Next time you walk past the Paper Chase on Blowers Street in Halifax, stop for a moment. If you have your camera – take one of this building for the record. What you will be recording is the birthplace of the predecessor of the Photographic Guild of Nova Scotia. In November 1947, on the second floor of this edifice, which was then the Camera Store of the Maritimes, owner Edward A. Bollinger convened a meeting of photographers with a view to formalizing a photo group. Present on that historic evening were: Russell E. Hefler, who was elected president, Peggy Wright and Cyril Smith, the first secretary and treasurer respectively. At their next meeting just a month later agreement was reached to call the organization, “”The Color Photographic Guild of the Maritimes””. They wasted little time. In the first month of the new year members held a studio night and, according to the record, arrived in costumes and theatrical makeup. Perhaps a celebration of their success, and an opportunity to photograph indoors safe from the January winds. Those photographic pioneers enjoyed celebrating and did it with class. Their first annual banquet was held in the Georgian Lounge of the Lord Nelson Hotel. That would be like having our annual banquet this year at one of the Sheraton’s fancy ballrooms – maybe not a bad idea for the 50th anniversary.
Early day Guild members religiously participated in planned field trips throughout the province. The first, held in June 1948, took place during apple blossom time in the Annapolis valley. A second, around the Blandford peninsula in July, was followed by a supper bonfire and an opportunity to photograph sunset over Deep Cove. Fall arrived and in October, with less than a year’s experience under their belt, the first Halifax International Salon, under the chairmanship of W. Roy Isnor, was planned for the following spring.
The decision to “”go international”” was reached as a gesture to the city of Halifax, then observing it’s bicentenary. Broadcast over CHNS radio, opening ceremonies for this first “”Salon”” were chaired by then president Cliff Wright with inaugural remarks by His Worship, Mayor Gordon S. Kinley followed by Mr. H. Merrill Benninghoff, the US consul general at Halifax. All 988 monochrome prints, and 996 color slides entered were judged by: Don MacKay, Harold Weir and the now famous Wallace R. MacAskill FPSA. In that competition 14 guild members received acceptances with several earning honourable mentions. In 1997, 50 years later, 534 color prints and 1868 color slides, in addition to 806 nature slides, were entered in the 11th Halifax International Salon chaired by Terry Carroll. Of the 18 members who received acceptances many were multiple and some received honourable mentions.
In the fall, following that first international, efforts in the pursuit of healthy photography intensified resulting in a special evening being set aside for a “”slide clinic””. The diagnostic panel, dressed in hospital lab coats and gowns, placed special emphasis on slides with: fuzzy spells, poor color, and those with too high a centre of interest. A predecessor of our slide evaluations perhaps? No doubt- but certainly with a sense of humor. Top
Events, including a move to a new meeting location, the Forrest Building of Dalhousie University, continued at a healthy pace in 1950 under a new president, Harold R. Davis. The leading Halifax portraitist of the time and a charter member, Cliff Wright, launched the year leading a workshop in his specialty. A highlight of that year was a visit by members of the Color Photographic Association of Canada (CPAC), of which the Guild was the first affiliated club. Amongst the CPAC visitors, who photographed Blue Rocks during that sojourn, was the founder, Alice Stark, for whom the Stark Trophy is named. Her initiative in creating this organization was provoked by the disapproval of color photography, then a relatively new medium, by black and white traditionalists. Ironically, her endeavors caused a fracture in photographic circles and led eventually to the formation of another national organization. Stark’s trophy was won by the Guild in 1951 for the first of five consecutive years and, as history would show, the trend continued.
As the early 50’s rolled on, endeavors mushroomed. Studio nights, at the Nova Scotia Museum of Science making photographs of exhibits, field trips to photograph new born chicks; to photograph the inaugural presentation of the Nova Scotia Tartan, and it seems everyone’s favorite; to Keith’s Brewery where, after at time, some even attempted to photograph beer bottles. All provided material for the first spring show held at Dalhousie’s Arts and Administration building on May 17, 1954 under president Robert K. Mann. Often under the patronage of the Lieutenant Governor, these annual events, presented on two consecutive nights, attracted capacity crowds. People came to see excellent photography by superb photographers. Photographers like Tim Randall. Although Tim, who many of us had the pleasure of knowing, was a charter member of the Guild he was, as he would probably say, “”not persnickety””, about attending meetings until 1955. The reason, according to some who knew him then, was his dislike for competition, however, the record shows he was actively competing in PSA and, that year, won an honorable mention in the 19th Rochester International with an image of Peggy’s Cove titled: “”Guardian of the Night””. As further evidence of his competence in competition Tim received his first star from PSA at almost the same time. Later in the year he had an article published in the PSA Journal appropriately illustrated with four of his images. Tim’s devotion to his hobby over many years resulted in, what is conceivably today, the most extensive pictorial record available of Nova Scotia, his chosen home.
