For 75 years, the Saskatoon Camera Club has been a valuable resource for people interested in photography. Its diverse membership includes teens and seniors, beginners and highly experienced photographers. The club has developed along with the art community and the city itself.

The inaugural meeting of the Camera Club was held at the Board of Trade office in 1936. The 31 founding members set the annual membership fee at $1. (The current fee is $40 per year.) By 1938, the club had 72 members. The venue shifted to Nutana Collegiate for six years, then members rented space with a darkroom in the Ross Block on Third Avenue.

In 1944, the Camera Club joined with the Saskatoon Art Association and the Archeology Association to form the Saskatoon Art Centre. This new collective was established on the second floor of the Standard Trust Building. From 1949-1961, it operated in the basement arcade of the King George Hotel.

In 1961, the Art Centre was obliged to vacate the King George Hotel. The centre moved to the Hunt Building, and the Camera Club moved to the U of S Medical Building, then to the J.S. Wood branch of the Saskatoon Public Library.

The Camera Club reunited with the Saskatoon Art Centre in 1963, in temporary quarters in the Travellers Block Annex (now home to The GALLERY/ art placement.) In 1964, the club moved into the Art Centre’s successor, the newly completed Mendel Art Gallery. Members met for many years in the downstairs auditorium, and enjoyed the use of their own darkroom.

This arrangement continued until 1986, when the Mendel reclaimed the darkroom space for its own use. With its own programs expanding, the Mendel was eventually unable to meet the needs of the Camera Club. The club now meets at Mayfair United Church.

Throughout the club’s history, its members have placed a high priority on sharing information and holding competitions. By the 1940s, members focused on producing, judging and displaying black and white prints. They held eight competitions a year, frequently displayed their works, and participated in print exchanges with clubs elsewhere. Members also entered competitions across the country.

In the 1950s, there was growing interest in colour slides. The club offered basic instruction classes, study groups and field trips.

As a sign of the times, the number of digital prints entered in Camera Club clinics now far exceeds film entries. The club has also operated a website, www.saskatooncameraclub.com, since 2001.



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