Finding a Home

Finding a Home

After so many years of holding their meetings at the Carnegie Institute, the Photo Section moved across the road – with the completion of the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning in 1937 – to the meeting rooms in the Cathedral. Included in their new location they had more space for meetings, and to work on the annual salons and a dark room for demonstrations. The annual membership dues at that time were $3. While the Photo Section found Pitt an adequate location, in October, 1955, Olli Romig- then President of the Photo Section- began negotiation with the City of Pittsburgh to lease space at the old King Mansion for the Photo Section’s use. The mansion, located near Highland Park was a donation to the city for a cultural and conservation center. In April of 1956 the Photo Section –considering the King Mansion to be a more appropriate and convenient location- was fortunate to be allotted two basement rooms in the King Mansion- for their “permanent” use. While there was no monthly lease charge, the Photo Section was required to absorb its maintenance and modification costs. The space was especially useful for the processing of the hundreds of packages of prints and slides that had to be handled for the annual salons. A dark room was also added. After some time, effort and money the basement work rooms were cleaned and outfitted. A meeting room was also prepared- on the first floor. Membership dues, at that time had increased to $5 a year. This location served the club very well until the end of the 1971-1972 membership season when the City of Pittsburgh evicted the Photo Section – the city administration had other plans for the King Mansion. From there the Photo Section’s meeting were held in several locations, including the F. Stop Gallery for four years and one year at the Ivy School of Professional Art. The Photo Section found a more permanent home for the 1977-1978 season, at the Mt. Lebanon Recreation Center.

The AcademyToday

It has often been said that ‘there is nothing new in the world’.  Well, that was disputed with the invention of photography.  Then, as the Photo Section was approaching the twenty-first century, the invention of digital photography brought a dramatic change to the art and craft of photography.  At first, the Photo Section members ignored this imaging process, considering is quite inferior in quality to traditional photographic processes.  However, as digital technology improved, in 2001, the club accepted digital images in their regular club programs and competitions. However, just as there was a long-time debate during the early years of photography whether photography is an art, so we can expect debates one whether digital imagery is photography.  By year 2003, one-hundred-percent digital images were competing well in both monochrome and color categories.  This is not to say that traditional processes were abandoned-to the contrary, some members continued with traditional photographic processes.  Interestingly, new members were joining because of the Photo Section’s commitment to traditional black & white photography. For some such members, there is a special satisfaction in practicing their camera and dark room techniques-to create a more hands-on image.  How long will traditional photography continue? -surly, to some degree, for a long time.

Part1 | Part2

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