Sandy snaps up coveted place in top photo group

AN amateur Lothian photo-grapher has been invited to join the prestigious London Salon of Photography – becoming only the 43rd member worldwide.

Edinburgh Photographic Society (EPS) member Sandy Cleland, 69, from Penicuik, has been asked to join the exclusive group after submitting a number of shots for consideration to the body in recent years.

The sole stated aim of the London Salon, which dates to 1893, is to annually exhibit only the very best of photographic imagery from around the world. There have only been 200 members of the select body since its inception.

Gracie Alison was the only previous EPS member to be invited to join the Salon in 1964. She served as EPS secretary between 1946 and 1985.

Originally from Bo’ness, Mr Cleland has been a keen photographer for more than 50 years and is noted for his wildlife photography and keen eye.

He said: “It is a huge honour for me to be invited to join as the Salon exhibits only the very best pictorial photography, in that they must have an element of artistic feeling and execution.

“It came as a complete shock to me – the first I knew of it was when I opened the letter. As a member I will now also be invited to attend the selection process ahead of the annual exhibition – something I am really looking forward to.”

The roots of the organisation go back to the late 19th century when it was formed as The Linked Ring, becoming the London Salon in 1910 when the first London Salon Exhibition was held.

It is essentially a breakaway group from the Royal Photographic Society, with expressed concerns that the RPS was more concerned with the science of photography.

London Salon honorary vice-president Margaret Salisbury said: “Members have to be respected both personally and for their photography. Being elected to membership is still considered by many to be one of the highest honours a photographer can receive and we are delighted to welcome Sandy.”

The Salon can boast a host of famous photographers among its ranks. Frank Meadow Sutcliffe, recognised as one of the world’s most pioneering photographic artists whose work presented an enduring record of Victorian life in the English seaside town of Whitby, was a founder member.

Other members included George Herbert, the 5th Earl of Carnarvon, who is best known as the financial backer of the search for and the excavation of Tutankhamun’s tomb.