Midlothian Camera Club, formerly known as Esk Valley Camera Club, grew out of a non-vocational class at Esk Valley College in 1971. Locals, Archie Lockhart and Jim Dickson were part of that class and were amongst those who organised a public meeting in Bonnyrigg to discuss setting up a club. About 30 people attended and Esk Valley Camera Club was formed. The annual subscription was set at £2.
The search for premises began and Bonnyrigg Town Council was approached. The Town Clerk, Eric Thompson, gave a great deal of help in finding somewhere suitable. A semi-derelict property was found and 7 Polton Road (the computer room/kitchen, darkroom and toilet) was purchased by the club members. Club meetings took place throughout the extensive renovation which were carried out, in the main, by the membership under the guidance of Archie who was a Clerk of Works. Around one year later, the property next door (the Studio/Meeting Room) became available and this was purchased from Mr. Main of Lasswade. This gave the Club an opportunity to have a separate studio/meeting room and darkroom. Another extensive renovation started again! Over the years numerous internal changes have taken place to make better use of the space.
Back in 1998 and after 26 years we changed our name. The original Club name “Esk Valley” was selected way back in 1972 as it was thought that the new District to be set up under the Local Government Reorganisation of 1975 was to be called “Esk Valley District Council”. This in fact did not happen and the council was called “Midlothian” so, after all that time, we also changed.
Over the years the photography has changed beyond all recognition with the advent of digital imaging. Today, people are taking more images in a few minutes than they did in a whole year and, as a Club, we are trying to keep pace. Facilities within the Club have improved greatly and we now have a well-equipped studio with both tungsten and flash lighting, computers with up to date photographic software as well as other equipment for mounting, copying, digital imaging and Audio Visual presentations. For the more “traditional” photographer we retain a large darkroom with colour and black and white enlargers.
The use of the Club facilities are available for the members to use at any time.
Now with the club in its 53rd year, the aims of the Club are still the same. We try to encourage the practice of still photography in all its branches and to help others in their knowledge and practical applications. In order to achieve this aim the syllabus for the year covers a wide and varied selection of photographic topics covering such things as Still Life, Landscape and Natural History. The Club also holds two model nights per season. We also have a number of “competitions” throughout the Season when you can submit your photographs to be assessed by an experienced Scottish Photographic Federation judge. Additional tuition can be arranged for beginners. The Club can arrange a “Buddy” system to those who require additional help
Midlothian Camera Club is always keen to add to its membership and encourage anyone interested in photography to come along on any Tuesday evening at 7.30pm. (We still meet at 7 Polton Road, Lasswade.)
We look forward to seeing you along at anytime. The Club season runs between September and April and you will be made most welcome.