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The History of Wareham Camera Club

The town of Wareham - generally regarded as the gateway to the Isle of Purbeck, an area outstanding natural beauty - was founded by the Saxons over 1000 years ago. Wareham Camera Club, however is a rather more recent creation! It can trace its origins to a meeting convened 1965 by a group including the local optician and the town’s professional photographer.

The club has, over the years, held its meetings at a number of locations, but is now settled at the Parish Hall of Lady St Mary Church in Wareham. Meetings are held from September through to April on Tuesday evenings.

Club activities include lectures, demonstrations, competitions and visits. These are augmented by field-trips when members can practice their skills and learn from one-another. Highlight of the club year is the exhibition held at Wareham Town Hall each Summer, when members’ work is on show to both local people and visitors to the town.

The club became affiliated to the Stour and Avon Photographic Association (SAPA) in 1969 and has since become very active (and successful!) in competitions. In 2013 it became the newest club to join the Southern Counties Photographic Federation (SCPF). Inter-club competitions are held regularly, providing members with an opportunity to see an even wider selection of work.

From an early focus on black and white prints, the club has kept pace with new technology and is now firmly in the digital age. During the transition from film photography to digital images, the club organized a series of workshops to help members adapt. Workshops still form a part of the club programme, and provide support and encouragement to help members improve their photographic skills.

The club has also worked within the local community through a number of initiatives, including support for the Wareham in Bloom project, sponsoring the visit of young people from Chernobyl, and giving talks at local day-care centres. The club has also worked with the Purbeck School to organize a photographic competition to help young people develop their photographic skills..

Many people have contributed to the growth and success of the club over the years, but it would be invidious to mention individuals by name. The continued success of the club is very much due to having a very active and enthusiastic committee throughout its existence.

A number of individual members have gained qualifications with the Royal Photographic Society, and many have achieved success in national photographic competitions. Members have a wide range of interests and abilities, but all benefit from the opportunity to share their enthusiasm with like-minded people.

This year, we celebrate with pride and satisfaction our 50th anniversary. Photography – especially the technology – has evolved over this period, but what has not changed is the enthusiasm of our club members for photography, and the friendly club atmosphere.