President’s report presented at the 2024 annual general meeting
President’s report presented at the 2024 annual general meeting

President’s report presented at the 2024 annual general meeting

by Carina de Klerk

Reflecting on 2023 it has certainly been a good year. The Hermanus Photographic Society (HPS) has bounced back from a period of decline brought on by the impact of Covid and dwindling membership. The strong growth in members and images submitted monthly was underscored by many positive interactions at the club.


We gained 15 new members during 2023, while seven members did not renew their subscriptions. The growth in junior members especially is encouraging as this is the lifeblood of any club. The migration of South Africans to the Western Cape also contributed to HPS gaining some more experienced photographers. 

While we realise that membership will fluctuate as individuals’ priorities shift, we are geared to build a club where people can enjoy the social interaction and improve their own photography skills.


The number of image submissions increased significantly to 564 (2022: 457) while maintaining a very high standard. In particular, the average number of golds and merits for the past two years was 66%, despite a slight decline in 2023 compared to 2022, largely attributable to the exclusive use of outside judges last year.

Providing a list of the set-subject topics well in advance added to the number and quality of entries in this competition; as has the scrapping of the short lived 12-month time restriction. By comparison, 127 set subject images were entered during 2023 compared with 101 in the prior year.

 The topics for 2024, voted on by members, will certainly test our creativity. 

Set subject topics
MarchShadows as artLocal Image of the Overberg
AprilUsing perspectiveTrees and Leaves
MayA mono street scenePlanes, Trains, Boats and Automobiles
JuneA sliver of lightCreative Shutter Speed (a set 1/10thsec) 
JulyFlames and/or smokeStill life
AugustPicception (an image inside an image)My favourite poem/book/song/movie
SeptemberA foggy or misty landscapeAn image shot in July 2023
OctoberAn action shotAn image taken in the rain
NovemberSymmetryUrban regeneration or decay
DecemberGuilty pleasuresAn equine subject

Congratulations to the following members for promoting to the next level:

Member promotions during 2023
MarchRene Pretorius1 to 2 Star
Sheron Pretorius3 to 4 Star
Mari Botes3 to 4 Star
AprilJudes Armstrong1 to 2 Star
AugustPhil SturgessMaster Silver to Master Gold
OctoberAnita Joubert1 to 2 Star
Judes Armstrong2 to 3 Star
DecemberHenry Pieters2 to 3 Star
Ingrid Grundlingh3 to 4 Star

Hestie das Neves and I promoted from Master Bronze to Master Silver after our December meeting, effective February 2024.

Judging the judges

Sometimes the feedback and range of scores by external judges were met by surprise and criticism. However, I believe that the decision to use external qualified PSSA judges from all over South Africa is benefitting our photography. The selection of new judges for 2024 is well underway. 

Our own base of accredited judges are growing. David Wilson and Daniel Reddie completed the Western Cape JAP course at the end of 2022 and during the past year Phil Sturgess, Kobus and Marié Botes, Charles Naudé and myself were part of the PSSA JAP course. We are all scheduled to take our final exam over the next couple of months, so I wish our aspiring judges the very best in their endeavours. 

Showcasing our work

HPS hosted another excellent FynArts exhibition in June 2023. On show were 52 club members’ images and seven from the Hermies Photo Club. The feedback from the hundreds of attendees was extremely positive with Marié taking first and second place as the most popular images. Returning the venue to the Hermanus Dutch Reformed Church worked in our favour as many other FynArts events were at the church and convenient for visitors. Plans are underway to secure another top-notch exhibition in June 2024. 

HPS also participated in Ignite Club’s Stellenbosch exhibition in August 2023 as well as the Western Cape Forum’s Celebration of Photography exhibition hosted by the Cape Town Photographic Society at Groot Constantia in Cape Town.

We routinely enter our winner’s images in the PSSA monthly junior and senior competitions and the annual PSSA Inter Club competition. This year we had sufficient images from our juniors to compete. On an international level, we took part in the Folkstone and Rhonda Battles, both UK clubs.

The Hermies Photo Club, a youth club started at the beginning of 2023 at the Hermanus High School has no shortage of budding talent. During the year, several of our members contributed to the learner’s skills development. A highlight was a daylong workshop by Phil to understand the basics of photography. We look forward in continuing in this mentoring capacity.

Skills development

Other activities during the year included a Zoom session on Shooting to Print by Alida Heine, a portraiture workshop by Lynn Kruger-Haye and a Street Photography presentation and walkabout town by Daniel Reddie. All these sessions were well attended and we attracted a number of non-member participants and members from neighbouring clubs.


The effortless contribution by Sheron and René Pretorius in finalising our advancement records on PhotoVault is recognised. They tirelessly applied their process and systems skills to finally resolving our long-standing PV challenges. With some degree of confidence, I can now say that our members’ standings are accurate and information to promote our members are readily available.  Sheron and René also did the groundwork for the TOP system implementation before their emigration to England in the middle of the year. Judes Armstrong has stepped into their shoes and ensured a smooth transition in taking on the responsibilities for PhotoVault and assisting with our club’s website.

Although not all our members are interested in advancing or having their images judged your lively participation in exhibitions and events was most welcome. 

Thank you to all the Committee members for your hard work during 2023. Kobus Botes will be stepping down after five years on the Committee. We appreciate the numerous hours you have dedicated to HPS during this time.

Going forward I have faith that there is sufficient care to build a club that supports our interests and love for photography. Ultimately, it is up to the members to make this work.

Carina de Klerk


President Hermanus Photographic Society

7 February 2024