The Berkshire Museum Camera Club is an organization where people interested in picture taking and in the improvement of their knowledge and techniques of photography can meet other photographers. Education and competition are the Club's primary aims.
In 1937, because of the widespread and keen participation in a 14-week Snapshot Contest sponsored by The Berkshire Eagle, The Berkshire Museum announced that it would sponsor a camera club, and included among the first members was Bartlett Hendricks, a Berkshire Museum curator. The first meeting of the Berkshire Museum Camera Club was held on September 23, 1937, attended by 46 photo-enthusiasts. At the second meeting almost double that number (70) came - with their cameras. These cameras ranged in price from $0.89 to $300, and 46 were "miniatures" (35 mm). Only six members were active in color photography at that time, but there was a majority interested in having lectures to find out more about it. For many years, the Club was closely allied with the Berkshire Museum. Winning prints by members were often displayed at the Museum. In 1992, The Berkshire Museum, The Berkshire Eagle and BMCC co-sponsored a Black & White Print Competition honoring the late Eagle photographer William Tague, and the winners' prints were shown at Museum. Although The Berkshire Museum no longer "sponsors" the Club, most Club meetings are still held in the Museum. In 1996, the annual Warren Fowler Memorial Award was established to honor the late Warren Fowler, a professional photojournalist and longtime friend of BMCC. In 1999, the annual Paul Pharmer Memorial Award was established. Paul Pharmer, BMCC President 1995-1997, was a retired schoolteacher and principal with a special love of children. The Club is an active participant in the Berkshire community, in recent years undertaking special projects for the Pittsfield Beautiful Committee and the Berkshire Historical Society. BMCC members have volunteered as photographers for the Massachusetts Winter Special Olympics.
The Club season generally begins in September and ends in May. Each season's schedule of programs is a blend of competitions, entertainment, social events, and instructional programs. Most meetings are held on the first and third Tuesdays of the month in the Berkshire Museum, 39 South Street, Pittsfield. Workshops, field trips, and dinners offer members the opportunity to become better acquainted as well as serving as learning experiences. Locations for these events vary and are announced as they are planned.
Competitions in prints and digital images are scheduled to give members an opportunity to show their work and test their photographic skills. There are usually seven regular print and digital competitions each season. Some are general, while others have assigned themes. The terms digital image and digital competition refer to images that are digitally projected as opposed to printed. Color & b&w prints may be made using a digital camera but for the purposes of our competitions are not considered digital images.
First, second and third ribbons, a total of three or four ribbons, are awarded in the b&w print competitions. For the color print and digital competitions first, second and third ribbons are awarded in two classes, Regular and Advanced with a total of three or four ribbons awarded in each class.
At season's end there are "Color Print of the Year,” “B&W Print of the Year,” and "Digital Image of the Year" competitions for the best prints and digital images for photos that had been entered into the club’s competitions during the current club year. There is only one (1) winning entry in each category; all the other high scoring entries, up to 4 or 5, are “Honorable Mentions”. The annual memorial awards, the Warren Fowler Award, for Best Nature Print, and the Paul Pharmer Award, for the Best Print of a Child or Children, are also chosen from prints submitted. Pharmer and Fowler prints DO NOT need to have been entered in a regular competition during the year.
Each member may submit a maximum of three (3) images to each of these five competitions.
Please see the Competition Rules for more details on the competitions and what may or may not be submitted, as well as the specifications and deadlines for the submissions.
The management of the Berkshire Museum Camera Club is entrusted to the Executive Council, which consists of the Club President, the Vice President, a Secretary, a Treasurer, four Councilors and the most recent Past President.
The Executive Council is assisted by the following; Program Committee, Publicity Committee, Judges Committee, Print Committee, Digital Committee, and NECCC Representatives. The Club officers and committee chairs are guided by the BMCC "Constitution & By-laws", a copy of which is retained by each incumbent for reference. Any member may obtain a copy of the "Constitution & By-laws" by requesting one from the President.
Duties of the Officers and Committees
The President presides at Club and Executive Council meetings, supervises and keeps in close contact with all Club activities, implements the program for the year and appoints chairs.
The Vice President serves as President in his or her absence, serves on the Executive Council, is chair of the Nominating Committee, and helps the Program Chair plan the next year's program.
The Secretary serves on the Executive Council, keeps minutes of Executive Council meetings and distributes copies to Council members.
The Treasurer collects dues and donations, keeps records of and manages the Club's money, distributes membership cards, and serves on the Executive Council.
The Executive Council, which consists of the four elected Officers, the Past President and four elected Councilors, advises the President, approves the Club program and budget. It meets at the discretion of the President.
The Program Chairs, along with the Vice President and Treasurer, plan, schedule and make definite arrangements for the complete program for the following year, with the approval of the Executive Council. The Program Chair also obtains complete information (including biographical data and photographs where appropriate) for all programs for use by the Publicity Committee.
The Publicity Chair arranges for publicity including posters and press releases to newspapers, radio, and TV of Club activities. These include advance notice of meetings, biographical data and photo if possible of guest speakers, competition results, election results, and honors received by the Club or individual members. The Publicity Chair also maintains a file of all publicity releases.
Print & Digital Chairs log in entries for competitions, keep scores and records of competitions, make out ribbons for winners, find judges for end of year competitions and send prints and digital images to the judges. The NECCC Representatives for digital images collect digital images from members as the Club's entries into NECCC Interclub Competitions, and keep the President and Program Committee informed about other NECCC programs and activities.
New England Camera Club Council (NECCC)
The New England Camera Club Council (NECCC) was founded in 1937, the same year as the Berkshire Museum Camera Club as a way for New England camera clubs to join together in exchanging ideas, speakers and programs. NECCC has approximately 80 member clubs in the six New England states. As a member of NECCC, BMCC can share information and programs with other clubs in New England, including Interclub Competitions, which are held three times each year. Digital images from BMCC members represent the Club in these competitions, where clubs compete against each other. BMCC competes in these categories: Pictorial Digital Images, Nature Digital Images and Monochrome Digital Images. The NECCC Bulletin is published three times each year, containing news from member clubs, sharing ideas and interesting tips for better photography. NECCC also makes available a number of other programs to its members, such as Best of NECCC Print shows, Slide and Print Circuits, and instructional Recorded Lectures.
The annual NECCC Conference, a 3-day weekend conference held at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst each July, is the highlight of the year. Attended by more than 1,000 people from around the Northeast and beyond, it features many slide and digital presentations. lecture programs, how-to sessions, Showcase Theater presentations. model shooting, Photo Hi-jinx, a photographic trade show, as well as competitions in prints, slides and digital images which are open to all attendees.
Photographic Society of America (PSA) Some BMCC members belong to the Photographic Society of America (PSA), a nonprofit, educational international organization. established to encourage the development of the art and science of photography and the public appreciation of photographic skills. PSA provides a variety of services to its members (individuals and clubs) including slide and print study groups, recorded programs and a monthly publication, the PSA Journal, which also lists details of international photographic exhibitions or "salons". Members who have been successful in having their slides and prints accepted in these international salons may earn one or more "Star" ratings.
For More Information
Look at our Constitution and By-Laws for more information about the organization of the club.