A well-known presence on the North Shore since 1983, the North Shore Photographic Society has maintained its essential spirit with the guiding principles of photographic art and creativity.
Inspired by these principles and a 1982 meeting with Canadian photographer Freeman Patterson, Alfons and Susanne Müller sought to establish a photographic club in their new home of West Vancouver, similar to that of the Jabula Camera Club in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The Jabula Club met 3 times per month offering comments on slides and prints with a point system of 1 through 5. According to Alfons, Freeman Patterson endorsed the 5 point award system including the emphasis on art, creativity, and what the photographer was trying to express.
The Müllers located Wil Stiphout, (Kerrisdale Camera store manager) a member of the Photographic Society of South Africa, who had a membership listing with a Vancouver phone number. The Müllers were pleased to find a fellow enthusiast interested in starting a North Shore Photographic Club.
The inaugural 1983 meeting of the then named North Shore Photographic Club (NSPC) took place in a garden room at Park and Tilford, North Vancouver; in attendance were: Alfons, Susanne, Wil, (1st club president) 3 bus drivers, and Larry Lewis. As stated by Alfons, Larry, in the role of President from 1984-1988 was an important contributor to the expansion and growth of the club. To promote competition and artistic excellence among the clubs, it was during this time that the NSPC held its first North Shore Challenge. Over the years, the Challenge has become a key annual event for NSPS, which has been described as the premier club competition in Western Canada. The history of the Challenge is described in detail below.
Within two years and by word of mouth, the Club grew in reputation and size to almost 50 members, whereby it located to St. Anthony’s Church in West Vancouver. The Club was now firmly established in the lower mainland. While St. Anthony’s Church was undergoing a renovation, the club moved to Klee Wyck and then a room at the site of the present Delbrook Community Recreation Centre but found these premises too small and returned to St. Anthony’s Church.
This was still the days of film photography. Club members generously shared the use of their home dark room equipment with other members.
Meetings continued to include print and slide critiques and later, included the addition of program nights which allowed members access to the expertise of photographers who willingly shared their knowledge.
November 30, 1990, the North Shore Photographic Club became the North Shore Photographic Society.
The Club ventured further afield and in 1992 sponsored the NSPS Vancouver International Competition, open to all countries, with 6 countries entered in the first year and 10 in the second year. It was held at the Gateway Theatre in Richmond with 560 people attending.
The North Shore Challenge
To promote a standard of excellence in fine art photography, the NSPC held its first North Shore Challenge in 1985 against the Burnaby Photographic Club, with the NSPC taking top honours. Next year’s Challenge saw 7 clubs entered. The Challenge grew exponentially each year.
A large projection screen and top of the line professional projector were supplied by Lens and Shutter. Lens and Shutter also duplicated, free of charge, all of the winning slides, which were then sent to the participating B.C. clubs. In 2005, the North Shore Challenge moved from its previous locations of Capilano College and Centennial Theatre to the Kay Meek Centre, and in 2007 changed to a digital format.
2014 marked the 30th Anniversary of the North Shore Photographic Challenge. Previously restricted to CAPA member photography clubs in B.C. and the Yukon, the Challenge was opened to include a category for individual photographers from the general public. Individual and club images were shown and judged in one stream. Separate CAPA medals were awarded in each category
The North Shore Photographic Society Today
The current Club membership represents a wide variety of experience from beginners to advanced photographers. There are 3 meetings per month, one each for digital and print critiques, and the 3rd meeting for an educational program night, usually with invited speakers. Throughout the year opportunities are available for participation in CAPA photographic club competitions. An annual event, the NSPS sponsors the North Shore Challenge. Field trips are popular social and learning occasions, as is the Christmas and Year End party.
The Club, however, would in no way have been the continued success that it is without the hundreds of volunteers who over the years have given selflessly of their time and expertise to the various Executive positions, or Committees and Events.
The North Shore Photographic Society has come a long way from the days of film and word of mouth, to digital and meetup.com
Presidents of the North Shore Photographic Society
2017-2018 - Margo Dornan
2010-2017 - Jason Duncan
2008-2010 - Merilyn Hicks
2006-2008 - Betty Andres
2004-2006 - David Smith
2002-2004 - Nancy Ricker
2000-2002 - Bryan Walwork
1998-2000 - Jan Lasteen
1996-1998 - Merle Ace
1994-1996 - Bryan Walwork
1991-1994 - Bryan Anderson
1990-1991 - Alfons Muller
Presidents of the North Shore Photographic Club
1989-1990 - Alfons Muller
1984-1989 - Larry Lewis
1983-1984 - Wil Stiphout