Godalming Photographic Club was formed in March 1980 when a group of friends got together, produced a draft constitution and called a public meeting in the Borough Hall. They explained their hopes and intentions and by the end of the evening 30 people had joined.
Meetings were held once a month, but this was soon increased to three a month. This later changed to become a weekly event.
The new club joined the Surrey Photographic Federation (later to become the Surrey Photographic Association), and entered its inter-club competitions.
Competitions were seen as a way to increase skills and several trophies were soon provided as awards for the best work. The premier trophy for the series of internal print competitions is the Founders’ Plate, paid for by the founding group. Each year there is at least one exhibition at which members’ work is on show to the public, and while these are not primarily competitive, a trophy for the best print at the exhibition was donated by the Woolwich Building Society.
One major club project was an audio-visual slide show of the local history of Godalming over the years since the invention of photography. The show has now been digitised and continues to be presented at local clubs.
Since its foundation, the club has more than held its own among its peers in the Surrey Photographic Association (SPA) and has won both Open and Nature sections of the annual inter-club competition. The club has also represented the SPA at national inter-club championships organised by The Photographic Alliance of Great Britain (PAGB).
With a subscription income, the club continues to have outside speakers and judges for its competitions. Practical workshops, technical sessions and discussion of many different aspects of photography are featured whilst other club events include photographic trips, a Christmas dinner and a summer party.
Photography has changed dramatically since the club was founded. Its thriving membership has firmly embraced these transitions and Godalming Photo Club continues to go from strength-to-strength.