Photographic Society of America

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Photographic Society of America
Photographic Society of America Logo.gif
Abbreviation PSA
Motto If you love Photography, you belong in PSA!
Formation 1934
Type Non-profit organization
Purpose Photography
Headquarters Oklahoma City, OK
Region served
John Davis, FPSA, PPSA
Main organ
PSA Journal
Formerly called
Associated Camera Clubs of America (ACCA)

The Photographic Society of America (PSA) is one of the largest, non-profit organization of its kind. