In 1946 a small group of local amateur photographers in Hull placed an advert in the local press inviting anyone interested in joining a new photographic club to attend a meeting to be held at the YPI Institute. Following this meeting it was decided that a new club should be formed.
The YPI, or Young People’s Christian and Literary Institute, is a charity founded in the 1860s whose present objective is to provide sporting and leisure facilities for residents of Hull and the surrounding area. The YPI owns a large sports ground with indoor facilities and a club room for members.
The administrators of the YPI said that this club could be accommodated at the George Street headquarters of the YPI, located in the centre of Hull. It was agreed to accept this offer and the letters “YPI” would be included in the club’s title. A meeting room and darkroom were provided for the YPI Camera and Cine Club, the subscription to be 7s 6d per annum, 37.5p in today’s money, paid to the YPI who met all the club expenses.
The first winter programme for the YPI Camera and Cine Club commenced in October 1946 and included lectures by outside speakers and club members, competitions, camera evenings, practical demonstrations, cine film shows, an annual exhibition and a Christmas party.
The first club secretary was William Jackson, ARPS, a well-known local amateur photographer whose pictures were widely exhibited, both in this country and overseas. He specialised in shipping pictures, many taken around the Hull docks.
In January 1947 the club joined the YPU (Yorkshire Photographic Union) and members’ pictures have been regularly submitted for selection to be shown in the YPU’s annual exhibitions. Over the years a number of awards have been gained.
In 1950 the club dropped the cine from its title and became simply the YPI Camera Club.
In the 1970s the darkroom at George Street was given up due to lack of demand.
In 2005 the George Street headquarters of the YPI were sold and many activities there had to be discontinued. The camera club moved to the YPI Sports Centre in Chanterlands Avenue where the club met on Fridays, October to April, and every other Friday from May to September. In addition to the main club activities there was an active AV group which met on alternate Mondays.
Over the years since its foundation in 1946 the YPI Camera Club, in common with all photographic clubs, saw many changes.
After the war new equipment was unobtainable and it was many years before things returned to normal – initially a lot of 1930’s gear was used by members mainly using 120 film or in some cases plates.
In the 1960’s and after, the rise of Japanese manufacturers coincided with the decline of the German camera industry.
Colour, both in transparency and print form, eventually became readily available, Cibachrome colour prints being one of the best processes.
The major upheaval was the arrival of digital. Not many could have foreseen how quickly established methods and equipment would be consigned to the dustbin of history.
This brief history is based on an article written by Arthur Wilson, LRPS, APAGB, which appeared in the November 2012 issue of the YPU Newsletter. Arthur was a stalwart member of the club from 1950 until 2012 when he was forced to retire due to ill-health.
Audio visual, as distinct from cine, has been a part of the Club almost since its foundation. An AV Group was formed by those club members who were interested in this branch of photography and the group had its own programme of meetings and competitions.
Over the years the AV Group has also seen radical changes in technology. Initially one projector was used, with slide changes controlled by pulses recorded on a tape. In the early 80s the Imatronic system was developed which used a four-track tape both to playback the audio and control two slide projectors. Finally the advent of computers and digital projectors meant that an AV sequence could be developed and shown directly from a laptop.
The AV Group adapted to all these changes. In 2000 we purchased Imatronic equipment for the Club with the aid of a Millennium grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. In 2006, a further 'Awards for All' grant allowed us to obtain a digital projector and laptop.
However, as with the main club, numbers in the AV Group reduced over the years. For a short period from 2005 until 2008 the AV Group held joint meetings with the AV group from the nearby Hull Photographic Society. Eventually this disbanded and its members were absorbed into the YPI Camera Club AV Group.
After the move to the YPI Sports Centre in 2005, the Club continued with a programme of talks, outings and competitions. However, membership gradually fell and costs continued to rise, particularly room rental. Efforts to recruit new younger members were not successful.
Things came to a head in 2015 and immediately after the AGM in March, an EGM was held to discuss the future of the Club. The consensus was that it was no longer viable. However the AV Group still had a small but enthusiastic body of members. The Group met less frequently, so the cost of room rental was not such a problem.
It was proposed that the Club would not be dissolved but would change its objectives so the focus was entirely on audio visual. Members who wanted to continue with conventional photography would join one of the other photographic groups in the area. This proposal was carried, so launching the YPI Camera Club in its present form.
The Club continued to meet at the YPI Sports Centre until August 2016 when redevelopment forced us to find a new venue in Cottingham.