the premises of the hospitable Derby Rowing Club, where meetings could be held every week in comfortable surroundings, with bar facilities.
In this new location, the club was able to expand its activities and to continue its original aims of introducing photography to a wider group of interested people. Over the subsequent 25 years, the club organised over 500 lectures, more than 200 photographic competitions, exhibited at Derby Art Gallery and the Q Gallery, took part in countless inter-club competitions, devised and presented audio-visual performances, organised outings and weekend photography breaks, and took on an active part in the internationally supported Derby Format photography festival.
The club benefited from generous support by the Lotteries Commission. This allowed expansion by funding new equipment, software, books and services, helping to further the aims of bringing the appreciation and execution of photography to an even wider audience.
As well as an increased capacity to provide learning and experience, the club has been enabled to embrace the digital age and provide practical, hands-on development of capture, enhancement, manipulation and presentation skills. This digital expansion generated sufficient demand for the club to create "Techniques Tuesdays" when the many interested members took time to concentrate on such matters as pixels and Photoshop to complement the content of the regular Monday meetings.
The club's activities created a response in recruiting many new members and the long, harmonious relationship with the Derby Rowing Club came to an end when expansion of the membership dictated a change. The club was fortunate in being able to move to larger accommodation at the Grange in Littleover, Derby in July 2009 where an equally comfortable and welcoming ambience has been found.
The club looks forward to another period of development and the continuation of its aim to provide experience, learning and socialising in its hallmark friendly atmosphere.. What will the next 25 years bring?