International Salons

The Birkenhead Photographic Association (BPA) organized its first International Exhibition in 1900, in which there were eight classes for prints. These included portraiture, architecture and landscape, as one would expect, as well as micrography. Work taken with a handheld camera had a class of its own.

The BPA International Exhibition continued in the same format until 1914 and gradually attracted more entries from overseas. After a break during the First World War, the Exhibition resumed in the early 1920’s. The International Exhibition was suspended during the Second World War and resumed in 1947, when 213 prints were shown, including 88 from a dozen foreign countries. Within two years the total number of prints displayed in the exhibition had increased to 250 of which 150 came from 17 foreign countries.

The Salon continues to attract support from enthusiastic photographers in a surprisingly large number of countries, including some blighted by wars. It is very encouraging, not to say moving, to find people pursuing their artistic endeavours in the face of adversity. A typical year will now include entries from between 45 and 50 countries.

Every International Salon requires a dedicated team of enthusiastic helpers to keep the incoming work processed, judged, exhibited and returned safely. Birkenhead has been blessed by just such a team but the efforts of Desmond Cooper APAGB ARPS, the Salon Chairman are worthy of special mention. Every cause needs a champion; somebody prepared to ringmaster the whole show and act as a backstop to cover the inevitable emergencies that arise during the protracted organizing of such an undertaking. Desmond, supported by his wife Winnie, has fulfilled that role for more years than he (or anybody else!) is prepared to reveal! All our entrants are indebted to him.

(This is a précis of an article by Mike McNamee FRPS, Secretary to Birkenhead International Colour Salon, that first appeared in the catalogue for the 2000 Salon, which was published in February 2000)

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