On Friday 24th September a small, specially selected team of our members managed to infiltrate Shirley Methodist Church Hall, and successfully conducted a Zoom meeting from inside our room, interacting with a number of agents based at home. I am not at liberty to say how many members took part in this mission, but ‘I counted them all out, and I counted them all back’. The good news is, when we return to the Hall we will be able to enjoy the benefits of Zoom from the Church, such as being able to invite speakers from further afield, who will appear live on screen. Also, we will be able to conduct the President's Assignment evening from the Hall in November, with a small audience, meaning we will be able to show prints for the first time in 18-months.
Our poll at the Extraordinary General Meeting on Thursday 26th August, suggested that members were in favour of continuing to meet online via Zoom, for the next few months, with a view to returning to the Church Hall in January 2022. However, we are committed to testing out the technology, in order to ensure Zoom meetings will be successful from the Church. Also, we will conduct a trial where a number of members will be invited to join a live meeting to judge prints at the Hall, and broadcast this on Zoom. More details to follow.
Our Knockout Competition on Thursday 9th September was hugely popular, attracting a total of 473 entries! Thank you all for generously supporting this event which raised £236 towards club funds! Congratulations to Mick and Aileen whose pictures survived to the final round, with Mick's 'Helvetia Sunset' claiming the top-spot.
Our new season kicks-off on Thursday 9th September with our Knockout Competition. Just like our traditional Christmas Knockout, only in September! Members may enter as many pictures as they like, any theme, any year, but just-for-fun. Pictures are displayed two-at-a-time, and the audience vote for their preferred image, left or right. We whittle down the images round-by-round, until we reach the final two, when we select our overall winner. Entries cost 50p per image.
Sunday 8th August saw our first opportunity to meet up in person for many months, at the President's Picnic, this year held at the National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas. Thankfully, the weather stayed dry for us, and 16 of our members enjoyed an excellent day out. Certainly no shortage of 'Shapes' or 'Trees' for next year's themed competitions!
Happily, our season continues online throughout the summer with a programme of varied speakers, workshops, competitions and other events. Many thanks to Sue Pearmain for curating such an enjoyable and entertaining programme. Hopefully, all Covid restrictions will be lifted by the end of the month and our first face-to-face meeting, The President's Picnic, will take place at The National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas on Sunday 8th August at 12.0 pm.
Many congratulations to Christine Mallett, who has achieved the EFIAP distinction, Excellence from the Federation Internationale de L'Art Photographique.
Here we are, at the end of a momentous season at Shirley Photographic Society, probably for all the wrong reasons.
Congratulations to Mick, who has 'held-the-fort' so effectively this year and, happily, has agreed to continue as our President for the forthcoming season. Congratulations, too, to Jenny and Jolanta on their well-deserved promotions to Group 2 and Group 3, respectively.
At this year’s AGM we decided upon our theme for next season’s Themed Competition. The voting was close, but our members chose the theme of 'Trees'. So, perhaps time to start thinking out-of-the-box, in order to produce something to catch the judge’s eye. We hope to have both digital and print versions of the Themed Competition next season, and remember, there are no constraints on when the picture was taken.
Our formal season heads towards a conclusion with next week’s Creative and AV Competitions, the remaining few guest speakers and our AGM and President’s Evening. However, the good news is that our season will continue throughout the summer recess with a variety of guest speakers, member’s evenings and informal competitions brought to you through the magic of Zoom. Any pictures entered into these ‘fun’ summer competitions do not count as an ‘entry’ and may be used in next season’s competitions.
It is quite surreal to think our lives have been ‘on hold’ now for over a year. When we held our last meeting at the Methodist Church, back in March 2020, who could have guessed what the year had in store for us? However, we’ve embraced the technology, managed to carry on and have even picked up a few new members along the way. We all look forward to meeting them face-to-face in the not-too-distant future.
Coronavirus restrictions may continue, but our club continues online through the medium of Zoom. The recent Mono / Travel competition was heavily over-subscribed, demonstrating the depth of commitment our members have to keep our club going. Although we have missed meeting up face-to-face, I can’t help but think that our experience of continuing to meet as a Society via Zoom has, somehow, brought us a little closer together.
Who could have predicted a year ago, when we were holding our last few meetings in the Methodist Church Hall, that we would be conducting our club entirely online. Twelve months ago, if someone had suggested downloading video-conferencing software and running the club online, I would have thought they had been reading too much Science-Fiction! But, here we are....
Wishing you all a very Happy New Year! Let’s hope the year 2021 brings the chance to meet up in person as a club once again. I sincerely hope so.
Through the magic of Zoom, our club continues to thrive online, and in the forthcoming months we can look forward to welcoming a wide range of speakers and judges. In February, we welcome Claire Carter with her presentation ‘The Camera Lies’, the chance to enjoy the second round of our Mono and 'Travel' competitions, and an evening with our very own David Venables and David Steele. March sees Simon Van-Orden visit us online with his talk 'Chasing the Lights’ and our Annual Interclub and Annual Digital competitions. Many thanks to Sue Pearmain for curating such a varied and interesting programme for us to enjoy. Sue has done a wonderful job in very uncertain times.
I think you will agree, in these testing times, our shared hobby has kept us going. Although opportunities to get out-and-about to take new photographs have been somewhat scarce, our online competitions and lectures show that our members have been willing and able to adapt. We have seen images shot in the back garden, from local walks and parks, table-top creativity and much evidence of much trawling through back catalogues stored on hard-disks. We have seen long-forgotten photographs from the past re-visited, and perhaps re-edited. Have to say, I don't take any credit for keeping the club going,... the club has kept me going. I have needed the club as much as the club needed me.
Well, as the sun sets on the year 2020, one thing is certain: 2020 is not a year we will forget in a hurry. In January, we saw wildfires in Australia, February brought storms and floods to many parts of the UK, then in March, a global pandemic changed everything. Whatever next? Locusts?
In the New Year, we kick-off with our new ‘Four Pics’ competition. Just like our traditional ‘Six Prints’ competition, but not six, and not prints. Please send four fun pictures to the usual email address. Any theme, any subject and just for fun so entries are still eligible to be entered (twice) into this year’s competitions. In the first round the audience will vote for their favourite two of your four, ready to compete in the second round, where they will meet the best of the rest, and onwards to the final.
May I take this opportunity to wish you all a happy and contented festive season, whatever compromises we face. In 2021, things can only get better.
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