Friends of Photography Group 2015-2021

Friends of Photography Group 2015-2021

After six years the Friends of Photography Group has ceased.

The Friends of Photography Group was never something that was planned. It started out as a one-off three-day large format pinhole workshop at Cape Paterson I lead in 2015.

By word of mouth more and more people wanted to know ‘when was the next one?’ By the end of 2015 the Friends of Photography Group was formed, firstly as a group of large format photographers. With partners and friends wanting to join in too the group evolved into a film photography group. During the group’s active time cameras from miniature 16mm spy cameras to 11×14 view cameras were used.

An important focus was obvious in the group’s name, Friends of Photography; I wanted the group’s emphasis to be on photography not cameras. So a very important event we held regularly was the Print Viewing where recent photographs were brought for discussion. Over the group’s life span we held thirty-two print viewings. This became a very important event the group’s life.

I arranged regular one day and twice yearly three-day trips to different locations around Victoria for the group. Places visited included the Little Desert, Cape Conran, Mount Buffalo and The Otways. Ten three day and twenty-six one-day trips have been undertaken between 2015 – 2021.

I then expanded the experience for the group into exhibitions in a gallery, again focusing on the print not the camera.  The first Group Chemistry exhibition was held in 2017, three exhibitions were held until Covid19 intervened. So in 2020 three online exhibitions were undertaken on the group’s website in place of Group Chemistry 2020.

My aim in facilitating the group was to be inclusive, to enable all to join as long as they used film in some way or form. All the events were free of change.  I wanted the work the group made to be the best possible and for everyone to learn from each other.

After six years it’s now time for me to move on and concentrate more fully on my own work. It has taken a lot of time and energy to run the Friends of Photography Group. The group has now become very large; so much so that limits on people attending activities had become necessary.  

The Friends of Photography Group has now ceased.

The group’s website and social media page will remain online for the immediate future. 

David Tatnall in 2018. Photograph by Dr Jane Mullett.

David Tatnall is a fine art photographer based in Melbourne, Australia. His work has been collected by The National Gallery of Victoria, Monash Gallery of Art, State Library of Victoria, and the Australian Embassy in Washington USA and well as a number of regional galleries in Victoria. 

He was Artist in Residence at the State Government’s School for Student Leadership’s remote campuses for twenty years where he taught film photography to 6000 students.

He taught large format, pinhole and darkroom workshops for thirty-five years in Australia and overseas. His work has been exhibited and published widely. 

In 2000 he was given a lifetime achievement award by Parks Victoria for ‘An outstanding contribution to nature conservation in Victoria through photography’. He was also made an Honorary Life Member of the Victorian National Parks Association.

David Tatnall is represented by Chrysalis Gallery.

Main photograph above: John de la Roche with 8×10 pinhole camera on the first trip in 2015. Photograph by David Tatnall.

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David Tatnall

David Tatnall is a Melbourne based fine art photographer.

There are 6 comments for this article
  1. MATTHEW T HUGHES
    MATTHEW T HUGHES at 7:01 am

    Howdy David,

    A message of thanks. I was lucky enough to discover the FoPG half way through its life span and fortunate to have been able to participate in a number of group activities. With photography often a fairly solitary activity, it was totally refreshing to meet new friends. Everything about the groups format from field trips to print viewings and eventually exhibitions was absolutely spot on!

  2. Avatar
    Ronald D. Jore at 10:50 am

    Hello David,

    I’d like to second Mat, who actually was the one introducing me to the group.

    I felt immediately welcomed, and the people and activities have been a massive source of inspiration for me. As a matter of fact, I was at the point of giving up film photography when I joined the group, and now have not only gotten well back into it, but even bought a large format camera and, after a hiatus of several years, dusted off my darkroom. It’s been great to see everyone else’s work and be out shooting together in fabulous locations. The group chemistry is palpable and the exhibitions aptly named.

    I, for one, thank you for all the work you invested in keeping things going (and interesting). I also thank everyone else who has been contributing and very much hope that the reports of the group’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.

    • David Tatnall
      David Tatnall Author at 5:17 am

      Ronald, thank you. The Friends of Photography Group’s final trip was to The Otways in March. When the group started seven years ago there were 6 to 8 people attending trips. Slowly this number grew and grew. Eventually numbers had to be limited to 20 it had become so popular. It wasn’t uncommon to have a waiting list of up to 20 people as well. The group simply got too big to manage. Its time had come.

  3. Gary+Sauer-Thompson
    Gary+Sauer-Thompson at 12:25 pm

    I’ve just came across this. I’m sorry to hear the news. It was a good group.
    Thanks for all the work David. Your efforts in nurturing the growth of large format photography in Australia was much appreciated. The best of luck in your own work.

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