Photographic society celebrates 75 years

WHEN Reta Telford joined the Newcastle Photographic Society in 1972 she was full of curiosity, armed with a new Canon SLR that took black and white prints she had to develop in a darkroom.

Now aged 86, she hasn’t stopped learning since, recently buying her first digital camera and learning the basics of Photoshop.

‘‘I love photography, it makes you look around, you go for a drive and you look at the street a different way,’’ she said.

‘‘It keeps me alive, otherwise I’d be sitting down in a rocking chair.’’

The Newcastle Photographic Society celebrated its 75th anniversary in November and this week closed for the summer break.

Mrs Telford had owned an Instamatic and Box Brownie when she bought her first Canon and asked the seller where she could learn more about it.

‘‘They said to join the photographic society or go to tech – I did both.’’

She joined in 1972, when the society had its own purpose built clubhouse in Popram Road, Adamstown.

It had held since 1938,  in conjunction with the Newcastle Show,  the Newcastle International Exhibition of Photography, but this is now a national competition.

Enthusiasts of all ages –  who  have included Gary Weber, Stuart Thompson and Alex Hunter – gathered for outings to capture new images, listen to photographers speak about their craft, learn more about techniques and hold competitions among themselves.

Over time Mrs Telford became known for her portraits and landscapes, some of which she used to colour using oil paints.

She was elected president of the society from 1997 to 2009 and is now vice-president.

The club has seen the decline in the popularity of slides and the introduction of different kinds of paper, colour photography, digital photography and editing software including Photoshop.

‘‘I don’t like colour, I like to work in the darkroom,’’ she said.

‘‘When you are  developing black and white prints you can have the safe light on and watch the print come out of the developer.’’

‘‘I bought a digital camera but I’ve still got all my old ones, I like using the film, it just feels like it would last longer.’’

The Newcastle Photographic Society will meet again on the third Monday in January at The Adamstown Club.

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