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A Magazine for Sheffield

Sheffield Photographic Society & the Covid Lockdown

Sheffield Photographic Society's determination not to concede defeat in the face of lockdown has been reflected in its efforts to keep its membership involved and entertained.

Star gazing gareth morgan
Star Gazing by Gareth Morgan

It was 16 March when the society’s 97 members received the President’s email informing them that the Society was going into lockdown, following Government directives on the Covid-19 pandemic. The final 8 weeks of meetings were cancelled plus sadly the society’s Annual Exhibition due to commence just 4 days later. In addition, the entire summer programme of visits was also cancelled.

Anxious to keep the society functioning during those early frightening days, the Council examined the Zoom Video Conferencing system, and an initial series of three Zoom meetings was organised from 14 April. These meetings, by a guest speaker and two members, were very successful with up to 60 members logging on to each meeting.

Thus, the weekly programme was extended through the summer, ending with the society’s first ever AGM via Zoom on 28 July.

This was made possible thanks to a donation from member Manju Sarkar (Ray) in memory of her late husband Dr Pradip Kumar Sarkar. Thanks to Manju’s generosity the society maintained its high standard of meetings with members enjoying many quality guest speakers from all parts of the UK.

The disappointment of not being able to display our Annual Exhibition to the public was alleviated somewhat by an arrangement made with the Sheffield Telegraph. Commencing 26 March, the newspaper featured a double-page spread of 10 exhibition images in the Thursday publication, for 16 consecutive weeks. Some 85% of the exhibition images were displayed.

Throughout this period our retiring President, Gareth Morgan, worked very hard to keep the membership active and entertained. He maintained his weekly news email throughout, often including details of non-society photographic opportunities which were available.

He organised regular online photographic quizzes, as well as utilising the Society’s Online Forum to hold a weekly competition based on the Olympic Games, titled the “Olympic Torch Relay Challenge”. To start the relay the President chose a theme for members to submit digital images. At the end of the week he chose a winning image, and its author chose a theme for the following week and so on. The challenge ran for 13 weeks and the last week coincided with when the Olympic torch would have arrived in Tokyo.

The two images displayed in this article are from that final week which had a theme of “A Composite Image”, made up of two or more individual images.

A major problem the society had to face up to was the 2020 / 2021 season which was due to commence in September 2020 and go through to April 2021, with a programme that had been organised well in advance. However, due to the uncertainty that still prevails with Covid-19, it has been decided to run the weekly programme up to December 2020 as Zoom meetings, whilst keeping the second half under review. A decision as to when we can put on the Annual Exhibition is also in abeyance.

Best friends on tour trevor unwin
Best Friends on Tour by Trevor Unwin

The Society’s new season of weekly Zoom meetings will commence in early September 2020, while the ongoing Covid-19 situation prevents us staging meetings in our venue at St Peter’s Church, Greenhill.

Visitors are welcome to join us at any of these meetings.

For a copy of the programme, plus details on how to join our Zoom meetings contact John on

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