Excerpts from the RAPC Souvenir History

Studio Group, 1989

A Progressive Era (1975-1992)

1974-75 ushered in a period of significant expansion in Camera Club development following some years of limited activity and declining membership. A new executive headed by Cam McKechnie as president and Shirley Smith as program chairperson presented an ambitious program with proposed guest speakers that included Youssuf Karsh (he did not make it, and does not seem to have ever been on a club program.) Programs covered topics in both still photography and films, including presentations by portrait photographer John Evans, freelance photographer Ted Grant and CBC TV stars John and Janet Foster. Club members paid a visit to the National Film Board Still Photo Division to see a six-projector slide show presentation and were also invited to a tour of Crawley Films. A $1 entry fee for club competitions was charged to raise funds for awarding of prizes.

John Fowler with Speed Graphic

John Fowler with Speed Graphic

John Fowler recalls joining the club in 1973 after moving from Montreal: “As a newcomer to Ottawa, I joined the RACC very soon after my arrival, and made many good friends, several of whom I still keep in touch with, and a couple of whom I count to this day as among my very best friends.”

A new executive elected for 1975-76 was headed by Danielle Allard. The Camera Cub operated a permanent display cabinet for the showing of members’ work on the second floor of the RA Centre. The exhibit was described as “… a source of pride this season. Many excellent prints have passed through it, and Catherine Kelly is doing such a great job in arranging them to best advantage.”


Publicity for 1987 Open House

The club’s first annual Open House was held on May 4, 1976. Karin Lehmann, who is credited with organizing the event, reported that it “…attracted a throng of visitors. A most conspicuous guest was Colonel By, whose presence delighted many visitors.” Events included: an Ottawa pictorial slide show, By the Way, edited by Janet Long, Frank Brodie, Jim Scrimger and Bill Nelson; a slide show by Raymond Thauvette on early photography; a nature audio-visual show contributed by members and assembled by John Fowler; and Mardi Gras, an audio-visual presentation by Danielle Allard and Barry White. Special displays were arranged by Ron Andrews (colour printing), Robert Laramée (effects of various lenses), Danielle Allard (RA activities), Glen Staflund (program), and Raymond Thauvette (old photographic equipment). Don Beckett acted as MC. The outgoing executive was later given “… unanimous and sincere accolades for a job well done. Membership was increased, a varied and interesting program was offered members — with the capping event a highly successful Open House.”
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Memories of MEX final

Design by Michael Tardioli

Atrium Gallery, Centrepointe
101 Centrepointe Drive
On view: October 24 – November 26, 2014
Vernissage: October 28, 2014, 6- 8 pm

Two summers ago one of my daughters decided to reduce the chaos in my closets. The unexpected result was MEMORIES OF MEXICO 1958 when she found a cardboard box containing curled 8x10in prints and loose negatives. After five children, many moves, floods and no filing system both prints and negatives were in bad condition. I had forgotten the work I had done as a teenager attending the Instituto Allende in San Miguel de Allende back in 1958. Mentally it was filed as bad student work, and life got in the way of further photographic development. Fifty years later, the work showed its potential value.

Unfortunately many negatives are missing with only bad prints to show what might have been. But I salvaged twenty negatives of sufficient quality to scan and process digitally for this exhibition. They show aspects of San Miguel and Guanajuato still existing today, as they were half a century ago. As anywhere, Mexico has changed, with the number of cars and the amount of tourism very visible evidence. No longer are there the empty streets although many of the same buildings can be seen in these heritage towns. Markets still exist and farmacias are still in business in San Miguel. The scenes in many of the photographs are still recognizable today, even if the facades are less visible through the traffic and crowds of tourists.

Designed by Michael Tardioli, the show’s poster evokes movie posters of the fifties.

Abby Gossage
October 15, 2014


RA Photo Club Darkroom Group Show, 2014 Edition.

In 1839 William Henry Fox Talbot first showed examples of his process for producing photographic prints from negatives. 175 years later photographers still have the option to work using essentially similar methods here in our Club’s darkroom facility. Five members of the Club’s Darkroom Group have contributed two pieces each to the current Club Gallery show exhibition which showcases prints made using film & photographic paper. In this 75th anniversary year for the RA Photo Club I hope you will enjoy viewing this contemporary work while recalling the rich heritage that it represents.

