Photographers in the 1880s were resourceful characters - purchasing chemicals, making up solutions, coping with heavy cameras and long exposures and developing photos soon after exposure.
These few enthusiasts possibly sourced their chemicals from the Homeopathic Pharmacy of Mr Frank Styant Browne at 112 Brisbane Street, Launceston.
On July 24, 1889, six of them met at the Homeopathic Pharmacy and decided to form an association to be called the Northern Tasmanian Camera Club (NTCC).
Those present were Dr HH Roome and Messrs William Aitkenhead, RL Parker, AC Bonner, C Eberhard, and F Styant Browne.
Mr Aitkenhead was elected president, Dr HH Roome vice president, and Mr Frank Styant Browne secretary, treasurer and librarian.
Mr Styant Browne served as club secretary for 22 years and was presented with a special volume of the club's best prints on his retirement in 1911.
At the club's second meeting, the offer of a darkroom by a Mr Lay was accepted.
The committee adopted, with minor modifications, the Rules of the Tasmanian Photographic Art Association based in Hobart.
The committee decided that professional photographers could be admitted to the club as honorary members.
Any amateur photographer who sold, or even offered for sale, any of his work would be excluded.
In the early years of the NTCC, membership was restricted to men only. In 1891, it was resolved that "Ladies be admitted to Lantern Evenings, and that each member be invited to bring two ladies."
Meetings, photography competitions and field trips were important activities of the club and the reading of papers on photography became a regular feature of club meetings, an important learning activity for members.
At the February 1892 meeting, RL Parker read a paper on Cold Bath Platinotype Printing and at the March Assembly F Styant Browne read a paper A week down the Tamar River in a steam launch.
Annual field trips were a highlight and were undertaken by horse and wagonette. The first trip was to Distillery Creek.
Other field trips were to Lilydale, Quamby Estate, Longford and St Patrick's River.
Frank Styant Browne's photo Loading Up after the field trip to Lilydale in 1904 captures the essence of the field trips.
Note the dress code of hats, jackets and trousers and collars and tie.
On November 13, 1905, a field day was held at Strathmore and it was the first time that members travelled to a field day by motor vehicle.
After the first field trip to Distillery Creek, a photography competition was held. The subject was 'Landscape' and each member was limited to two entries.
The judge was Stephen Spurling who operated Spurling Photographic Studio in Brisbane Street. Competition was the means of improvement for NTCC members.
NTCC's early photo albums held by the Launceston Library represent the high point of Tasmanian photographic achievement before World War I.