Wednesday Meetings - Overview
A home for the
was in 1892 that Edinburgh
Photographic Society acquired its premises at 38 Castle Street.
In his 1896 Presidential Address, Frank P Moffat has some encouraging
words concerning membership.
and Gentlemen, it is a wonderful 10s 6d worth. … The membership is close to
400. This is very satisfactory, but
we must nor rest on our oars. I
hope next year something over 500. I
do not see any reason why, in a town like Edinburgh, we should not have 1,000
members, but let us be modest and aim at 500 next year, the 1,000 will come
Some subjects from earlier decades were still
Plates - Rapid or Instantaneous
Plates - Slow or Medium
Fewer lectures were given on the chemistry and techniques of
development, but printing was a topical subject, with debate in the late 1890s
- The Comparative Advantages of Enlargements and Direct Photographs.
Photographers had a wide choice of materials for their printing:
Printing Out Paper
were also several evenings devoted to colour printing from the mid 1890s
The hand camera
Photography was becoming more accessible to
the general public, with the coming of the hand camera.
Not all photographers approved of this development.
In his Presidential Address of 1897, James Patrick commented:
"Only a few
months ago, while spending a holiday in St Andrews, I saw glaring instances of
abuse of the hand camera and instantaneous photography.
Dozens of hand cameras were pointed within a few feet of old Tom Morris
(the father of golf) and it mattered not how the light was shining, the button
was pressed. This sort of thing can
only be beneficial to the plate-makers, and on seeing so much waste going on, I
could not help remarking, “It’s an ill wind that blaws naebody guid.”
An 1890 lecture
Hugh Brebner, gave an account of some of his experiences in the
darkroom, with an explanation of the chemistry involved.
The lecture was given in 1890, entitled:
Abundance of Detail with Extreme Under-Exposure
The style of lecture was not one that we hear
now at the EPS. Mr Brebner began:
without prefatory remark of any kind, would I plunge at once into my subject,
but that a cruel fate forbids. Fain
alternatively would I cut my preface short, but stern necessity has otherwise
Lectures on equipment demonstrate changing
trends, with discussions on lenses in the early 1990s, and on hand cameras from
1894 onwards. Lectures on lenses
Anastigmatic Lenses - their
History and Application
Focus and Telephoto Lenses
Only one evening in the 1890s was devoted to
microphotography, compared to several evenings in the 1880s.
But there was an increasing interest in astronomical photography
1892: Telescopic Photography
1895 Telescopes and Astronomical Photography
1899 A Night at the City Observatory - Calton Hill
Another subject which appeared to be making a
comeback in the 1890s, following an absence of 20 years was stereoscopy - with
Andrew H Baird giving lectures in the late 1890s:
The Lothian Stereoscope
- Notes on Stereoscopic Photography
Light, in its various forms, was discussed on
1894, A H Baird gave a lecture:
in which he described four methods of producing the magnesium flash for
- The gun cotton method
- The pyrotechnic mixture method
- The puffing through the flame method
- The continuous blast method.
the last of these methods. He also
described how, to determine the angle embraced by the camera, he placed his head
under the focusing cloth and motioned for a friend with a candle to move in each
direction until the candle disappeared off the screen.
G G Cunningham read a Paper:
A Novelty in Indoor Photography
In this he explained his method of indoor
photography using double exposures, the first photo being taken in the evening
after dark and the second in the early morning soon after dark.
In this way, he was able to include both indoor details and the view
through the window without halation.
In 1895, a meeting was held under the auspices
of the Society at Messrs Smith & Co’s Wareroom, No 89 George Street.
A Paper was read and demonstration given of The
Electric Light by A G Adamson, patentee of an incandescent electric
Later the same year, William Penman presented
Oxyhydrogen Incandescent Gas Light
He explained how he had adapted the Welsbach
lamp. It was not so bright as the
"it produced a light
without the smoke or smell of his previous paraffin oil optical furnaces, and with a minimum of heat.
It avoided the hissing and the small innocent explosions associated with the
Mr Penman claimed that his light was suitable
for showing slides to a small audience and for photo enlargements.
He had experimented by adding oxygen - creating an explosive mixture in
his early experiments - and succeeding later in increasing the power of his
light from 47 candles to 71 candles.
Early Nature Photography
Portraiture and Nature featured only
occasionally in the Syllabus, though Charles Reid of Wishaw presented:
Animal and Bird Studies
The Edinburgh Photographic Society’s
Transactions give an account of the second of these lectures.
"There were views of nearly every
bird, beast and creepy thing. There
was a view of wild cattle, in whose
immediate vicinity we would not care to be, and felt very thankful that it was
merely a photo. And there was a
very rare sight, nowadays of oxen ploughing. One naturally associates use of
oxen with the East, but it was surprising to find that until
recently they were still in use as beasts of burden in Scotland."
Photography and Art continued to be discussed,
but an increasing proportion of lectures showed Travel Photography
- including America, Japan, Papua, Europe, and Scotland . Buckhaven in
Fife was the subject the 1895 lecture:
A village by the sea
The photos were taken with a hand camera, and the subject attracted
much larger number of ladies than usually patronise the Society’s meetings
- a source of
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