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Coventry Photographic Society in the Coronavirus Pandemic, 2020 and 2021
Terry Price (Sept 2021)

Since its inception, the society never closed down, not even in two world wars -- that was, until March 2020, when the world was hit by the COVID 19 pandemic. So serious was the situation that the government of the day imposed a complete lockdown on the country, and for the society that meant no face-to-face meetings. With the wonders of modern technology we continued to hold meetings online, with lectures and judges, using videoconferencing software. From the comfort of our home surroundings we could see and talk to people in any part of the world. Via the internet, we can also tell the world just what the society is doing. I wonder what our founders would have made of it. I have no doubt that they would have embraced it.

For the first time in the history of the society two other events were held online: the AGM and the election of the society’s new president, Marjorie Bivins.

Coventry was named UK City of Culture for 2021 (the start was postponed from January to May because of the COVID-19 pandemic). To celebrate the event, Coventry Photographic Society held an exhibition of members’ work at the Albany Theatre. The responses of those going to see the theatre’s productions and of the general public made it all worthwhile. This was the society’s first exhibition for a long time. It is hoped to hold another exhibition in the not too far distant future.


In these uncertain times the society also held outdoor meetings, including visits to villages in the Cotswolds and to a National Trust estate in Buckinghamshire.

Because of the pandemic and other factors, the society’s numbers have been reduced. In fact the records show that the membership is currently the same as it was in 1883. More than a hundred years later, we are still going strong.

After a lot of research we find that we are the second oldest photographic society in the UK. (The oldest, based in the north of the UK, was founded in 1853.)

When the society was founded, plate cameras were in use. After this came the development of roll film and colour film. Now we have digital cameras, smartphones, and drones that take pictures from the air.

September 6, 2021, saw the first face-to-face meeting since the first COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020. Members have a full and diverse programme to look forward to. As to the future, in this changing digital society, who knows?

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