James Patrick's Lecture to EPS
In 1897, James Patrick was elected President of EPS. The society then
had a membership of 401, it was possibly the largest photographic society in
his Presidential Address, he spoke of those who had taken up photography who
would previously never have dreamt of it:
“men of artistic instinct and a love for the beautiful and grand in
nature who now find in photography a means of expressing their thoughts and
It is to
men, such as these, to a very great extent, that we are indebted for the raising
of photography as a fine art. They are not working from a commercial
standpoint ... their chief aim being to produce pictures."
Patrick went on to recommend the use of a substantial tripod, rather than
hand cameras, slow shutter speeds for landscape work, and the
disappointments that could sometimes occur when attempts were made to
capture the effects of sunlight in monochrome. He said:
“Now there are certain seasons in the year in which photography can meet
nature on an equal footing as far as colour, or rather want of it, goes.
when nature is arrayed in black and white is, in my opinion, the season of the
year when the landscape photographer can come nearest to the truth.
therefore urge the members of this Society not to lay their cameras on the shelf
during the winter months, but to be up and doing and they shall be rewarded."
to competition facing the landscape photographer:
“You can now purchase twenty-four views of Edinburgh, 'made in Germany'
for a few pence.
Trashy though these productions are, they threaten to reduce the landscape
photographer to despair."