One hundred and twenty-five years ago, Whanganui was home to some of New Zealand's most enthusiastic shutterbugs and the club they founded is still going strong.
Earlier this year, the Whanganui Camera Club (WCC) gathered to commemorate the club's inaugural meeting held on July 26, 1894, and now they are inviting the community to help them celebrate their watershed year.
A range of special events has been planned around the club's annual exhibition at the Whanganui Community Arts Centre which opens on Friday.
WCC member and past president Bev Sinclair said some events will be of especial interest to past club members, although everyone is welcome.
"All events are open to the public and are free. There's something on every day for the duration of the exhibition," Sinclair said.
"The exhibition will be open every day from October 5 until October 12 and on both Saturdays there will be pop-up portraiture where individuals and groups can have their photographs taken by a couple of experts."
There will also be a revolving series of slideshows, audiovisual presentations, guided tours and some special workshops which require registration.
"There is probably something to interest everyone from serious photographers to those who just enjoy looking at others' work," Sinclair said.
WCC patron and longest-serving member Vonnie Cave joined the club in 1952 and has combined her enjoyment of photography with her passions for plants and gardening.
"My mother started me off by giving me her Kodak camera which she had owned since 1916," Cave said.
"In the 1960s I wanted to take colour slides and got myself a Pentax SLR and of course now we are using digital cameras."
Photographic equipment may have come a long way but the basic techniques for composing good photographs have not really changed, she said.
Cave's work in this year's exhibition - 1890 Street - is a composite, black and white photograph of some of Whanganui's historic cottages placed side by side to form a street that early Camera Club members may have lived in.
Current club president John Smart is a relative newcomer, having joined six years ago.
"I've taken photos all my life but joining the club has helped me to become more creative and it's really upped my game," Smart said.
"The competitions which are critiqued by independent, external judges can be quite nerve-wracking but they inspire you to take better photos."
Smart's contribution to the annual exhibition is a sunset scene with people and trees silhouetted against a bright orange sunset and he has chosen a frame to match the colour of the sky.
As part of the 125th celebrations, the Whanganui Camera Club has resurrected national photographic competition, The Wanganui Salon.
Run in conjunction with the Photographic Society of New Zealand (PSNZ), The Wanganui Salon was a prominent fixture on the national photographic calendar from 1956 until 1992.
"We have resurrected it for this anniversary year in the form of a national digital image salon to commemorate the first meeting of a camera club in Whanganui," Sinclair said.
"The theme is Humanity and Earth and entrants were asked to demonstrate human impact on our planet."
The overall winner will receive a $1000 prize and they will be named at an anniversary dinner during the celebrations.
Modern techniques allow photographers to produce artistic images like Basil Hooper's Mother Sherpa and Ormond Torr's Cat Tree which will feature in the exhibition, but past members had to be a lot more resourceful in setting up artistic photographs.
Moonlight Sonata, a photograph by one of the club's most prolific former members, the late Kenneth Newton, appears to be a pianist playing before a moonlit window but is, in fact, a beautifully constructed diorama on a tabletop.
See these photographs and many more at Whanganui Community Arts Centre, 19 Taupo Quay, Saturday, October 5, to Saturday, October 12, 10am to 4pm every day. To see the full programme and to register for events, visit whanganuicameraclub.org.nz or call John Smart 021 815 426.