Michael Moore in the frame for opening of camera club exhibition

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WHEN the band Buggles sang ominously about video killing the radio star at the end of the 1970s, they could hardly have guessed that a few others would also be added to the casualty list before the following decade was over as a result of the new cheap way to record moving images.

Among the victims was Kelso Camera Club, which too succumbed as members were lured by the latest exciting technology.

Started in the early 1950s by a handful of amateur photography enthusiasts, the club had thrived until the advent of inexpensive hand-held cine cameras, such as Super 8 format and affordable video, caused its demise.

But, more than two decades later Kelso Camera Club was resurrected and next month will see the second annual exhibition staged by the resurgent group.

To be held in the town’s Tait Hall from April 7-14, the exhibition will be opened by local MP and Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Moore.

Secretary Ian Topping told TheSouthern: “The club was a very active club until the introduction of video. With the development of cine and video, membership dwindled as members took up the challenge of moving film. Shortly after that the club stopped meeting.

“After many years we restarted the club and last year held a very successful exhibition of our work in Kelso Town Hall. We are holding another this year and are delighted to have Michael Moore agree to come and officially open it for us.”

Last year’s exhibition saw Bill Hume collect the Willie Stewart Cup – one of the original club trophies – for best photograph from Scottish Borders Council convener and local councillor, Alasdair Hutton.

The 2012 event will see Mr Moore select his favourite from among the many on show in the Tait Hall.

Mr Topping says that since the club’s recent reformation, membership numbers have continued to steadily grow.

“Kelso Camera Club was a well-known club in its day. We now have more than 50 members and it is nice to see such a significant number of people still interested.”

When founded, under Chick Wilson as their first president, the club members originally met in the high school before moving to the former offices of the Kelso Chronicle when the newspaper’s staff moved to new premises.

There followed a spell housed in the Toc H building in Roxburgh Street, as well as a period spent in the old paint store at the rear of Brown’s, the newsagent, where a darkroom was also set up. These days the club meets at 7pm every Thursday in the town’s Abbey Row centre and there’s been a vast change in photographic technology since the club’s early days.

“Our members come from all walks of life, although we don’t have any teenage members at the moment, which is a pity,” Mr Topping explained.

“Nowadays, everyone has a digital camera and these are mostly SLRs [single lens reflex], but not everyone. Some members just use a simple ‘point and shoot’ camera.

“The club caters for all levels of skill, right up to some extremely talented photographers.

“Kelso Camera Club is open to anyone interested in digital photography – young or old – and it will be great to see a good turnout of visitors for the exhibition.”

Although admission to the exhibition is free, there will be a plate collection in aid of the Borders Additional Needs Group.