Photography was becoming a very popular hobby in the 1960’s, 1970s and 1980s and as a result there was a huge increase in the number of photography clubs formed all across the towns and cities of Ireland. Photography clubs near each other would sometimes meet for inter club events such as competitions and lectures and regions were formed.
In the UK hundreds of photography clubs had been formed and they came together to form the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain (PAGB) to regulate and help clubs, and to run regional and national photography events. It was only a matter of time until Irish photography clubs would form their own national body to regulate the clubs and run regional and national photography club events in Ireland for the clubs.
Federation of still photographic clubs
In 1977 a circular was sent to all known Irish photography clubs calling for the formation of a national federation. The response was most encouraging, with the vast majority of clubs indicating that such a federation was necessary and that they were willing to help and participate. The first meeting of photography clubs / societies was organised for Saturday 19th November 1977 in the Royal Dublin Hotel, O Connell Street, Dublin at 2pm. Each club was asked to discuss the federation idea and to list possible aims and objectives of such a federation and forward the list of ideas to the meeting organiser for inclusion on the agenda. Each club was asked to send along 2 delegates.
1) Discussion of clubs’ ideas and suggestions.
2) Format of a federation.
3) Election of officers.
At the meeting held in the Royal Dublin Hotel in 1977 there were camera clubs and societies from Bray, Shankill, Monaghan, Limerick, An Oige, Drogheda, Galway, Camera Circle Dublin, PSI Dublin, Dundalk, Dublin Camera Club, Westport, Waterford and Palmerstown.
Des Clinton (Drogheda) was elected chairperson for the meeting. A representative from each club gave details of that club’s activities and the areas in which a federation would be able to help the club. The chairperson then summarised the main ideas put forward by the clubs. Some of the areas in which clubs felt a federation could help clubs were:
1) To organise portfolios of prints and slides that clubs could borrow.
2) To organise seminars.
3) To compile a list of judges and lectures and distribute to clubs.
4) To act as a pressure group for clubs and photography.
5) To organise touring photography exhibitions.
6) To pass on info on photography exhibitions and international salons.
Brian Callagy (Galway) proposed and Sean Cannon (Monaghan) seconded and agreed by the meeting that:
A) A national federation of camera clubs and societies is formed.
B) A working group be set up to meet in Dublin Camera Club premises on 14th Jan 1978 to:
1) To draw up a draft constitution for the Federation.
2) To draw up a list of priorities for the federation and clubs.
3) To organise a follow up meeting to be held on February 11th 1978 in PSI premises on Parnell Square, Dublin. Representatives from all interested clubs to be invited. This meeting to discuss the working group’s recommendations.
At the meeting of the working group on Jan 14th 1978 the following items were agreed:
a) A draft constitution .
b) The regionalisation of the federation was discussed but no decision made.
c) The need for a list of judges and lecturers for the federation clubs.
d) The agenda for a follow up meeting on 11th Feb 1978.
Minutes of the above meeting on Feb 11th 1978.
The following photography clubs were represented: PSI, Dublin CC, An Oige, Palmerstown, Drogheda, Galway and Monaghan. Sean Cannon chaired the meeting. At this meeting the draft constitution articles were discussed one by one and amended as required. This amended constitution was proposed by Dominic Hester (DCC) and seconded by Joe Dowdall (Drogheda) and was agreed and passed at the meeting.
It was also proposed that the IPF year should start on 1st April 1978 and a meeting of IPF clubs to be arranged for this date at PSI premises in Parnell Square Dublin, to elect a council for the IPF. 1 member from each club wishing to join the Federation was invited to attend.
At this meeting on the 1st April 1978 the election of the IPF council took place. Peter Slattery (Camera circle) proposed the following officers:
Des Clinton (Drogheda) for Chairperson.
Sean Cannon (Monaghan) for Secretary
Joe Mc Cusker (PSI) for treasurer.
This proposal was discussed and seconded by John Thorp. The motion was adopted by those present at the meeting. These council members were authorised to add further council members to fill various positions as they arose. The IPF now had a council to run the organisation.
Sean Cannon subsequently wrote “In my opinion, a most important step in the history of Irish photography was taken om 1st April 1978”. Seventeen months later Sean said “I am convinced the ball is well and truly rolling. It was an uphill climb and we have survived. Let us renew the effort and commitment and the wish expressed when we first met in Dublin in 1977 to further the standards of Irish photography.
On April 1st 1978 the formal birth of the IPF took place at a meeting of delegates from all over Ireland “Document compiled by Des Clinton from minutes of IPF meeting recorded by Sean Cannon while he was secretary of the IPF.