The start of something big
by Kendal McDonald
Reproduced from the Evening News. Weds. December
6th, 1967 and in focus 34
I have just seen a society formed. Not a very
impressive statement? Well, just how many societies have you seen
formed - actually been there when the rules were drawn up, the
subscription decided, and the very first chairman elected.
Can you stand outside some magnificant building in
the heart of London and say proudly 'Yes, attended the very first
meeting y'know. Course we never thought that from that humble
beginning would come all this...'?
Well I can't actually do that yet either, but I can
see it all coming in the future - the great sweeping marble staircase
up to the main salon ... the busts of past presidents lining the
alcoves on either side ... the queue of young hopefuls submitting
their work in desparate attempts to gain admission to the ranks of
Of course, one or two of us had this future state
of things well in mind when we voted for the title of the new
society. The British Society of Underwater Photographers. Sounds just
right for such an august body_.
Actually, our first meeting was in a nice house in
North London and there is no sign of the Corinthian building that
will be our final home. But it will come. Mind you, we're not a
pompous lot. We noted with glee for example that our initials spelt B
SOUP. Well, that's all right. Not only does it accurately describe
the conditions that we and our cameras often meet beneath the surface
of the seas around our coasts but a nickname is usually a good clue
Basically the idea of the society is to get all
those who are interested in photography underwater together and give
them a central clearing house for their ideas. And there are more of
these diving-photographers than you would think. Some 20 of us
gathered in North London and some of those present had driven from
Brighton. Most had won prizes for their photographs taken underwater.
Together they present an array of experience and skill that it would
be hard to beat.
They plan to put this combined knowledge at the
disposal of anyone who wishes to join. For example: Anyone who wants
to know about techniques of photographing the giant basking sharks
that enter our seas should speak to Colin Doeg, our first chairman.
He's done it. Anyone who wants to know how to take super close-ups of
a starfish should talk to Geoff Harwood, who was elected 'Underwater
Photographer of the Year' at the Brighton conference of the British
Sub-Aqua Club last year.
Anyone who wants to know about equipment, such as a
housing to waterproof your own pet camera, should talk to another
committee member, Tim Glover. Anyone who wants to know about colour
printing of those fabulous underwater scenes should speak to the new
secretary Peter Scoones. Ask him, too, about photographing the
poisonous lion fish in the Red Sea and he'll tell you. The experience
of all those experts is not confined to British waters. They own,
without doubt, the finest collection of underwater photographs shot
in this country's seas. But their collection probably has just as
many showing the marine life of other countries in the world.