Sheffield photography group celebrates 150-year anniversary

The Sheffield Photographic Society is celebrating its 150th anniversary with a 'Now and Then' exhibition at the Winter Garden
The Sheffield Photographic Society is celebrating its 150th anniversary with a 'Now and Then' exhibition at the Winter Garden
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A photography club is celebrating 150 years of putting Sheffield in the frame.

Originally formed in 1864, the Sheffield Photographic Society is said to be one of the oldest groups of its kind in the country.

One of the first photographs of Sheffield Photographic Society taken at Roche Abbey in 1865

One of the first photographs of Sheffield Photographic Society taken at Roche Abbey in 1865

It has survived two World Wars and experienced numerous changes in technology since its birth.

To mark the impressive milestone, the society’s members are enjoying a week of celebrations, including a special exhibition at Sheffield’s Winter Gardens.

The display, called Now and Then, includes copies of images from the group’s archive dating back to the 1860s, as well as present-day photography.

Mike Smith, society president, said: “We have focused the exhibition on the city and industry of Sheffield to document how it has changed during the years that the society has been running.

Current members of the Sheffield Photographic Society recreated a photo taken of the society in 1865 at Roche Abbey

Current members of the Sheffield Photographic Society recreated a photo taken of the society in 1865 at Roche Abbey

“These include street scenes from the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s which people have enjoyed reminiscing over.

“The exhibition also includes the earliest image of the society, taken at Rotherham’s Roche Abbey in 1865, which a few of the current members recreated earlier this year to commemorate the anniversary.”

According to Mr Smith, it is thought the society was initially formed following the Great Sheffield Flood, when photography was in its infancy.

He said: “Although we don’t have any documentary evidence, we believe people with cameras at the time would have rushed out to get images of the aftermath and would have linked up through that.

Sheffield Photographic Society 's recent 'Perspectives'  Exhibition in the Winter Garden. New member Gareth Morgan, with his pictures on remembrance.

Sheffield Photographic Society 's recent 'Perspectives' Exhibition in the Winter Garden. New member Gareth Morgan, with his pictures on remembrance.

“Photography was becoming more popular then as it was a way of doing portraits that weren’t hand painted.

“From that point the membership fluctuated until the early 1900s when it became popular again.”

Today the society has about 100 snappers on its books, all of whom use light-weight digital cameras and can edit their images using modern computer programmes – a vast contrast to the way in which its early members would have captured their shots.

Mr Smith, who has been a society member for 12 years, said: “The equipment in the 1860s would have been large and heavy and photographers would have needed to use a tripod.

Sheffield Photographic Society's recent  'Perspectives' exhibition in the Winter Garden. Roger Ward, club treasurer, with his photos in the exhibition.

Sheffield Photographic Society's recent 'Perspectives' exhibition in the Winter Garden. Roger Ward, club treasurer, with his photos in the exhibition.

“They would also have needed to carry chemicals for wet plate processing. Later dry plate processing came in but the equipment would still be heavy.

“For many years the society had its own premises as they needed meeting space, plus a dark room and washing facilities.”

Currently the society’s members range from photography enthusiasts in their 20s up to those in their 80s, who vary in ability.

As well as its weekly meetings at St Peter’s Church Hall in Greenhill, the group has outings and regular exhibitions.

Its members recently enjoyed an anniversary meal at Baldwin’s Omega restaurant in Brincliffe Edge and will hold a 150th anniversary evening on Tuesday as part of its milestone celebrations.

Mr Smith said: “The group is thriving and we hope it continues in the same way over the coming years.” The Now and Then exhibition is on display in Sheffield’s Winter Garden until tomorrow.

The Sheffield Photographic Society is celebrating its 150th anniversary.A pictured titled 'The Likely Lads from Gleadless'

The Sheffield Photographic Society is celebrating its 150th anniversary.A pictured titled 'The Likely Lads from Gleadless'

The Sheffield Photographic Society is celebrating its 150th anniversary.A view of Sheffied, then (1860 taken from Sky Edge) and more recently taken from above Midland station

The Sheffield Photographic Society is celebrating its 150th anniversary.A view of Sheffied, then (1860 taken from Sky Edge) and more recently taken from above Midland station

The Sheffield Photographic Society is celebrating its 150th anniversary.A society outing in 1946

The Sheffield Photographic Society is celebrating its 150th anniversary.A society outing in 1946

The Sheffield Photographic Society is celebrating its 150th anniversary.A society outing in 2014

The Sheffield Photographic Society is celebrating its 150th anniversary.A society outing in 2014

The Sheffield Photographic Society is celebrating its 150th anniversary.. Mike Smith , president of the group

The Sheffield Photographic Society is celebrating its 150th anniversary.. Mike Smith , president of the group