March 28th saw my first Awards and Presentations evening as Chairman of the LGCCC.
Traditionally, we hold the awards night on the eve of our annual exhibition. We open our exhibition to members and invited guests, check out all the prints submitted by members that year and mingle with a glass of wine or fruit juice. Then the Chairman has to present the awards and certificates.
This year we were able to present two special awards. One to our previous Events Secretary, John Sanderson, who retired from the role last October, and one to previous President, Robert Staddon, who also resigned at the same time.
When I took over the role of Chairman I was keen to recognise the work of those who had done so much for the club. I think the Events Secretary has one of the hardest roles; they have to work out all the days and dates to book the correct amount of speakers for the correct days, liiase with them all before, during and after the event, order a good selection of judges for our competitions, liaise with other clubs for external competitions, and all making sure they please all the members all of the time with their choice of judges, subjects and speakers. Not an easy task.
John received an Amazon voucher for his work and I hope he can find some suitable photography books to enhance his collection.
Robert was Club President for around 25 years. Having done it for under one year I can testify that twenty five years is some dedication. His love for the club has been evident since I joined in 2008, and I know the hours spent in the backroom at home sorting out club affairs must have mounted up into the thousands.
What better way to mark the gratitude of the club by awarding Robert an Honorary Life Membership and I was pleased to present Robert with his certificate on Friday evening.
You can see photos of the presentations on our 2013 Awards Report.
Sorting out the Annual Exhibition is a huge undertaking. Firstly, the planning has to be done so that everything is in place for the day. A venue has to be found and booked, not as easy as it might appear in Letchworth. Since the announcement of the shake up in local museums in North Hertfordshire, we have been unable to use our old venue at the Letchworth Museum and Art Gallery in the Broadway. We have tried the Heritage Museum and an empty shop in the town centre, both with, shall we say, varying degrees of success.
This year our Exhibition Secretary, Peter Freeman, was able to obtain the use of the main hall at the Settlement for a Saturday. This meant a change from previous years which have usually been held over a number of days and weeks rather than a single day. We were able to secure some display stands from the Heritage Foundation. So we were able to put on an exhibition.
A fantastic team of volunteers came together on Friday so we could put the exhbition on. We were able to erect and position the display stands, which was akin to constructing a large 3D jigsaw at times. We mounted all the prints and by Friday afternoon things were looking really nice. It is the largest display space we’ve had for as long as I’ve been in the club and for a team with not a designer amongst us, I think we filled it out rather well.
Satruday came and again, our member volunteers were on hand during the course of the day to steward the exhibition, welcome vistors and chat about the club, the photos and photography in general. For anyone who was there most of Friday as well, it was a long day, but at the end I did feel a certain amount of satisfaction at a job well done.
Sunday morning, and despite the clocks going forward an hour and the resultant loss of sleep, our team were back at the Settlement at 10am to dismantle the display stands and tidy up. Thankfully, taking the exhibition apart took around five times less time than putting it together. Apart from peter and Frank popping in on Monday to supervise the collection of the display boards, that’s us done for another year.
It certainly was a learning experience for me. I have taken note of several comments and suggestions which we might be able to use for improvements next year.
All in all I can put on record that I am very proud of all the folk in the club who put on this year’s exhibition. Thank you all for your blood, sweat and hopefully no tears!
I’m looking forward to next year’s exhibition already 😉