Those who’ve been around the Guild for a few years will remember another friend: Gordon Lay. Gordon was president of the Guild when it completed its first decade by hosting the 3rd Halifax Salon in October. The 10th anniversary celebration did not take place until the following year at Winnie’s lodge in Halifax. Membership at the time stood at 75 and enthusiasm endured as evidenced by the 40 members who showed up one cold January night for a portrait session at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation led by, Robert Williams, another of the Guild’s award winning photographers. That same spring the membership was honored by the Photographic Society of America for efficiency in the management of the 3rd Halifax Salon. Top
That was just before Frederick Joyce, who few in the Guild both old and young don’t know, became chairman in 1960. It was during his term, on the insistence of PSA, that Guild competitors were divided into two groups: “”A”” for advanced photographers and “”B”” for newer members, a system by the way, still in effect in PSA club competitions today. Although it remained in effect at the Guild for three seasons it was not popular nor successful for various reasons, including judging. Judging was far different than what current members have come to know. Often, competition night slides were juried at senior members homes, away from the vigilance of participating members, and then returned with scores on another night. Try doing that in today’s Guild.
During Fred’s tenure, and those that closely followed, color photography was still advancing rapidly as denoted by the attention it received. Speaker’s topics were often about the use of color in photography. PSA, at the time, had a recorded lecture titled, “”Photographing Birds in color””, and locally, “”The Halifax Herald””, now, “”The Mail Star””, was publishing color images in it’s weekend editions. Often those images were provided by Guild members.
The next few years, leading to Canada’s Centennial were resourceful and educational. It was in this interval that another Halifax Salon, the 4th, took place under the chairmanship of William Wood. A prominent judge was New Yorker, Dr. Richard B. Pomroy who, the record shows, was a widely known authority on color photography. To safeguard their reputation for firsts, in 1965, Guild members hosted the 7th CPAC convention at Halifax’s Nova Scotian Hotel and, the very next year, sponsored CPAC’s 17th member’s exhibition. Amongst the members who received honorable mentions from that exhibition was Freeman Patterson, who is now world renowned for his many contributions to photography. Freeman continues as an associate member of the Guild. During Canada’s centennial another well known Canadian photographer, Bud Watson, traveled the country on a personal centennial venture titled: “”My Canada””. When Guild members became aware of this through the CPAC journal he was contacted and eventually presented a well received program at St. Mary’s University. Fred Joyce fondly remembers that visit as he was host to Bud and his family during their stay. Top
Only 19 years after the Guild hosted Mrs. Stark, CPAC’s founder, it witnessed another milestone in National photography. The National Association for Photographic Art (NAPA) was born. Guild members dropped their affiliation with CPAC and joined the new organization in 1970, the same year they moved their meeting location to the newly constructed Nova Scotia Museum, now the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History. Just five years after NAPA was formed, its 3rd Canada Camera College was hosted by the Guild at Dalhousie University under the chairmanship of Fred Joyce. Many well known local photographers were involved in this event. Gordon McGowan, who was president at the time, presented a program on preparing sight and sound essays. Sherman Hines, talked about outdoor portraiture; Wally Hayes did his demonstration on flash photography and Charles Doucet called his program: “”The Wreck hunters””. Freeman Patterson, who was chairman of NAPA’s honors and awards committee, was present and presented the first ever NAPA gold medal for photographic service to Lorraine Monk, executive producer, of the National Film Board’s still photography division.
Time requires all organizations to reflect on where they are, where they’ve been and where they’re going. The Color Photographic Guild of the Maritimes adhered to that belief. It’s members had witnessed the formation of two National photographic organizations: one primarily devoted to black and white and the other: to color. They preferred the Guild encompass both areas of photography and felt the prefix, Color in the name was inappropriate. Consequently, at an executive meeting on September 9th, 1974, Alex Wilson gave notice of a motion for a name change to, “”The Photographic Guild of Nova Scotia”” (PGNS). The motion, seconded by Peter Pronych, was unanimously passed at the next general meeting in October. Alex was elected president two years later and presided over Atlantic Camera College, the first of the popular one day photographic seminars originated by Fred Joyce. Top
Ten years after the name change members of PGNS, now under the leadership of Fred Greene, witnessed, “”The Parade Of Sail“” in Halifax. Conditions were excellent for photography with a mixture of sunny skies and occasional fog. Everyone made Kodak and Fuji extremely happy while creating beautiful tall ship images that were eventually assembled, by Larry Keddy, into an exciting 9 projector audio visual show and presented to an appreciative capacity audience at St. Mary’s University. During that same year, another Atlantic Camera College was held at Dalhousie University where Freeman Patterson presented a program titled, “”The Photography of Natural Things””, which later became the title of a popular book.
