About the Club

The Dubuque Camera Club can trace its history all the way back to the pioneering days of photography. The club was mentioned in an early photography magazine: The Photographic Times and American Photographer (vol. XIX, 1889, p. 360).

The club was active in the early 20th century as a YMCA program. There was a lot of excitement in Dubuque about photography, and the dark room was always busy. After all, since before the Civil War, professional photographers have had studios in Dubuque. People wanted a chance to learn about this interesting and creative skill. The Boys Club also sponsored camera clubs for over 60 boys, with a “big brother” club for adults.

[If you would like to know more about the club’s long history, see the bibliography, or scroll down to view some news clippings.]

In 1942, the club gained new life when it was chartered as the Dubuque YMCA Camera Club (Telegraph Herald, January 11, 1942). During WWII the club sponsored presentations, exhibits, and photo shoots and also took pictures for area nonprofit organizations. By 1953, the Y Camera Club for adults included women and met twice a month.

Sometime in the 1940s or 50s, the club became affiliated with the Photographic Society of America, and Dubuque photographers were occasionally mentioned in the PSA Journal. Willard Farr (1888-1981), an engineer and nature photographer, served as club president in the late 1950s. The Telegraph Herald ran a long feature about him on September 1, 1957.

In the 1970s, the club met at Interstate Power Co., located at 1000 Main St. in downtown Dubuque. By that time, it must have become independent of the YMCA. The club became affiliated with the N4C in the mid-1980s(?). In those days, images were projected during meetings using slides. Photography was still all about film, and that took a while to change.

In a newspaper interview in 2004, Fred Vaughn, another club president, said, “I run the slide projector. That’s what the president gets to do.” No one in the club had switched to digital yet, but he was looking at digital cameras (“Like Being There,” Telegraph-Herald, February 26, 2004).

Today, in the era of digital photography, more than 30 tri-state photographers are active in the Dubuque Camera Club. Most club members use DSLRs, mirrorless cameras, or even smartphones. Post-processing is a vital skill, and we use image editing software such as Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. Yes, we still make prints, but online photo sharing is a big focus.

Today’s club members explore their creativity through photography. Skill levels range from advanced beginner to experienced pro shooter. We enjoy many different photographic genres, such as landscape, portrait, architectural, concert, macro, bird and wildlife, or drone photography. Whatever your favorite subject and style, you may find someone who shares your interest in the Dubuque Camera Club!

Click here to view the club’s 2020 brochure.
Dubuque Camera Club colors:
Hex: #6699cc
HSB: 210, 50, 80
CMYK: 61,31,3,0
Hex: #ffcc33
HSB: 45,80,100
CMYK: 0,19,89,0

The modern logo of the Dubuque Camera Club consists of the stylized shape of a camera with DCC, the club initials, in the center. The blue area represents the Mississippi River. The yellow-gold represents sunrise on the blufftops. The curve at the top repeats the curve of the iconic Julien Dubuque bridge. This logo was designed  in 2013 by Nate Roling.

The earliest known mention of the Dubuque Camera Club dates back to 1899. This clipping was taken from The Photographic Times and American Photographer, vol. XIX, W.I. Lincoln Adams, editor. New York: The Photographic Times Publishing Association, 1899. (p.360). Download the complete issue here.
Articles about DCC from newspaper archives edited
These articles about the Dubuque Camera Club appeared in the Dubuque Telegraph Herald from 1942 to 1967.
In conjunction with an exhibit at the Carnegie-Stout Public Library, the Dubuque Camera Club was the subject of a feature by Pamela Brandt in the October 2015 issue of Julien’s Journal. Click on the image to read the story.