Camera Club

The Photographs found in amateur camera clubs and art galleries might seem worlds apart, but how much depends upon the context in which photographs are seen? Could some camera club pictures be viewed as 'art'? How might renowned photographers fare in a camera club competition?

To find out, Stephen Bull an artist, writer and lecturer, organised Camera Club an event that took place at Ilkley Camera Club in Yorkshire on September 25 1998 as part of Photo 98: The Year of Photography and the Electronic Image.

The art historian and curator David Alan Mellor began the proceedings by delivering a lecture where he compared the photographs made by Ilkley Camera Club's members to images from art history. Some of the similarities were remarkable. For more details of Mellor's talk see the Photo 98 retrospective CD-Rom (available early 1999).

This was followed by a competition where established artists and photographers such as Martin Parr and Jenny Saville entered their photographs into The Stephen Bull Trophy. Each picture was assessed by camera club judge Ray Brightman ARPS. Brightman was aware that the pictures were by well known artists and photographers, but did not know who these artists were. Almost all the images were unfamiliar to him and he discussed them and awarded marks out of 20 according to traditional amateur photography criteria. This website shows you the photographs and Brightman's comments and scores.

Ray Brightman ARPS judges a photograph by Martin Parr at Ilkley Camera Club

Photograph: Miranda Morris

The Photographs

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Please send any comments to Stephen Bull