The Photographic Society of Sri Lanka has a rich history dating back to 1906. Established to promote photography as a hobby, art and a craft, the Society continues its journey fulfilling these objectives. Set up as the Amateur Photographic Association of Ceylon by Henry Lorenz Wendt, father of the famous Sri Lankan photographer, artist and musician Lionel Wendt. This pioneering venture was later renamed and revamped in 1934 by Lionel Wendt who continued to further develop the work begun by his father, along with a small group of enthusiasts interested in pictorial photography. This included P.J.C. Durrant, B.G. Thornly, Joe de Livera and BP Weerawardena among its members, who met regularly at his residence to discuss merits and demerits of pictures produced by them.
After the untimely passing of Lionel Wendt at the young age of 44 years in 1944, his residence was converted to a complex to house visual and performing arts in his memory. The Lionel Wendt Memorial Art Centre complete with art galleries and theater facilities was opened in 1954. The Photographic Society too was housed at the same premises which included well-equipped dark rooms and a studio.
The Society has conducted an Annual Competition and Exhibition of Photography in Sri Lanka since 1934 and later upgraded to an Annual International Competition and Exhibition in 1954 is being conducted without a break since.
PSSL today is the foremost photographic society in Sri Lanka providing opportunity to like-minded photography enthusiast to gather, discuss, and develop their photographic skills.
Membership to the Society is by invitation or application, and is open to anyone who is interested in photography as a hobby, art or craft. Affairs of the Society are managed by an Executive Committee elected at the Annual General Meeting. All ex-co members offer their services on a voluntary basis.
Amongst facilities and services offered to its membership are Monthly Members Day meetings where members or expert presenters are invited to speak on relevant subject matter and a monthly member’s photo competition is held. In addition training programs, workshops and excursions are held regularly.
The Certificate Course in Photography conducted by PSSL is a very popular program for photo enthusiasts who look to improve their knowledge and skills.
The main event in the Society’s annual calendar is the Annual International Competition and Exhibition of Photography which attracts many local and international entries. Patronages from FIAP, PSA and UPI for PSSL exhibitions makes it a much looked forward to event by local and international photographers.