Molesey Photographic Club is a long-established, small and friendly club – one of only a handful of camera clubs in the area. We snapped up the chance to chat to its committee chair and programme secretary Terri Bethell.
Focused on the search for something to do with her passion for photography Terri found the Molesey Photographic Club online, and joined in 2008. She has been the committee chair for the last six years, and also holds the programme, publicity and exhibition secretary posts. It’s a lot of work, but one that she loves: “We’ve a lovely little committee, with the five of us and it works. But we’re always open to others that want to help!”
Established in 1958 by a group of keen amateur photographers, the club is now into its 65th year and exists to give everyone an insight into photography, with the aim of promoting the enjoyment and improvement of its members’ work. There is a varied programme through the year of six or seven talks from professionals in the industry, such as Paul Sanders, formerly picture editor of The Times, along with themed days out, exhibitions, teaching evenings, and competitions.
Being members of the Surrey Photographic Association allows the club to meet and compete against other clubs, which raises the internal standard, and its own profile. In 2022, they won the respected Surrey Advertiser Rosebowl Competition, with an image called ‘Seascapes’. Other inter-club competitions include the Concorde Trophy and the invitational Albany Cup, which they won this year with images taken at Carters Steam Fair.
As well as practical photography support and learning, the social aspect is important, with the regular bi-monthly Tuesday meetings. The club welcomes photographers of all abilities, and ages, from total beginners to advanced and experienced shooters. Previous members have included Rachael Talibart, known worldwide for her award-winning fine-art seascape photography.
If there is a perception that photography is inaccessible in terms of the cost of equipment, Terri is keen to emphasise that there is no barrier to being a member here: “You don’t have to have a camera. People come along that only take photos on their phone, and then edit them on a computer, and they’re brilliant.”
The club is non-profit making and self-funding, through memberships, but Terri admits that it’s a tough time. “We’ve had to put up the membership fee for the first time in a long time, and we need to cover our costs. The cost of getting a professional speaker in has gone up, as has the cost of hiring the church hall, and the judges for our competitions. We need more membership and more funds, to secure our future. The pandemic hit us massively, and we lost members that didn’t come back.”
This September, the club is looking forward to its 34th Annual Exhibition, taking place at the East Molesey Methodist Church. Over 300 images will be showcased, in the form of prints and projected digital images. Entry is free, and there will be a cup of tea and cake for only £1! It is the club’s biggest opportunity to promote itself locally, and for people to see what it’s all about, but the committee are always looking for new ideas. This year they will be holding a raffle, the prize for which will be the ‘Best Print in Exhibition’, framed for the winner. Terri has also just launched the club’s first Instagram account, the perfect visual platform for a photography club and bound to attract a whole new following. They will also be looking to open up their evening talks to the public, for a small ticket price.
Have you got the photography bug? Whether you point and shoot and hope for the best, or deliberate over f-stops and shutter speeds and can share your expertise with others, then you know what to do – join your local club and share the joy of taking photos!
Molesey Photographic Club is actively seeking new members. If you are interested, then you will be welcomed along to a club meeting before making a commitment to join.
Membership is £52 annually, with a reduced rate for students and country members. For more information:
34th Annual Exhibition | 4 — 9 September 2023
East Molesey Methodist Church, Manor Road, East Molesey Wheelchair accessible. Free entry, but buy a cuppa and a cake!