EPS Wednesday Meetings - Overview


Survey Section

In the early part of the decade the EPS Survey Section was active, recording the landscape of Edinburgh.  Unfortunately, these activities were curtailed with the outbreak of the War in 1914 and brought to a standstill in 1916-17:

in view of the conditions which still prevail in regard to the carrying of cameras and the restriction of photography within the city

The War Years


A note in Transactions of Edinburgh Photographic Society, October 1917, gives an indication of some of the restrictions of the time, based on advice from the Competent Military Authority:

“No person shall without permission make any photograph of any person or thing within the Parishes of Bo'ness and Carriden, Abercorn and Dalmeny, in the county of Linlithgow; the Parish of Cramond in the county of Midlothian; those portions in the Parishes of Torryburn, Dunfermline, Inverkeithing, Dalgety and Aberdour, which lie to the south of the Railway Lines Torryburn-Dunfermline and Dunfermline-Burntisland."

No permit is required for the City of Edinburgh or the County of Midlothian with the exception stated. ..."

Instructions were given on how to apply for a permit to take photographs in any of the above areas, but the note added: "Permits will only be granted for good and sufficient reason."

Transactions of EPS:  October 1917, p.5

The War Years


Two months later, Transactions of EPS reported that the Competent Military Authority had granted improved facilities for photography on the shores of the Firth of Forth, these improved terms being:

“No person shall without permission make any photograph of any person or thing within one mile of high-water mark from Kincardine Ferry to Fifeness on the north shore;  and within one mile of high water mark from Kincardine Ferry to the eastern boundary of the parish of Tranent.  e.g half-way between Port Seton and Aberlady on the South shore;  except as regards the Burgh of Leith which includes all places within 400 yards of high-water mark or the Dock Boundaries.

No permit is required for the City of Edinburgh or the County of Midlothian with the exception stated. ..."

Transactions of EPS:  October 1917, p.5

The War Years


The following year, in his President's Opening Address to EPS, Patrick Turner Mackintosh referred to some of the difficulties photographers were facing and might face as a result of the War.

Transactions of EPS  Nov 1918, pp.3-7.

EPS Meetings during the War Years

The EPS Council, ensured that meetings continued throughout the 1914-18 War.  They said:

“It is essential for all in these strenuous times to divert their attention occasionally from the great military and naval struggle now being waged”


However, interest in Edinburgh is apparent from the titles of Lectures such as:

The Beauty of Edinburgh - a Critical Survey

Old Lantern Slides of Old Edinburgh.

The Highlands of Scotland and the Scottish Borders also featured in lectures.


Several speakers gave lectures on Art, Painting and Photography.  Their lectures included:

Photography as a means of Artistic Expression.

That Photography achieves its greatest Success in Portraiture.  [debate]

Nature Photography

Nature Photography had become a more popular - mainly Ornithology: Lecture titles included:

-   Birds - Scotch and Dutch

The Strategy and Tactics of Wild Bird Photography

Looking back and forward

I’ve not yet discovered what was said by Hugh Pillans, in 1911, in his lecture:

-   The Edinburgh Photographic Society Forty Years Ago

However, in PT McIntosh’s Presidential Address of 1918:

-  The Future of Photography

he said:  

"In 1861 when the Society was founded, the country was recovering from the effects of the Crimean War and the Indian Mutiny. …To-day, we are in the midst of an even greater war than our ancestors ever dreamed of.  The end is not yet, but blue sky is becoming wider and clearer."

He then looked to the future:

"There are some who would tell you that the day of Photographic Societies is done; that while in the early days they may have fulfilled a useful function, they are no longer required in these days of mechanical perfection."

But P T Mackintosh did not agree: 

“Away with such pestilent fellows off the earth!  …. We can enable [members] … to broaden their artistic perception and so attain a higher plane of life."

Equipment and processing

During the 1910s, EPS meetings discussed cinematography, X-ray photography, micro-photography and stereo-photography, and hand cameras.

As well as a number of lectures on colour photography, processes covered included:

-   The Newest Printing Methods - Bromoil

-   Gaslight Papers and their Possibilities

-   Developing of Autochromes

-   Platinum Printing



EPS Wednesday Meetings - Index