By Charlie Senack –
For 125 years, the Camera Club of Ottawa has met regularly to capture the city’s beauty.
It was December 10 1894, when a group of men and women held their first camera club meeting, with wooden tripods and box cameras in hand. Since then a lot has changed in the way photography works, but one thing has stayed the same — the group’s dedication to the hobby they love most.
“A lot of things have even changed in photography since I have joined the camera club over 25 years ago,” says Kitchissippi resident Bruce Amos, a member of the club since the early 1990s.
“The main change I would say is the rapid changeover from film to digital photography,” he says. “That was a real revolution and most of us from my generation grew up shooting coloured slides and printing black and white in the basement darkroom.”
From September to May, the group meets every Tuesday at the Hintonburg Community Centre to improve their skills and document pieces of the city’s history.
On top of the weekly meetings, the club holds workshops to teach the 80 or so members different photography skills, brings in guest speakers, hosts field trips, and even holds photography shows where they bring in outside judges from around the community.
“This is a group that is geared towards what we call the hobby photographers,” says Bruce. “There are some professionals who are members of the club but we have people from novice through to advanced levels and everybody is welcome.”
Paul Dickie has been a member of the club since 2006, and was promoted to president in September of last year. He says he joined the group because he wanted to improve his photography skills, and wanted to meet like-minded individuals
“I take part in basically everything the club has to offer,” states Paul. “I joined because I wanted to get better at what I’m doing, and over the years I think I have managed to do that.”
Both Paul and Bruce say it’s hard to pick what their favourite part of the club is, but both agree that it’s the people who make the experience so special. Paul says the Camera Club of Ottawa is probably the longest running camera club in Canada, although Toronto insists they have a club that’s been around for a year longer.
To commemorate the 125th anniversary of the club, a special event called “Celebrating Photography” will be held on November 7, 2019 at the new Royal Canadian Geographic Society building located at 55 Sussex Dr.
Bruce, who is one of the main organizers for the event, says details are still being worked out, but says it will feature a variety of old pictures from the group’s history and work by well-known photographer, Michelle Valberg.
For more information on the Camera Club of Ottawa and to stay up to date with their anniversary plans, visit cameraclubottawa.ca.