Another anniversary, this time the 40th, was celebrated in style at the Guild with Keith Vaughan, the presiding president, and seven past presidents assisting charter member Tim Randall cut the birthday cake. This began a busy decade in the Guild. First of the mark, after a hiatus of 19 years was another “”Salon“”, the 6th, under the chairmanship of Fred Greene. Following shortly after a very successful one day seminar on “”How to improve your photography””, featuring experienced Guild photographers was spearheaded by Fred Joyce and held at St. Mary’s University. Soon afterwards, Fred Greene organized a weekend outing to Louisbourg, Cape Breton where members photographed the Fortress and surrounding area for a successful audio-visual produced by Larry Keddy and narrated by Guild archivist, Ken Fraser. Top
Larry Keddy took the helm of the Guild in 1989 guiding it through one of its busiest years. First, the 7th International under the chairmanship of Keith Vaughan then, just months later, NAPA’s, “”Camera Canada College“” at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax. For this conference Fred Greene established the first ever print exhibition to be associated with this annual event. Fred, the following year, was the first photographer in Atlantic Canada to receive 5 stars in PSA sponsored international salons and, in 1991, was awarded the Stuyvesant Peabody Award for his contributions to photography. It was that year, under the chairmanship of Pat Wall, when the Guild’s Memorandum of Association and By-Laws were capably revised by Terry Carroll who, also that year, chaired the 8th Halifax Salon the first of four he has successfully chaired to date. That Salon, was the first to have a print exhibition associated with the annual Atlantic Winter Fair.
Perhaps the Guild’s largest community related project was born in 1991, when an invitation was received from the Town of Wolfville for help with the celebration of it’s centennial. Preliminary discussions that included town officials, Acadia University’s Art Gallery Director, president Pat Wall, Fred Greene and Milton Gregg, were held in Wolfville to determine expectations. The decision was made to produce a 9 projector audio visual and a photographic exhibition to open in April of 1994. After approval from the Guild’s executive, now under the guidance of president Archie McCulloch, agreements were signed and under the leadership of Milton Gregg, assisted by Mary Primrose, the immense responsibility of first recruiting and then directing 27 volunteer photographers began. The recording of some 55 events commenced in June 1992 and finished on New Year’s Eve 1993. Over this period 2400 slides were made of which 750 were used in a 23 minute, nine projector, audio-visual produced by, Pat Wall, with assistance from Wally Hayes and his son Stephen and shown to capacity audiences in both Wolfville and Halifax. The print exhibition, chaired by Fred Greene, contained 54 images and was hung at Acadia University’s Art Gallery.
The success of this project is a testament to the hard work of many volunteer photographers who, often at their own expense, traveled many miles to ensure the coverage of important events. Some, like Mary Primrose, made special efforts but the greatest effort of all was manifested by Milton Gregg with the quiet assistance of his wife Norma. Archie McCulloch, during his reign as President, placed great emphasize on field trips. A series of field trips led by underwater photographer Gilbert vanRyckversel to the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park, was especially popular. A selection of images made during some of those visits eventually led to a permanent photographic exhibition titled: “”Winter In The Wildlife Park”” was spearheaded by Gilbert during his tenure as president from 1995 to 1997. Doug Leahy was project chairman. This exhibit is maintained by the Guild and is seen by over 100.000 park visitors each year..
The new season 1997-98 under the guidance of President, Michael Walsh, began the 50th decade for the Guild and more significant photographic events. At “”Canada Camera College 97″” in Moncton, New Brunswick a resolution was passed to combine NAPA and CPAC to form one National photographic organization now known as “”The Canadian Association For Photographic Art””. We’ve come full circle.
