Brief History of the St. Louis Camera Club

The St. Louis Camera Club is one of the oldest photography clubs in the United States, holding its first meeting on February 12, 1914, with a group of five amateur photographers headed by Oscar Kuehn. The Club outgrew meetings in members’ homes and has since held meetings in community centers and libraries. The Club’s first exhibition of 150 prints was in April 1915. Over the years, many St. Louisans have gained photographic proficiency in the St. Louis Camera Club.

The first by-laws were written and a Board of Directors was established in the 1940s. On November 19, 1969, the Club was incorporated as the St. Louis Camera Club, Inc.

Club competitions were in black and white prints until 1945 when Color Slide competition began. The Club has responded to the expanding interests of its members by adding new competition sections: Nature Slides in 1960, Color Prints in 1970, Photo Travel and Photojournalism in 1985. The New Member Workshops were begun in 1982 to help new members learn about the Club and participate in its activities.

The Club is the sponsor of the highly respected Mississippi Valley Salon of Photography. When the Salon was organized in 1945, there were only six other color slide exhibitions in the country. In the early years, prints and color slides were exhibited. Color and nature images are featured in the annual competition.

Competitions, educational programs, gallery exhibitions, outings, field trips and nature study are prominent components of the Club, which are enjoyed by the members.

From a small group of five, the Club membership has grown to over 300 active photography enthusiasts with many and varied interests. The accumulated photographic experience and knowledge of the members, aided by those members who volunteer their talent and expertise, has created the unique success of the St. Louis Camera Club.