Berkshire Museum & Programs for Children

Berkshire Museum Camera Club

Berkshire Museum Camera Club

Helping each other be better photographers since 1937

The Berkshire Museum Camera Club membership is open to all photographers. Berkshire Museum Camera Club offers Workshops and Tutorials, Guest Speakers, and Competitions. Meetings are held on the first and third Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m. from September to May at the Berkshire Museum on South Street, Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Competitions are open to all members. Visitors are always welcome. Click here for current schedule and other information.

Purpose

The Berkshire Museum Camera Club is an organization where people interested in picture-taking and in the improvement of their knowledge and techniques of photography can meet other photographers. Education and competition are the Club’s primary aims.

History

In 1937, because of the widespread and keen participation in a 14-week Snapshot Contest sponsored by The Berkshire Eagle, The Berkshire Museum announced that it would sponsor a camera club, and included among the first members was Bartlett Hendricks, a Berkshire Museum curator. The first meeting of the Berkshire Museum Camera Club was held on September 23, 1937, attended by 46 photo-enthusiasts.

At the second meeting 70 photo-enthusiasts came – with their cameras. These cameras ranged in price from $0.89 to $300, and 46 were “miniatures” (35 mm). Only six members were active in color photography at that time, but there was a majority interested in having lectures to find out more about it.

For many years, the Club was closely allied with the Berkshire Museum. Winning prints by members were often displayed at the Museum. In 1992, The Berkshire Museum, The Berkshire Eagle and BMCC co-sponsored a Black & White Print Competition honoring the late Eagle photographer William Tague, and the winners’ prints were shown at the Museum.

In 1996, the annual Warren Fowler Memorial Award was established to honor the late Warren Fowler, a professional photojournalist and longtime friend of BMCC. In 1999, the annual Paul Pharmer Memorial Award was established. Paul Pharmer, BMCC President 1995-1997, was a retired school teacher and principal with a special love of children

The Club is an active participant in the Berkshire community, in recent years undertaking special projects for the Pittsfield Beautiful Committee and the Berkshire Historical Society. A joint project with the Berkshire Athenaeum and funded by the Pittsfield Cultural Council produced a exhibition of “Pittsfield Then and Now” and added to the Athenaeum’s collection of photographs. Each year, BMCC members volunteer as photographers for the Massachusetts Winter Special Olympics.

Program Format

Competitions

The Berkshire Museum Camera Club meets twice a month during the academic year at the Berkshire Museum on South Street in Pittsfield. One of those monthly gatherings is a themed competition with entries submitted in four categories: color prints (novice and advanced), black and white prints, digital images (novice and advanced), and slides. Ribbons are awarded at each competition as well as at year’s end for cumulative excellence. The Club facilitates members’ entries in regional competitions. Expert feedback from all competitions helps members to advance their skills and sense of artistry.

Instruction

Experienced members tutor novices in all facets of photography. Specialists share their methods through hands-on demonstrations. Monthly competitions are judged by professionals who offer advice, image by image. Members rapidly develop their ability to select a strong subject and bring it to photographic fruition.

Exhibitions

Through Club initiatives, members’ images have been mounted in local banks, non-profit organizations, and at the Berkshire Museum itself. Members’ photos have graced elegant calendars, covers of catalogs, and museum displays.

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