The passing, last month, of Jim Yendle, one of the most esteemed members of Rhiwbina Camera Club in north Cardiff, came as a shock to all RCC members. Although he had been unwell for some time, no-one had been prepared for the sad news of his passing. Jim had been a prominent member of RCC for more than 60 years, during many of which he served on the club committee, mostly as Secretary, but also as Treasurer, Programme Secretary and Competitions Secretary. In addition to his friends within the camera club, over the years Jim made many acquaintances within the wider photographic community in south Wales and in the Welsh Photographic Federation. In appreciation of his outstanding loyalty and service to Rhiwbina Camera Club, he was presented with a commemorative plate during the 2017/18 season. In further recognition of his exceptional contribution to the club for over six decades, he was granted Life Membership two years ago.
Jim joined RCC about a year after it was founded in 1958, when it was known as Rhiwbina Photographic Society. At that time, the meetings were held in the newly-built Memorial Hall. However, the cost of this venue proved to be too high for the 24 members, so it moved to the Recreation Centre as a temporary measure until an upstairs room, known as the Jevons Lecture Room, became available in Rhiwbina Library. The move took place in 1960, once the Whitchurch Parish Council had completed the building project. The Jevons Lecture Room had a capacity for about 100 people. At this time the club paid 15 shillings for room hire, plus 4 shillings for the caretaker. When Jim joined the camera club, the style of the meetings was far more formal than those of today, but by the mid-1960s things had become more relaxed, and the formal Vote of Thanks to visiting speakers was discontinued in favour of a brief word of thanks by the Chairman. At around this time the club changed its name to Rhiwbina Camera Club.
Jim entered photography long before the age of digital cameras. He processed his own black-and-white films, then printed them in his home darkroom. He was particularly keen on experimenting with the different types of developer solution, but was never able to master the art of ‘spotting’ his prints in order to hide the blemishes that result from dust on the negatives.
Later on, he took up slide photography, and had a strong preference for Kodachrome film, which was noted for its natural colour rendition. He used this to produce travelogues of his foreign holidays, and these were very popular with the other club members as he was such a good narrator.
As soon as digital photography arrived on the scene, Jim eagerly adopted it, and enjoyed it immensely. With experience, we all develop different styles in our photography, and Jim was no exception to this, with many of his pictures being taken at a range of public shows and events, such as circuses.
In his RCC committee work, Jim’s exceptional ability with words, combined with a sharp wit, came to the fore, and this also made his occasional talks very entertaining, and sometimes humorous, as well as informative. He was also a very sociable person, and was particularly good at welcoming new members.
Jim loved the club’s Annual Exhibition that became an important part of the Annual Rhiwbina Festival. He had a preference for printing A3-sized pictures which he displayed at the festival where he was usually available to discuss them with members of the public.
In recent years, as age caught up with him, Jim’s health deteriorated to the point that he became unable to attend the meetings he had so much enjoyed, and contributed to, for very many years. As his mobility was reduced, he had to purchase a Captain Tom-style walking aid two years ago. After Covid set in, Jim found himself in the vulnerable group, which meant that leaving home was very difficult. Sincere condolences go to Jim’s sister, Val.