The Photographic Journals

Other Photographic Societies

There were very few photographic societies in Britain when PSS was established.  But links with those that already existed were soon established.

Even before PSS was created, Horatio Ross had contacted the London and Manchester Photographic Societies to seek guidance on the laws and regulations that it might be expedient to adopt.

Several Photographic Journals were established to report the activities of the newly –formed Photographic Societies.  These journals enabled photographers to keep in touch with new discoveries, and the activities of other societies, including details of any Open Photographic Exhibitions.

Which Journal?

There was rivalry amongst the Journals to become the “Official Organ” of the newly formed photographic societies.  The societies, themselves were keen to strike the best deal possible with the editors.

PSS approached two journals to see which would best meet their needs.  They were:

  Photographic Notes, the Manchester Photographic Society’s journal, edited by Thomas Sutton

  Journal of the Photographic Society, the London Photographic Society’s journal, edited by JR Major.

Both were keen to publish the activities of PSS.  It was Thomas Sutton who got the contract for the first year, one of the conditions being that he subtitled his journal: Journal of the Photographic Society of Scotland and of the Manchester Photographic Society.

The arrangements with the Manchester journal were not entirely satisfactory, so in 1857 they were changed.  PSS first considered publishing its own journal, then rejected the idea and chose, instead, to have its proceedings published in the London Journal of the Photographic Society.

The Short hand Reporter

The rivalry clearly continued.  On 24 January 1859 it was reported that Mr Fenney, short hand reporter, had applied to become a Member of the PSS:  His reason for wishing to join was:

“solely for the purpose of reporting its proceedings for the Liverpool Photographic Journal – a proceeding which the Hon Sec stated was of course violating an agreement with the London Society.  The Council accordingly determined that steps should be taken to exclude Mr Fenney from the Society as a Reporter and that a Statement of the circumstances should be made to the Meeting previous to his being balloted for.”

The Liverpool Photographic Journal referred to above was presumably George Shadbolt’s journal.  This became the British Journal of Photography in 1860, and the “official organ” of several societies, including EPS from 1861 onwards.