Camera Club of the Philippines

Profiles

The Camera Club of the Philippines is an association of photography enthusiasts who come from varying backgrounds, ages, levels and walks of life—businessmen, professionals, executives, employees; young, middle-aged, retired—kept together by the bonds of friendship and a love for photography.

The club is unique in that it is the oldest continuing photographic society in the country and most probably in Asia. Founded in 1928, it has preserved an unbroken organized existence for 75 years until today, except for a brief period during the disruption of World War II and the Japanese occupation.  

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Photo excursions, photo sessions, competitions and fellowship activities—these were the main elements characterizing club activities from the very beginning. In the last three decades, the club has added more external and outgoing activities like exhibits, publications and seminars.

During its early years, a photo excursion was held at least once a month. The club continues this tradition today with what it calls the “on-the-spot” competition. These excursions which are held at least four times a year can be as near as Chinatown in Manila or as far as Batanes. They could be as limited as “the color red in Makati Commercial Center using one fixed lens and one camera body” or as broad as an “open” competition in the Ilocos region from Vigan to Laoag.

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Social and fellowship activities were also an important activity of the club. Portrait sittings with their female friends were sometimes featured in these get-togethers. The most prominent social affair came to be the anniversary dinner held on or near August 19th every year. The first was held in the storied Fiesta Pavilion of the Manila Hotel in 1929.

From the founding of the club, members talked of awarding prizes for the various competitions they held. But it was not until 1936 that the club finally adopted a set of rules to govern its annual competition at which the best photographer of the year was awarded the club’s highest honor in the form of a Plaque. Performance was gauged by how the member fared in the various monthly competitions during the year, measured by total scores accumulated by his entries.

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This pattern basically continues today. The club meets every first Monday of the month and, aside from camaraderie, competition is one of the most prominent features of these meetings. And the most coveted award is the “Master Photographer of the Year” title given for the highest accumulated points earned over a year.

Today, exhibits, publications, occasional lectures and workshops on photography are among the activities undertaken by the club. It is also beginning to look forward to its 80th anniversary in August 2008, and it plans to mount a major exhibit in the Ayala Museum in August 2007 to kick off its 80th year.

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Every year, the officers of the club exert some effort and thought to “reach out” and make some small contribution to society beyond the enjoyment the members find in the camaraderie and regular activities of the club. But basically, it is friendship and a common love for photography that has kept the club going, and going for almost eight decades.

The incumbent officers of the Club are: President Elbert M. Zosa, Vice President Roberto M. Paterno, Treasurer Francisco Balagtas, Secretary Alfredo A. Gloria, Jr., Brian F. Hosaka, Raul Montifar, Federico M. Ortiz, Leo Riingen, Raul Tangco, and Rodolfo M. de Leon.

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