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Lecture to Edinburgh Photographic Society  -  3 October 1917

Some Personal Reminiscences

Archibald Hugh MacLucas

0_photographers_maclucas_1.jpg (14561 bytes)

  Reproduced by courtesy of 
the MacLucas family

Archibald MacLucas
 returns to

The Midlothian Photographic Association (MPA) broke away from Edinburgh Photographic Society in 1907, over a dispute as to whether or not EPS should join the Scottish Photographic Federation.

The two societies amalgamated again in 1915, and a couple of years later, Archibald Hugh MacLucas (a prominent member of MPA) became President of EPS.

He chose as the subject for his Presidential Opening Address:  Some Personal Reminiscences.

Some Practical Reminiscences

Archibald MacLucas saw many changes in photography.  

He mentioned in 1917 that he had first become acquainted with photography some twenty years earlier, his introduction to photography being to make a print of a good half-plate negative supplied by a friend.  He recommended this as a good introduction to photography.



"As to the printing processes then in use, albumen printing was still done, although being rapidly superseded by P.O.P. which was the most popular process at the time, to be seen all over the professional show-cases and used by amateurs in preference to any other."

"Carbon was probably used more than it is today, while the use of bromide paper was not so great.  Sulphide toning was unknown.  Gum-bichromate was used for exhibition work."

"Platinotype was in use, and it is regretted that it is now, owing to its greatly increased price, more or less off the market."

Plates and Papers

"In a comparison of modern plates with those in use twenty years ago a great advance was noted, not only in speed but in quality and ease in manipulation, a modern plate being capable of a considerable amount of handling."

"Reference was made to the ascendancy of bromide paper, and the introduction, or more correctly, re-introduction of the oil process, because though practiced in the old days, it was then purely experimental."  

"Now there is seen, more and more, the growth of  what might be called the control processes, which are really wonderful media in the hands of those who know how to work on the negative or print and yet retain all the beauties of photographic texture."

Cameras and Apparatus

"Apparatus was much larger and more cumbersome.  Lenses were mostly fitted with a cap;  shutters were not common, though there were cameras fitted with roller blind shutters."

Early 1900s

After his initial introduction to photography in the 1890s, Archibald MacLucas returned to the subject of photography a few years later, noticing then that some changes had crept in:

"Gas light paper had been introduced;  the first to be put onto the market being 'Velox' which was advertised as being 500 times faster than albumen."

"Self-toning paper had just been introduced, and curiously enough there was no British self-toning paper.

Reflex cameras were coming into favour and latterly there had been a large increase in the number of small cameras.

Ongoing Interest in Photography

Archibald MacLucas continued to be enthusiastic about photography, commenting:

"Through it one made valued friendships, and gained a fuller appreciation of the beautiful than could have been acquired otherwise.  ... even in mud, mist, reflections, storm and, perhaps, greatest of all in cloud effects were to be found some of the most beautiful studies in a day's journey."

He was still exhibiting his photographs at EPS International Exhibitions in the 1950s.

All quotes above are from Archibald MacLucas' 1917 lecture to EPS.  See Transactions of EPS  Nov 1917, pp.4-6.