The Photographic Society of Philadelphia is the oldest active photography society in the country.
Photography has changed considerably since 1860. During the mid-nineteenth century, photography was limited to the few who could afford the tools, equipment, film, chemicals, and studio space. Photographers developed their own processes, ground their own lenses, made their own cameras and tripods. The idea of Instant could be many minutes, images were captured on glass plates and slowly teased into visibility, and the lightest cameras still weighed many pounds. They were the cutting-edge technology of the time.
The nature of photographic technology and techniques over the last century and a half has changed. 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 fraction of a second, film may be a digital camera’s memory card, and even the traditional darkroom may now be complemented by a computer and digital printer.
Since 1860, the Society has provided 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—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.