The story of our photo club began in November 1986. Dirk Blommaert had good contacts with surrounding photo clubs and asked if there were any members who wanted to join a the photo club in Tielt. However, in the absence of a classroom, it took until the beginning of 1987 before the Gamma Tielt Photo Club officially saw the light of day. Dirk Blommaert was also the first chairman of our photo club.
In those days, it was difficult to find a room that was suitable to house the Photo and Slide Club. Our very first place was the former Gildhof in Tielt, then we ended up in the basement of Theater Malpertus. Later, due to circumstances, we had to move to Club77 in Schuiferskapelle, and finally stranded our current home port, the meeting room 2 in the Europahal in Tielt. Despite the many setbacks in the early years, a bright future lay ahead.
The goal from the beginning was to be able to participate in the Grand Prix of Belgium, a then well-renowned competition. But to get permission, the photo club first had to rank at the federal competitions within the Flemish provinces. Within the year, we were able to cash in on this ranking by winning a first place and a gold medal.
From 1988 Photo Club Gamma Tielt could participate in the Grand Prix of Belgium, with 15th place and 6 nominations in that year. The photo club managed to rank within the first 15 in the following years. In 1992, the photo club could rank the 9th place, and there were 14 nominations and a silver medal. In 1993, we again won a 14th place with 4 nominations and this time a gold medal. Also in 1994 we did this again with a 9th place, 14 nominations and again a gold medal. We would repeat this again in 1996 with another 9th place, 7 nominations and a gold medal.
From the 2000s onwards, many photo clubs took the step from analogue to digital, which was no different at Photo Club Gamma Tielt. Gradually there were more and more digital cameras and there was plenty of experimentation with all kinds of photography.
During the thirteen-year Chairmanship of Oswald Spriet, the photo club has grown into a solid association with the aim of promoting photography in all its facets.
In 2017, European cooperation with our partner cities also started.
In the same year, we had the colleagues of Photo Club Groß-Gerau as guests during the Tieltse Festivities (TEF-2017). In the following years we would also welcome the photo clubs of Szamotuly (PL), Bruneck (IT), Brignols (FR) as host clubs.
In 2018, Luk Van Biesbrouck was asked to become Chairman. Luk also guided the photo club on the digital path and set off a positive and creative dynamic. Due to the sudden COVID-19 pandemic, this ended abruptly. There were no Tielt Festivities in 2019, 2020 and 2021 and therefore no possibility for the photo club to present photos. For many associations, this was a mandatory stop to their activities. European cooperation was also put on hold due to the European Covid-19 restrictions. But the board, under the impetus of the chairman, has succeeded in keeping the photo club running via the digital way.
Under the impetus of the current chairman, the digital exhibitions were also created.
During the mandatory physical activity stop, the medium Internet and more specifically YouTube was our salvation. With an online photomontage accompanied by soft music and with images of all members, we threw our very first digital photo exhibition on the internet via an MP4 on the chairman’s YouTube channel. In this way, the people of Tielt, and in fact the entire world, still had the opportunity to view our images. It soon turned out to be a hit because our initiative was also noticed by representatives of the Flemish Parliament, which had a lot of praise for such an initiative. But from Belgians abroad, there were also reactions. Now there is an annual Digital Winter Exhibition to wish the people of Tielt an atmospheric end of the year.
The photo club is open to all disciplines in photography, so creativity is of paramount importance to us. Within our membership, there is a healthy mix of women and men. And still, plenty of photographers find their way to our photo club.