The Silver Spring Camera Club began in the fall of 1950 when about 50 people attended an open meeting for anyone interested in forming a Camera Club. The stated purpose of the Club was “to provide an opportunity for people with a mutual interest in photography to share their experiences and common knowledge.” The charter membership was about 60. Eleven years later in 1971 the membership stood at 150, and new applicants were placed on a waiting list.
Over the years the Club had held its regular meetings in a camera store, various community center clubrooms, a recreation center, a high school, and several libraries. It usually had two meetings a month. Up until 1975, there were only two categories for the competitions: color slides and monochrome prints. In 1976, four print meetings included a color print competition. And by 1983, every print competition included color prints for both novice and advanced classes. The slide competitions have remained basically the same, except that the number of allowed slide entries was reduced from three to two in 1982 due to the large number of entries.
The original “workshops” consisted of short 15-minute presentations given by members at the beginning of each main meeting “to provide an exchange of information and first-hand experience on photographic techniques and materials.” (The name was changed to “short-shorts” in 1970; and then to “mini-workshops.”) In the mid-60s “study groups” met monthly, first for color slides and later for monochrome prints. These were joined by the New Directions Workshop in 1981, and a few years later by the Composition and Presentation Workshop. Also in the 80’s, there was a View Camera Group, a Creative Workshop, and two one-year workshops on the Fine Print and Retouching. In the 90’s, we added a workshop on Computer Imaging.
From the very beginning, the SSCC was a member of the Photographic Society of America (PSA). This provided an opportunity for members to exhibit their work in the Print and Slide Circuits in the U.S. and around the world. Through the years, SSCC has arranged exhibits of members’ work in a variety of locations throughout the Washington, DC area. Club members have also participated in the competitions sponsored by Greater Washington Council of Camera Clubs and the Council of Maryland Camera Clubs.
The Club’s newsletter, the Cable Release, began publication in October 1961 as a mimeographed newsletter with hand-drawn illustrations, which was mailed to members for 4¢. Later issues contained black-and-white photographs, and two 1979 issues feature front-page color Xerox reproductions from slides. The first mention of the use of a computer was by editor Art Drucker, who used his trusty Commodore from 1984 to 1987. Over the years, the Cable Release has provided club news, photo-related articles, and members’ opinions on a variety of topics. The archive of past newsletters, which is in the care of our club historian, chronicles the history of a dynamic organization that, with the active input of its members, has been constantly evolving for more than half a century.
See this print publication for an in-depth look at club history up to 2004.