Below (after the “Read More”) are some scans of the work on display but of course I hope you get to see the prints themselves in the Club Gallery (located in the west lobby at the RA Centre).

Thank you to all the photographers and to Dave Haggarty & Celso Bressan from the Gallery Committee.

David Elden

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Excerpts from the RAPC Souvenir History
by Nix Wadden

Tracing its origins to the beginning of the Second World War, Ottawa’s RA Photo Club has a proud record of achievement in support of amateur photography in the national capital region. It was founded in 1939, two years before its parent body, the Ottawa Civil Service Recreation Association (the RA), came formally into being. It was known as the RA Camera Club for its first 43 years of existence, and some old-timers still tend to call it that. The RA Photo Club name was adopted in 1982-83, partly to reflect the fact that photography is not just about cameras. Membership was largely confined to federal government employees but is now open to anyone interested.

Early RA Camera Club members get a lesson in portrait photography

Early RA Camera Club members get a lesson in portrait photography

Early Years (1939-1974)

Doug White checks lighting, 1945

Doug White checks lighting, 1945

Founding members met in modest quarters above Bowles Lunch at 30 Rideau Street near Union Station. Focusing on black and white photography, the club began under the chairmanship of Doug White, who worked with the National Film Board, renowned for its prowess in the photographic arts. Darkroom facilities were established as members engaged in the production and exhibiting of black and white prints in local stores and theatres. Colour slides soon came into use at club functions.

Summer Girl photo by Lorne Grummisch 1945

Summer Girl by Lorne Grummisch, 1945

In what seems to have been its first story on the Camera Club, the RA News reported in June 1945 on a large display of photographic prints in the RA Handicrafts Exhibition held at Freiman`s department store: A pleasing variety of subjects characterized this exhibit. There was everything from a strutting turkey to an amusing ski spill, and portrait studies like Bachelor’s Bliss, a gentleman ironing, and Thumbs Up, a cheerful child. The prints were by Doug White, instructor, Earl Bergin and John Read, winners in recent Camera Club contests. A photo of a girl in a swimsuit appearing in the same edition, billed as RA’s Summer Girl, was by Lorne Grummisch.

The RA News gave the Camera Club tangible support by paying $5 for the winning print in monthly contests, plus $3 for the best caption. At a time when club membership cost $1 a year, these incentives were much appreciated.



In 1961, following re-location of the club to the RA Centre, Tubby Sutcliffe was elected as club president. Use of the term president seemed to be interchangeable with “chairman” during that period, which appears to have been one of significant expansion for the Camera Club. Membership doubled, interest in movies led to formation of a new movie section, consideration was given to establishing a junior camera club in the 10 to 14 age group, and budget approval was received for a new slide projector and a ceiling-mounted 70″ by 70″ screen.
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“I truly believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them.” Diane Arbus

ABBYAtrium Gallery
24 October – 26 November
Vernissage: 28 October, 6-8pm
Abigail Gossage
Memories of Mexico 1958

choix1_DSC0687sFoyer Gallery, Nepean Sportsplex
30 September – 19 October
Yves Jardon
Our Inspiration

KronickArt Gallery of Ottawa Annex 110 Laurier Ave W
Jamie Kronick
The Songwriter

ChantalKarsh-Masson Gallery 110 Laurier Ave W
12 September – 19 October
Chantal Gervais
Recipient of the 2014 Karsh Award

unarmedLa Petite Mort Gallery 306 Cumberland
October 10-17, 2014
Olivia Johnston
Vernissage Friday October 10 / 7 – 10pm

chosenLa Petite Mort Gallery 306 Cumberland
3 October-2 November
Matthew Stradling, Naruki Kukita, Jerome Galvin
The Rebel, the Recruit & the Chosen

partSPAO Red Wall Gallery 168 Dalhousie
27 September -14 October
11 artists led by Greg Zehna
Part Stradivarius Part Scalpel

marc LandryVistek Gallery 499 Bank St
15 September – 10 October
Marc Landry
13 October – 7 November
Eric Weiner
Photo Gallery

Shows continuing from previous months…
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