For the second year in a row 2021 was a year full of challenges for our club as Covid continues to wreak its work against humanity. Despite of all these challenges we carried on and when possible made sure that there was a variety of activities for our members. We also had perhaps a club record level of photographic qualifications being obtained by our members from both the PSSA (APSSA and LPPSA) and the Royal Photographic Society (LRPS).
Members participating in both National and International salons did extremely well, putting Hermanus Club’s name out there and with medal winning photographs appearing on the PSSA website competition where Hermanus dominated the entries! Additionally we did very well in the PSSA monthly competitions where both Phil Sturgess, and Charles Naude excelled. Following on from the previous year, we also participated in an International Challenge with 26 other clubs in the Cwm Rhondda Challenge and whilst we did not achieve the success of 2020, we have been invited back for this year.
Whilst we continued with our monthly meetings and evaluations but for most of the year this was over Zoom and luckily the club had invested in a ull Zoom licence the year before and Elizma was able to coordinate very effectively both club meetings and committee meetings over Zoom. This task will be taken over by Carina de Klerk now to give Elizma a well earned break – well at least from club activities. Despite all this, nevertheless there was a slight decline in membership with less members participating in the monthly competitions. This turned around late in the year with four new members coming aboard but there was still a slight decline in membership overall.
Later in the year when Covid regulations relaxed it was possible to arrange photo outings with club members attending locations such as the Vermont Salt Pan, and Elgin Railway Market and events such as the Beach Ruby at Kleinmond. The biggest disappointment was that whilst the Salt Pan outing was well attended, this was not the case with the others.
Despite all the negative circumstances with Covid, the club raised its profile with regular exhibitions and print sales at both First Fridays Art Walk and now this year, Hermanus Art in The Park where we have a permanent stall on the first Friday of the month and on holiday weekends. It also gives the opportunity for club members to sell their work to the public and perhaps its a pity that only a few members have taken up this opportunity as public appreciation even if not a sale, is vastly different from our photographic competitions.
We also continued our yearly participation in Fyn Arts under the theme “Mainly Monochromatic”. Well received by the public, with four of the photographic exhibits being sold, it was less successful in getting members both to participate and invigilate placing a lot of stress of those who did for which I am thankful. Hopefully this year we can do better as we have already committed to taking part in Fyn Arts and with it being our 25th Anniversary this year we are looking at a more high profile location but this will need help from members. Also thanks needs to go to Carina de Klerk for taking over and vastly improving our website. This was a mammoth task and the club owes her thanks for a great job done.
And both Carina and Phil have brought clarity to the club’s constitution and also developed a welcome pack for new members.
There is always a concern in keeping the club running with continued stress on maintaining membership and making sure too much workload is not placed on the fewer active club members. This was especially the case in 2021 where the Committees workload increased significantly both due to more club activities and a reduced number of members on the committee.
Hopefully we will be able to increase the Committee membership this year to reduce individual workloads but also to keep subscriptions at at least the 2021 level. The current committee and hopefully the forthcoming Committee will keep the club alive and buzzing. But to do this we do need commitment from all members to join in these activities as frankly this was a concern throughout 2021.
There is a general level of acceptance that we can now return to meetings in the church as the Covid threat level reduces. But this can change as we know so Zoom meetings may be called at short notice. Please check your emails and/or the club website for information. Lastly my thanks to every member who attended our meetings, took part in our activities, lent a hand, came up with suggestions, and in any other way contributed to our good year in spite of some many pitfalls due to Covid.
David Wilson, LRPS
President Hermanus Photographic Society