A Tribute

It is with sadness that we learn of the death, on 12th June, of long-standing member William McCance.

Bill, as he was always called, joined Paisley Colour Photographic Club in 1955, the year in which it was founded. Apart from a short period of 5-6 years during the 1980s, he remained a member until the end – around 60 years of membership which makes him the longest serving member. Originally a member of Kilmacolm Camera Club he also joined Anchor Photographic Club where he remained a loyal member until its demise following the closure the Anchor thread mills where he had been an employee of J & P Coats for most, if not all, of his working life.
Photography was always a huge part of Bill’s life in one capacity or another and amazingly his interest never seemed to wane as the years passed. He was one of our most regular attenders, seldom missing a Thursday evening meeting right up to the Covid-19 shutdown. When he stopped driving a few years ago he just booked a weekly taxi to drop him off at the Club and collect him at the end. Likewise he seldom missed a competition entry although very recently he admitted finding computer work was becoming increasingly difficult due to eyesight problems, but his determination kept him going and he continued to meet with a good measure of success.
During his membership of Paisley Colour, Bill served as President between 1977 and 1979 and continued on Council for another 3 years including one as Competition Secretary. However, his greatest service to the Club was through his involvement with the Paisley International Colour Slide Exhibition. He was one of the small group of individuals responsible for setting this up in 1979 and he continued to serve on the Exhibition Executive for 11 years, 1970-1980. He donated the McCance Trophy which was a much coveted award given annually to the best set of images by a Scottish resident.
For many years he was on the SPF and PAGB list of approved lecturers and judges and many photographic clubs, as well as other organisations, greatly benefitted from his knowledge and skills through his lecturing and judging visits. He frequently judged international exhibitions in the UK, including several times at the Scottish Salon, Northern Counties and the Paisley International.
Bill had very varied interests in photography over the years including pictorial landscape, creative montage, portraiture, nature, weddings, video and audio-visual slide presentations where slide changes were memorised and manually controlled - no fancy expensive electronics. He was a meticulous worker in everything he did and his images proved highly successful, not just at club level, but also in international exhibitions where he gained many acceptances and also top awards.
His versatile approach to photography was highly remarkable and he readily adapted to changing circumstances and interests at different stages in his life. The transition from film to digital was taken in his stride and he was one of the first in the Club to embrace the new medium. He was always generous in sharing information and willing to help others to progress their photographic skills. For many years he gave excellent practical teach-ins and demonstrations to the Club and I particularly remember his technique of photographing colour slides through textured glass to produce abstract/creative images – so fiddly and challenging then, but now it can do this at the click of a button.

The Scottish Photographic Federation benefitted from the years he served on their Executive Committee including being President in 1978-80. For nearly 35 years he acted as the SPF’s FIAP Liaison Officer which led to him being awarded a HonEFIAP, while his service to the SPF and its
member clubs was recognised when he was admitted to the Roll of Honour (HonSPF) of that organisation.

Bill was awarded an Associateship of the Photographic Society of America in 1976 followed by a Fellowship in 2004 in recognition of his dedicated service to that organisation and his promotion of PSA in this country and of photography in general. Last year PSA acknowledged his 50 years of membership with the presentation of an inscribed clock and certificate.

With all the distinctions after his name he can justifiably claim to be Paisley Colour’s most decorated photographer.

His passing brings to an end our only remaining link with the Club’s origins in 1955. He will be remembered with affection and gratitude and his presence at Club meetings will be most sorely missed.

Duncan McEwan
June 2020