Logo copyright Derek Ridgers 1979
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began in a photographic club - or perhaps more accurately in the pub next door to it. I was an innocent newcomer, expecting the members to have a interest in what was happening in photography in the outside world, but found instead a preoccupation with slide battles, club contests and technical trivia. Soon I found there were a few of us in the several hundred who had heard of people like Robert Frank or Walker Evans and we began to share our interests.

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As a large club, it had a number of smaller 'Special Interest' groups open to all members - such as a studio group, colour group etc. One of these was the mysteriously named Group 6. Suggestions as to the origin of its name were that it met in Room 6 in the community centre, that six was the average attendance at its meetings, or that when it was founded there were already five groups. I think this last was probably the correct, together with the political problem inherent in that our special interest was photography, and it could hardly have been called the Photography group. Here we brought our own work to discuss what we were currently involved in - generally contacts and proofs rather than finished work. Also we brought books by photographers who interested us, or magazine portfolios - especially those from Creative Camera - and occasionally listened to invited professionals showing their work, a pattern that was to be continued for the next 15 or so years. Something that was less of a feature in later years was a series of monthly photographic outings, led by different members of the group who tried to give through these a practical insight into their thinking and methods, though these were largely limited to those whose work was in some way with the landscape. Several of these over the years formed a not entirely accurate basis for articles by in the Amateur Photographer. During the first few years when we were developing our ideas together we regularly entered our work into club events - monthly competitions and annual exhibitions and also gave occasional presentations to the club. In general these met with a very mixed reception, largely ranging from derision to contempt, though there were a few of the more senior and distinguished club members who encouraged us. Some of the more eminent visitors to the club also commented favourably - and one or two were given a very cold reception for so doing.

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