what's in the boxes?
What's in the Boxes?
The first print boxes began circulating in the Spring of 1971, supplemented by a slide box during 1974. Contained within the box, apart from prints and slides, was a Critique Sheet, a notebook and pre-printed postcards. Upon receiving a box the member would remove their circulated prints and the critique sheet to digest the comments before depositing fresh prints and critiquing the remainder. The notebook provided information and news from the Secretary and members could make their own notes within it. After one week the box would be passed on to the next member and one of the pre-printed postcards was forwarded onto the Secretary to inform that the box had moved on. With the membership expanding further boxes would be introduced from the mid 1970’s onwards to help speed up circulation.
Today the print boxes contain a folded A3 sheet of paper on which the details of the print, exposure, printer type, train and any comments are noted. Prints placed in the box are of A4 size and the member can place 2 prints per round. Upon receiving the box a member uses the A3 sheet to critique the prints therein. The notebook has been replaced with an A4 folder with sleeves for members to have a general notes about what they’ve been up to since the last box passed their way. To ensure the smooth running of the box system ‘The Grand Inquisitor of the Boxes’ post was created ensuring the the circulation list is kept up to date and that the boxes move on in a timely fashion. All this is now communicated digitally via e-mail.
As of 2021 there are 3 boxes circulating folio C, E & F taking around 12 months to complete a full circuit with 13 members contributing. In this digital age it may seem strange to still be circulating prints in this fashion but those who take part feel that printed pictures are the best way to enjoy the results of their photography endeavours. As the system is now in its 50th continuous year it would be hard to disagree that it isn’t a winning formula.