On the 10th anniversary of the Group, we published a book of our members' images - Retrospective.
Below is the Introduction to the book, charting our history:
The East Midlands Monochrome Group started as a result of a conversation between Jim Jepson and Gordon Smith who were concerned that "Club Photography" at the end of the twentieth century was not giving monochrome photography a fair crack of the whip. They decided to invite photographers to ascertain if there were sufficient monochrome enthusiasts in the Northampton area to support a group. As a result, a meeting was held on the 3rd March 1999 at Earls Barton Church Hall and twenty two people attended.
It was agreed that the activities of the group should be non-competitive but should promote an appreciation of the monochrome image, by encouraging members to show their own work and to talk about there aims and objectives, by constructive criticism of images shown and encouraging each other to produce new images. Visiting lecturers and members would be invited to address the group's meetings.
Members would, also, be encouraged to enter, and visit, open exhibitions organized by other clubs so that their work can be appreciated alongside that of other photographers. It was agreed that the group should meet on the first Wednesday of each calendar month.
From this initial meeting the group has gone from strength to strength and has a healthy mix of traditional workers and digital workers. The group regularly support many open exhibitions with a high percentage of acceptances. As an affiliated member of the Midland Counties Photographic Federation, it supports many MCPF activities and is rapidly gaining the reputation of being an outward looking group. This encourages lecturers to visit, and our programme reflects this in the high quality of lecturers it attracts which in turn promotes our image.
Our annual exhibition is shown at various venues throughout Northamptonshire and the surrounding area, the exhibitions usually run for a month at a time which allows members of the public enough time to enjoy our images.
Despite this high profile, the group still have concerns for those beginners who are just setting out in both traditional and digital fields. Our members are willing to share their expertise to help others achieve more satisfaction from this wonderful hobby.
Another valuable innovation is our website which has served to bring our images to photographers worldwide, the website acts as a forum for discussion and as a recruitment agent.
After a couple of years, the group realized that it needed to meet more frequently than once a month because the programme was so full, members felt they had no time to talk to each other so, during the winter months a second meeting was introduced. It now meets on the first and third Wednesday of each calendar month plus the third Wednesday from September to April inclusive. This gives a breathing space for members to socialize and talk to each other about photographic topics.
Over the past ten years we have seen an improvement in the quality of images produced by members, both in traditional and digital methods of photography. This is the result of the membership sharing their expertise and encouraging each other in their photography. As a result of our non-competitive policy there is often friendly banter between traditionalists and digital workers but everyone appreciates each others' efforts to raise the standard of the monochrome images they are producing, constructive criticism which results from open discussion encourages members to continue to enjoy the challenges of their chosen pastime.
As we look to the future we are confident that we shall continue to meet our primary objective which is to promote an appreciation of the monochrome image both in the traditional form and through digital imaging. We hope you enjoy a retrospective look at member’s images from the past ten years.
Geoff Holmes, 2009
Since this article was written the group now meets on the first and third Wednesday of every month at Sywell Village Hall.