In 1999, The Guild conducted its 12th Bi-Annual Halifax International Exhibition of Photography under the chairmanship of Archie McCulloch and honorary chairman Fred Green. It was a great success despite a trend of diminished participation in similiar exhibitions. The quality of the 4500 entries from over 47 countries was excellent. Top
In July 2000, a magnificent five days of beautiful weather marked Tall Ships 2000, a visit by most of the worlds remaining tall ships as part of their Atlantic race format. A large number of Guild members seized this opportunity to record the event on film. The Guild planned the production of a major audio-visual show around this event, and steps were taken to ensure that all aspects were covered-from land, sea and air. The A/V production team consisted of Fred Greene (Executive Producer), Pat Wall (Producer), Paul Bingham (Technical Producer) and Hugh McKervill (Narration and Script). Guild members produced over 9000 slides to choose from, and it was a daunting task to select the most appropriate images to tell the story. Through the winter of 2000/2001 the team worked hard on the production which included some historical seafaring background as an important element in the show. Appropriate music selection was also a key element, and Dr. Walter Kemp of Dalhousie University assisted in this regard. The production team set the Guild Spring Show in April 2001 as its target, and worked hard and long (at times ferociously!) to meet this target. A capacity audience at the Burke Education Centre, Saint Mary’s University, viewed the premiere showing of “”Sails in the Wind”” which is a 38 minute, seven-projector, three screen A/V production. It utilized 475 slides from thirty-eight Guild photographers and received a standing ovation and rave reviews. As a number of people unfortunately had to be turned away at the Spring Show because the room was at capacity, the team undertook two further showings (of the entire Spring Show) at Saint Mary’s. “”Sails in the Wind”” was also shown on 16 May at the annual convention of the Canadian Radiation Protection Association / Campus Radiation Safety Officers. “”Sails in the Wind”” was also shown three times as the headliner event for a conference of 85 camera clubs and more than 1000 photographers at the New England Council of Camera Clubs Conference at the University of Massachusets, Amherst in July 2001. “”Sails in the Wind”” was the key event at the September 2001 annual PSA Convention in San Diego, CA. The production team deserve commendation for the success of this very professional show, which demonstrated the power and versatility of the new A/V equipment recently acquired by the Guild.
2001 was the year an ambitious project was undertaken by the Guild under the guidance of the Chairman Fred Greene and a host of volunteer supporters. Normallly it would have been the year for the Guild to host the Bi-Annual Halifax International Exhibition of Photography. However, with the support of two other maritime camera clubs it became the Great Eastern Canadian International Exhibi tion Circuit of Photography (GEC), one of the largest Photographic Exhibitions in North America. It was hosted by the Photographic Guild of Nova Scotia, in association with the Bridgewater Photographic Society and the Focus Camera Club of Moncton, New Brunswick.
The GEC was a special kind of International Exhibition, called a Simultaneous Exhibition Circuit, and consisted of three concurrent In ternational Exhibitions-the 1st Bridgewater, the 13th Halifax, and the 1st Moncton. The event required 12 judging panels, offered 120 Medal Awards and up to a possible 48 acceptances for an individual entering all four sections. Although many recent International Exhibitions have seen declining entries, the GEC Exhibition Committee was delighted at both the size and quality of the entries. Due to the high quality of the entry there was a much higher than average acceptance level, at more than 30%. GEC received a total of 4073 images from 45 countries, consisting of 1811 Colour Slides, 664 Colour Prints, 982 Nature Slides, and 616 Photo-journalism Slides.
We were supported by an exceptional group of 28 judges with international and national reputations, some of whom travelled great distances. A total of 29 Guild members garnered 367 acceptances at the GEC, including 27 HMs. Because of its size and sponsor support (from Canon, DayMen, Epson and Nikon) the GEC produced a full clour 36-page catalogue with listings of acceptances. The Maritime Fall Fair provided the Halifax International with a wonderful new venue with as many as 150 visitors in the Gallery at one time, and up to 2500 visitors per day. The show, which contained a mixture of Traditional and Digital InkJet prints, was one of the major entertainment attractions at the Fair. The shows in Bridgewater, Halifax and Moncton all attracted good sized and appreciative audiences. Exhibitions were also held in Bridgewater, N.S., Halifax, and Dieppe, N.B.
Each year, the Canadian Association for Photographic Art (CAPA) hosts a conference, Camera Canada College (CCC), that is devoted to all aspects of photography. Throughout its history, the Photographic Guild of Nova Scotia has been a strong supporter of those conferences and was homoured by being chosen to be the host club for CCC 2002 in Halifax, NS from June 28-30, 2002. Terry Carroll’s energetic guidance as the CCC 2002 Chairman resulted in a successful, smooth running event.
The exciting program coordinated by the Program Chairman Fred Greene produced a program of first class lectures and seminars by internationally known photgraphers. It included a wide range of topics including bird photography for nature lovers, portrait and photojournalism photography, travel photography to such areas as China, Ireland, and Hawaii, extensive coverage of digital printing, and, of course, a number of special presentations by 28 keynote internationally known speakers.
Pre and post-conference field trips were organized by Pat Wall for the benefit of our visitors to help them appreciate the beauty of Nova Scotia and the maritimes. The Guild A/V production “”Sails In The Wind”” which has already received standing ovations at international venues was presented at he CCC 2002 Banquet. The conference site, Dalhousie University reflects the architectural styles of over a century of growth. Dalhousie is well equipped to host a successful conference. Our primary meeting facility was the new Faculty of Arts and Science building that contains 300 and 500 seat theatres in addition to numerous classrooms. The University has a full range of accommodation services for support, and downtown Halifax and its waterfront are within leisurely walking distance of the campus.
The Guild enters its 57th year of excellence and is as vibrant as ever. Great efforts are being taken to ensure all aspects of photography – both traditional film, and new digital imaging – are emphasized and kept current.