One of Durham Photographic Society’s most talented and widely respected photographers, Joe Grabham EFIAP/s, has died after a long illness borne with great courage and dignity. Joe, 66, was one of the most successful of the society’s members at international salon level. He was also universally liked and respected for his sound common sense, friendly and helpful nature and dry sense of humour.Incredibly just days before he was taken into hospital as his illness finally overwhelmed him he and his partner Alex Elwood had made the tiring trip from Durham to London on December 7 to be awarded his latest photographic recognition, a Silver Medal of the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain for his print ‘Last One Out’ which was one of the top ten colour prints selected by judges for an award in the national Inter Federation Competition. Durham PS was one of two camera clubs in the competition  representing the Northern Counties Photographic Federation.   

Joe was a school teacher until he retired early a few years ago because of ill health. He joined DPS in 1979, and served two terms as president (1996/97 and 2014/15) and held other positions on the committee. His most recent important role was external competitions secretary, co-ordinating the society’s entries in regional and national inter-club competitions and exhibitions and chairing the club’s selection process. He was also an Hon Life Member of the society 

Always a highly competent and original photographer Joe’s inspiration blossomed after retirement as he progressed his interest in digital art, creating eye catching and cleverly conceived images, often with more than a hint of humour.

He entered international salons and soon earned major awards. These included “Artist-FIAP” from the Federation Internationale de l’Art (FIAP), following this up with the “Excellence FIAP/silver” distinction.

Close friend at DPS and fellow international successful photographer Neil MaughanARPS EFIAP/s MPAGB. said: ‘To reach these levels of success, Joe had to meet specified criteria over a number of years and he did so with aplomb, by securing numerous Gold Medals in several international salons. Other notable achievements were print acceptances into the Edinburgh International, one of the most prestigious print exhibitions on the international circuit and in the inaugural “Masters of Print” competition organised by the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain in 2017 and also in 2018 Joe was a great motivator to me. He was always over the moon when I won awards and so encouraging. He will be such a huge miss in more ways than one.’

John Cogan ARPS, the man behind Durham Photographic Society’s Portraits for the North East series of exhibitions, had Joe working with him on several major photo shoots. He said:: ‘For those of us fortunate to have known Joe Grabham for any length of time, now that he is no longer there for us to call upon for his advice and wise council we can appreciate how much we are missing.  Personally, I am very fortunate to have a handful of photographs, some that are his, that I treasure.  Each one reveals something both of the man and of his subject.’

He added: ”On a day’s shoot where several of us were photographing the musician Kathryn Tickell on the Northumberland moors and in her home, Joe’s images are the ones that say most about her.”

Throughout Joe’s long and painful illness he was determined to keep going. Just last August he and Alex were in a group of around 20 DPS members who made the trip to the Edinburgh International Festival’s ‘Fringe – a long and tiring day demanding more than a little stamina.

Alex told me: ‘He never complained about his illness or appeared to feel sorry for himself.’ And she added: ‘He was determined to continue.’

Joe’s photographic skills earned him a world-wide audience. and enormous respect from leading photographers and club photographers alike. He was photographically successful right until the end. During 2018 he won three major competitions at Durham Photographic Society – The Sterling Award and the  Digital Trophy, both for projected images and the Valente Cup for the best set of three prints. He was due to receive these trophies at the club’s annual dinner and presentation night in March.

Joe Grabham had a unique photographic talent but above all he was a wonderful human being, universally admired and a good friend to many of us at Durham Photographic Society.

His funeral is in St Cuthbert’s RC Church, Old Elvet, Durham City at 11.30am on Wednesday January 23.

David Trout LRPS

Big-Steps_thumb2 Last-One-Out_thumb1 Watching-and-Waiting_thumb6


e-news from the PAGB 221:

e-news 221: includes a New Year message from the PAGB President, several

reports and photographs from the masters of print opening in London, an

interesting article by Frances Underwood, thoughts on print quality by Peter

Ross and much more…HERE

e-news 221 extra: includes an Awards for Photographic Merit Special with

dozens of photographs from successful entrants…HERE

NB the best way to receive FREE e-news is by email. Easily done by registering at


Assignment Saturday

Saturday 19th January 2019

Newcastle Quayside

Meet at 10am

The Quayside Public House

35-37 Close, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 3RN

Serving coffee and breakfasts!

The building is Grade 2* listed and is the only example of a late 16th century merchant’s house with its own wharf remaining on the quayside


Club Night Preview January 10th

Chris Ceasar “Venice in Pictures & Words”

Venice is a photographer’s dream. Old palaces, architectural delights, narrow canals and bridges are everywhere in this city that time forgot. Nothing much has changed over the centuries, the modern Venetians effectively live an ancient Venice that is under constant attack from decay, the sea and a new threat, tourism. So how did this small series of Islands in the Adriatic become the Mediterranean’s most powerful force in the 1300’s? Where did they find their wealth? And how did it all end? This talk attempts to take you from the foundation of early Venice, to the creation, and demise of an empire. The Venice we see today may look just like it did 700 years ago but many Venetians have left and it is struggling to find a way forward as a city. The talk is based on around 50 of Chris’s images that try to capture the heart and soul of this magical place.

                          Chris Ceasar



It is my privilege to have been elected Hon President for this year and its great to welcome you all once again to what is one of the best supported Societies in the region.

Our programme starts on the 3rd with an evening presented by myself.
There will be a competition running during the evening with one prize that any photographer will appreciate.
There will also be an auction for a rather unique “Objet d’art”

Our programme for the year is one of the best we will have seen for a few years now with some outstanding speakers visiting us.

Don’t forget our first competition of the year, First Progress PDI (details in the programme and on the web), closes on the 10th January so good luck and get your entries in and let’s make the Judges job as difficult as possible.

Looking forward to seeing you on Thursday and hope you all have a successful 2019


Club Night Preview: January 3rd

President’s Night with our new President Dave Murrell

         Dave Murrell

The 2019 subscriptions are due from the 1st Jan. and can be paid by Cash, Cheque or Bank Transfer (Details From the Treasurer).

Membership                               £45.00

Junior/Student Membership     £22.50

External Membership                £22.50

Also please note that the option to pay in two half-yearly payments is no longer available.

Results: Valente Cup 2018

For the best set of three prints with no requirement for the images to be linked by theme or content

Judge: Trevor Woods

1st Joe Grabham

with Step Pattern, Last One Out, A Kind of Magic

Joe Grabham,1st Place,Valente   Cup

2nd John Race

With Spartan,Lanterns on the Window Sill, The Grey Mares Tail

John Race,2nd Place,Valente   Cup

3rd Peter Walton

with The Lady Contemplates,China Girls,Confuscious He Says

Peter Whalton,3rd Place,Valente   Cup

2019 Subscriptions

The 2019 subscriptions are due from the 1st Jan. and can be paid by Cash, Cheque or Bank Transfer (Details From the Treasurer).

Membership                               £45.00

Junior/Student Membership     £22.50

External Membership                £22.50

Also please note that the option to pay in two half-yearly payments is no longer available.