It wasn’t merely the mini-banquet replacing the usual tea and biccies that signalled something special on Friday night at the Bangor and North Down Camera Club – the fact that the front three rows of the clubhouse were occupied by female members announced what could become a significant evening in the history of the club.
Like most camera clubs Bangor has traditionally been a predominantly male institution and while the reasons for this imbalance are unclear it is a fact that many potential female photographers have been somewhat apprehensive about joining such a gathering.
Whilst the girls, even in a minority have traditionally competed successfully in the monthly competitions their numbers remained small until the past two years when a surge of feminine candidates has redressed the numerical discrepancy significantly. Even more importantly the new intake has introduced a fresh, vibrant atmosphere to the Wednesday and Friday evening get-togethers.
Many of the newcomers were complete beginners in photography when they arrived but having benefited from the midweek tutorials led by David Roberts new names are already beginning to feature in the winning lists of the various competitions.
A willingness to learn the theory and put it into practice (particularly in the club summer outings) has resulted in a marked improvement in the level of skills of the newcomers and this can only augur well for the future of the club in N.I.P.A. competitions.
Friday night’s meeting celebrated this welcome development ; the ladies provided not only the edible goodies but mounted an exhibition of their work in the form of a series of audio-visual presentations.
Anne Groves, Alli Martin, Angela Shannon, Christine Pearson, Deborah and May Carvill, Deborah Gardiner, Helen Fettus, Julie Campbell , Mandy Milliken and Shirley Graham showed some of their favourite images and afterwards Shirley made presentations to Julie Campbell, the organiser of the evening and Davy Cooper who helped with the audio-visual compilation.
Christine Pearson captured the mood of the meeting admirably with her poem entitled “our wee club” in which she recalled her joining experience as like “ putting on a warm coat!”
Editor’s note: Some additional photos taken on the night: