06 July 2015
SIG: Visual Art
The membership of the Visual Art Group continues to grow towards the
thousand mark. Members are spread throughout the Society’s regions as well
as abroad. The Group is often criticised for being London or South East based.
It is true many of the Group’s committee members are based in this area and
our meetings are mostly held in London but one growing strength over recent
years has been the South West Region Visual Art Group, set up some six years
ago for the primary benefit of members living in Devon and Cornwall. The
organisers here have regular meetings and events which are well supported.
One of these meetings two years ago was combined with the Autumn weekend
meeting of the whole Group when over 70 participants attended. This was a
Members in other regions are sometimes heard saying ‘nothing ever happens in
my area’. That is not wholly true as residential weekend meetings are held
twice a year all over the country, including Scotland this year for the first time.
Local members are invited to join in on a daily basis to hear our speakers and
meet visiting members. Regrettably few ever do.
How can this be addressed? We want to be seen doing things for all our
members. Thus, based on the success of the South West group our
committee Chairman, Jay Charnock FRPS, is very keen to set up other local
groups. Discussing this at one of our weekend meetings Andreas Klatt ARPS
took up the challenge and agreed to set up a similar group in his area of the
north Cotswolds. Well situated amid four RPS regions and four or five
counties, it offered the prospect of good support.
Saturday May 30th was the date chosen for an inaugural meeting which
Andreas arranged in the village hall of Long Compton in Warwickshire where
A programme was put together with some invited speakers as well as an
invitation for members attending to bring some of their own work. A sample of
the Group’s 2015 exhibition would also be on show. Members in the Thames
Valley and Central regions were notified directly, details were shown on the
Group’s website and the event was advertised locally. Some 40 participants,
including an encouraging number of non-members, responded from a wide area
around the venue and gathered on the appointed day.
After the opening welcome to the meeting, Linda Wevill FRPS was the first
speaker telling how the South West Region VAG was formed and then showing
some DPIs from a number of its members. Second came Ray Spence FRPS
who, with a keen interest in old processes, introduced us to Ambrotypes.
Going further back in time, Dr Barrie Dale, illustrated how photography
relates to the history of art, from the cave wall to the present day. Having gone
back 30,000 years into dark caves, it was interesting to realise photography
itself only really came out of the dark some 30 years ago with the arrival of the
After lunch, Ray Spence, a member of the Fellowship Board and Distinctions
Advisory Board, gave much advice on how to approach forming a panel for
submission on all three levels. L, A and F entries were discussed, based on
successful panels brought in by members.
All too soon it seemed it was half past four and time to bring the meeting to a
close but not before some discussion ensued on what the new Group should
be known as. It was agreed not to align it with a specific RPS Region or
County as it would be open to all members and non-members. Following a
survey of those attending it will now be known as the The Rollright Visual Art
Group. Why?, I hear you say. The name comes from a nearby site of standing
stones relating to folklores of witchcraft and dark art in this area near Long
Compton – precursors of photography to be sure!
Andreas, Jay and I considered the day a great success and worthy of being built
upon with further meetings. Referring again to the survey three or four
meetings a year seemed popular so, a second meeting has been arranged for
Saturday 22nd August at the same venue. Full details will be found on the
Group’s website and all attendees at the first meeting will be individually
informed. A programme is being produced.
Finally I must thank all those concerned with promoting and running the day;
Andreas, Jay and Robert Charnock for bringing the two dozen exhibition
prints with a suitable easel (kindly made available by the Richmond &
Twickenham Photographic Society), our speakers for the day and especially
Sue Klatt who masterminded the catering.
The Rollright VAG is wished every success. It is open to all RPS members and
others living in this part of the country.
David J. Wood, ARPS
Visual Art Group
Image by David J. Wood, ARPS