The Society was formed by a group of local enthusiasts in 1978, with the first Inaugural Meeting held on 17th May 1978 Mr T Geoff Willey was appointed Chairman. Subsequently, discussions on the possibility of joining the Northern Counties Photographic Federation caused a reconstitution of the Committee and for 1979-80 Geoff Willey moved into a new position of President and Arthur Covington became Chairman, a post he held continuously until his retirement from the Committee in April 2010. In recognition of their roles, both men were made Honorary Presidents of the Society.
Over the years, the Society has seen many changes in photography, none more so than with the introduction of digital imaging. The Society was quick to embrace this new technology, and was one of the first local clubs to adopt digital as the main focus of the programme. It also took the initiative to help establish and run digital photography courses for local people.
Under the stewardship of the then Treasurer, Frank Thomson, PPS were awarded two substantial “Awards for All” Grants allowing the purchase of digital projection equipment, laptop computers and photo editing software which has enabled the transformation of the Society into the digital age. Membership has increased significantly as a result of these changes and is now approaching 40 members, covering both digital beginners and more experienced photographers.
Core values of the Society lie in its friendly and welcoming atmosphere, a strong commitment to help beginners with the basics through mentoring and workshops and in the pursuit of improved standards of photography at all levels across the membership, including the more experienced members wanting to advance and widen their technique.
Honorary President: Prof Arthur K Covington APAGB
Founded PPS out of an evening group formed at Ponteland High School in 1978 to make use of its new darkroom printing facilities, initially with B&W – and later colour printing with Ilford Cibachrome. In the early 1990’s, he organised evening classes with a tutor brought from Sunderland to learn hands-on computer manipulations with Adobe Photoshop 5.5, which led to the ‘encouragement” of many PPS members to address ‘the digital age’. Interests: most aspects of digital photography. In recognition of his 31 years in charge of the Society and for his dedicated and outstanding service throughout this long period, the President of the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain recently conferred on him the Award for Meritorious Service (APAGB).
The annual subscription is £40, payable at the start of the Winter season (September). Prospective new members are welcome to attend a couple of meetings before committing to membership. Members joining after Christmas pay a reduced fee of £20. Informal meetings may be held monthly during the summer months, when a contribution of £1 per night from those attending helps to defray the hall rental costs.
The Society meets in the large room at Merton Hall in Ponteland Village on Monday evenings during the season which runs from September until April. Click here for a map. Meetings start at 7.30pm and usually finish around 9.00pm. Speakers and Workshops usually end before 9.00pm and we then break for coffee/tea and informal discussion, so there is plenty of time for problem solving and an exchange of news and ideas. During the summer we meet on an ad hoc basis for day trips.