Photographic Society of Scotland held ten exhibitions. These were staged
approximately annually from December 1856 until March 1866.
if they wished, were able to sell their photographs or copies of them. PSS
charged a commission of 10% on all sales. It was left to the photographer
to decide the price for their work. There were
some wide variations in the prices asked.
1st PSS Exhibition was held in
1856, the year that the Photographic Society of Scotland was established.
2nd Exhibition resulted in a
dispute between the society's amateur and professional photographers over the
rejection of OG Rejlander's photograph, "Two
Ways of Life"
3rd Exhibition and several
subsequent exhibitions were held in Hay’s Fine Art Studio, 90
George Street. Several attracted
between 600 and 1000 entries.
4th Exhibition, and others
later, caused controversy amongst the entrants, particularly
on whether or not it should be admissible for photographs to be “touched”
– e.g. by adding skies, and whether or not it should be permitted to enter
photographs made from several negatives.
Rejlander and HP Robinson were both enthusiastic photographers who used multiple
negatives to make composite prints. What
might they have achieved today, with a computer and
5th Exhibition attracted a lot
of comment about how unfavourable the weather had been for photography over the
PSS Council reported that the 6th
Exhibition had suffered from the prevailing public depression
caused by the lamented death of the Prince Consort , and resulted in a loss to
the Society of about £40.
Exhibitions. Medals were awarded, but the
were displayed for only a few days. No
admission charge was levied.
These exhibitions attracted far fewer entries, but the quality of entry
was very high.
was controversy at the 7th exhibition over the acceptance of entries made from
more than one negative.
10th Exhibition was the final
one staged by PSS. It appears to have been less successful than those in
previous years. Not all the medals were awarded because the society
considered the entries were not of a sufficiently high standard.
have survived from the 1st, 3rd and 9th exhibition. The lists of entries
for the other exhibitions are likely to be less reliable because they are based
on correspondence accompanying the entries and on press comment about the
exhibitions rather than on official exhibition catalogues.