Looking Forward To Summer was foremost in the mind of Steve Newman when he took this photo in 2002.
The Photography Club of Long Island (PCLI) will mark its 30th anniversary with a special celebration in the Port Washington Public Library's Lapham Meeting Room (auditorium) at 7:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 19. The evening's presentation will include 21 programs, enhanced by topical music, of photos taken by 20 members over the past three decades, ranging from 20th Century darkrooms and Kodak Carousel technology to 21st Century electronics, using slide scanning and digital laptop computers, blended together by the technical expertise of Ed Lewit and Stan Spielman.
On a cold Jan. 30 evening in 1975, about 60 people with the common interest of photography, gathered to hold the first meeting of what was then called the Port Washington Camera Club. In the early 1980's the name evolved to the one it has had ever since.
Three of the original members are still actively involved: Martin Vogel, one of the founders and now vice president; Sylvia Meyers, longtime treasurer and Richard Halpern. Over the years membership has ranged from a high of 75 to a low in the 30's. While many of the currently nearly 50 members live in Port Washington, others reside throughout Queens and Nassau County, from Syosset to the east, Lynbrook to the south, Rego Park to the west, and Glen Cove to the north. Widely traveled throughout the US and abroad, many have considerable and diverse experience covering nearly all phases of photography and have been rewarded by having their efforts recognized in photo contests and published in magazines and newspapers.
A recent membership survey revealed the following: Most favor 35mm SLR cameras, followed by medium format, with an ever increasing number entering the digital world; 12 different camera brands are used with Nikon, the predominant favorite, followed by Canon and Minolta. Most take both slides and prints and use commercial photo labs, while some use computers and a few still have their own darkrooms. The most popular subjects are travel and nature, creative/artistic, photo journalism, portraiture, architecture, family, still life, sports, glamour and abstracts. Over half the members use e-mail.
For a brief period in the early 1980's the club held meetings in the Roslyn Junior High School and the Nassau County Museum, before settling in the Community Chest Building (Harold E. Mertz Community Center) at 382 Main Street and at the Port Washington Public Library.
In the early years four meetings were held monthly, while now it is two or three each month - always on Wednesdays - two at the Community Chest Building and the other at the library for 10 months of the year from September through June.
Although field trips have not been conducted in recent years, since its beginning the PCLI has engaged well-known professional photographers each month as guest lecturers for Speakers Nights to discuss in detail and demonstrate their particular areas of photographic expertise and techniques. For many years Lee Rubin served as program chairman, selecting and arranging the programs, until his untimely passing in 2001. Joan Hollander is now fulfilling that task. These sessions are always held at the library.
Another regular feature is the monthly Critique Night when experienced outside photography judges are selected and brought in by Ruth Harris to rate prints and slides submitted by members on composition, exposure and technique. In addition, a special 'challenge topic' is assigned each of these nights, with members invited to submit a print or slide on the designated topic to be critiqued on the same criteria. Although critiquing is non-competitive, judging is on a scale of "pass," 7, 8 or 9.
Members' Nights are held on months when there are three meetings (all except November, December and June), providing members with the opportunity to show slides or prints for up to 10 minutes, on any subject, and tell about them. Two popular Members' Nights are the first meeting of each season in September, with the theme, "What I Did During the Summer," when each member can show excerpts of their photographic efforts over the prior several months, and "Calendar Night" in January.
Critique Night and Members' Night sessions are held at the Community Chest Building.
For over 20 years the PCLI has held a multimedia photographic presentation at the library in May that has always drawn a large audience and been well received. The show featured slide programs by many members, artfully produced and enhanced with appropriate music by longtime member Irwin Silverstein, which he did for many years, along with Lee Rubin. "Musical Images - 2005" is planned for May 11 at 8 p.m. and at noon on May 20.
Another public presentation is a two-month-long print exhibit, featuring both black and white and color-mounted prints, that hang in the library's photo gallery on the lower level during May and June.
The PCLI has an informative monthly newsletter, edited by John Cline and a website that he created, http://pcli.tripod.com.
A new feature was introduced last year offering periodic tutorial/mentoring sessions on the basics of digital and regular photography for interested members and will be continued as requested.
Over the past three decades the club has had only seven presidents: Martin Vogel, 1975-1977; John Bruno, 1977-1979; Craig Jennings, 1980-1982; Sam Hollander, 1982-1984; Jules Braun, 1984-1986; Mildred Reilly, 1986-2004 (June); and currently Steve Newman, 2004 (September).
Membership is open to all who enjoy photography, even those who don't take pictures. Persons who may be interested are invited to attend a meeting to observe and speak with members and club officers.