Club History

- a brief history by Graeme Crabb

When I arrived in Perth in the fall of 1996, I discovered there was no camera club in the area. The closest clubs at the time were in Ottawa, Kingston and Brockville. Not wanting to drive those distances, I decided to take on the challenge of establishing a brand new club to serve the Perth region.

As a newcomer to the community, I didn’t know anybody, so it was time to make contacts. I visited Pictures Perth and met Hugh Henderson, the owner at the time. He was enthusiastic about the idea and gave me the name of a fellow he thought might be interested and also put up a poster with my name as contact.

Next I placed an ad in the EMC for two weeks and waited for calls to come in. There were only four or five replies, but I set up a meeting at our home and invited all to attend. This was now the late fall of 1996. Five people showed up – Howard Owen, Gary Webster, Keith Allen, Bruce Young, Camille (? last name) and myself.

It was a start. Camille was not interested, but the others were. Note that this was still in the film era as digital had not yet gone mainstream. The six of us decided to hold the first official meeting at Howard Owen’s home in January 1997, and he would do a presentation on his professional work. We put up more posters, placed ads in the local papers and were rewarded by sixteen people showing up. The Lanark County Camera Club was born! An executive was elected with me as the first president and we made arrangements to rent space at St. Paul’s United Church in Perth for the monthly meetings.

From that time on, the club grew and thrived. We had guest speakers, workshops with well-known photographers, outings and special interest groups. The meeting location changed eventually to the Baptist Church, then to Algonquin College, where we have much more space.

After three years as president, I passed the mantle to Michelle Steward in 2000. The year 2003 was a rough one for the club as membership declined somewhat and there was a certain amount of tension between film and digital photographers. The new digital age was viewed by some as a passing fad and not suitable for “real” photographers. Derek Parkinson, who was president in 2003, suggested that the club be disbanded. Luckily, Ralph Buttrum took over as president and the crisis passed.

As digital photography caught the imagination of club members, a special interest group met at my home once a month where we explored this exciting new medium. When the group got too large, we moved it to Geoff Hallett’s basement, where we continued until Geoff moved away. That group now exists as Digital Directions and meets at McMartin House in Perth. A need grew for a more basic digital group and Applied Photography was formed to fill this need, meeting at Drummond Centre. The remaining Tuesday of each month is the newest regular sub-group, called Critiquing and also meets at Drummond Centre. Club members have stepped up to lead special groups which run for a few weeks here and there.

The Lanark County Camera Club today is very much alive and well, with a large membership and welcomes photographers of all levels to any and all of our meetings.


Graeme Crabb – 1996-2000
Michelle Steward – 2000-2003
Derek Parkinson – 2003
Howard Owen – 2003
Ralph Buttrum – 2003-2006
Linda Mentzel – 2006-2009
Chris Crain – 2009-2012
Rene Jones – 2012-2015
Bob FeDuke – 2015 - 2018
Gerd Moritz – 2018 - 2019
Gary Wignall – 2019 - 2021
Rene Jones – 2021 to present

Membership Statistics

Season          # of Members
2001-2002     21
2002-2003     25
2003-2004     33
2004-2005     25
2005-2006     34
2006-2007     34
2007-2008     54
2008-2009     69
2009-2010     82
2010-2011     71
2011-2012     69
2012-2013     63
2013-2014     65
2014-2015     72
2015-2016     61
2016-2017     71
2017-2018     72
2018-2019     67
2019-2020     54
2020-2021     47
2021-2022     27

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