Photographic Society of Philadelphia


The Photographic Society of Philadelphia* is the oldest active photography society in the country. We have been looking at the world through the camera lens since 1860!

Photography has dramatically evolved since 1860.  Back then the techniques of photography were limited to a few. Photographers developed their own processes, grounded their own lenses, made their own cameras and tripods.  “Instant” could be many minutes, images were captured on glass plates and slowly teased into visibility, and the lightest camera still weighed many pounds.  But such was the “cutting-edge technology” of the time.

The evolution of photographic technology and techniques over the last century and a half has been daunting.  Never more so than today, where film technology and digital technology both draw the photographer’s attention.  Today, lenses and cameras are designed by computer, “instant” is a tiny fraction of a second, “film” may be a digital camera’s memory card, and even the traditional darkroom may now be complemented by a cleverly used computer and digital printer.

Through it all the Photographic Society of Philadelphia has been there. The Society, throughout its history, has provided just such a place to share new technologies, ideas, and techniques.  Documentary, artistic, and scientific works by many of its members have featured prominently in the history of American photography.  And its purpose remains the same today as it has been since 1860—to increase and diffuse knowledge of the natural laws which relate to the action of light, and particularly to promote improvements in the art of photography.

* The Photographic Society of Philadelphia is a not-for-profit and tax-exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. We’re open to all film and digital photographers, from enthusiasts to professionals from all over the world.

Alone Again by Eileen Eckstein, © 2011