A Brief History of The Huntsville Photographic Society

by Sam Tumminello

The Huntsville Photographic Society has its roots from an informal group with a common interest in photography. "According to Huntsville News photographer, Jim Taylor, one of two dozen charter members, HPS was originated by John Kubilis, a graphic artist at Redstone Arsenal."

Mr. Taylor recalls that "the organizational meeting took place at Steadman's Barbecue (long since burned down) on the S.W. corner of Jordan Lane and Holmes, in November 1956." Per Dudley Campbell, who joined in 1957, they were meeting at the West Huntsville YMCA. Later he recalls meeting at the old West Clinton School in 1962.

The Huntsville Photographic Society was incorporated March 13, 1964 as a non-profit organization of The Huntsville Arts Council. According to the articles of incorporation: "The Sole purpose of the Corporation shall be to promote the enjoyment mastery and furtherance of photography through cooperation, effort and good fellowship in the City of Huntsville and Madison County".

The initial Directors of the newly incorporated organization were:

Meetings were held in various locations in the city, including The Temporary Arts center, located at the West Clinton School building. In July 1973 it followed other organizations of the Arts Council to the new "Temporary Arts Center" located at the old Rison School building on Oakwood Avenue. Both school buildings have long since been demolished.

In February 1974 HPS began meeting in the Senior Citizen's Fellowship Center in the old Twickenham Hotel, located on Clinton Street. The doors were locked after the meetings started. Late arrivals would sometimes throw small pebbles on the window of the second floor meeting room to alert members to open the door.

By 1978 HPS met in the Art Council's Office workroom located in the VBC, the workroom was small and members remember they were required to unplug the brightly red-lighted Coca-Cola vending machine to darken the room for slide shows. Members were often entertained or distracted by the practicing of the "Sweet Aldines" singing group in an adjacent room.

In May 1983 they moved to the Arts Center located in the old Huntsville High School on Randolph Street, currently the Annie C. Merts Center. By May 1986, for a short period, HPS met at the Eastside Community Center located on Dallas Avenue, formerly the National Guard Armory building. Then in February 1987 it began meeting in the Russell Erskine Apartments meeting room on Clinton Street. In June 1987 it began meeting at the new Huntsville-Madison County Main Library auditorium where it continues to meet.

Prepared by Sam Tumminello, November 23, 2005.