When Photo Club ARÉMAC was created in 1974, conventional black-and-white silver halide photography – from shot to final proof via the darkroom – was par for the course in most photography clubs, both here and in Europe. Toward the end of the 1990s, wanting to return to the origins of the art and pay tribute to the great photography masters, our members decided to make it their unique speciality.

The Club also wanted to distinguish itself from other clubs. With the advent of digital photography equipment, silver halide photography seemed to have been relegated to the back burner, suggesting that the days of black-and-white photos were over. Yet contrary to all expectations, this medium has continued to retain its appeal and artistic power. Moreover, working in black and white requires photographers to think harder and deeper about the composition and subject that seem to elude colour photos far too easily: becoming a photographer thus involves as much one skill as the other. Complementing work done using still-appreciated conventional silver halide techniques, the new digital tools and increasingly user-friendly and high-performance software applications for working in black and white have enhanced the arsenal that our members have to master and apply. And for diehard fans of conventional photography, the Club is a place where they can hang up their hats and feel at home: their practice is recognized.

Members are amateur photographers who have followed their own journeys, bringing with them relatively long and varied experience, as well as their own style and sense of aesthetics. Each on their own quests, they explore different worlds using silver and/or digital techniques, whether it be landscape or documentary photography, portraiture, abstraction (non-representational photography), architecture, street photography, scenes from daily life, and familiar or unusual objects. Each photographer is on the lookout for powerful graphic lines, contrasts between shadow and light, and rich textures, in order to compose artworks nurtured by their imagination and creativity. Everything they cast their eyes on is likely to affect, move and amaze them, and their most ardent desire is to capture and convey the sensations experienced when they observe what is before them: black-and-white photography always brings this to the fore in a unique and powerful way.

The Club is therefore an essential forum for discussion and sharing, a place where each person’s work is presented, explained, scrutinized, and appreciated, thus contributing to the artistic development of the community. For many years now, the Club has opted to focus on creativity: black-and-white images printed on paper nonetheless remain as powerful and relevant as ever. For us, the camera is but a tool, while artistic creation and exploration are a motor, an essential need and a driving force.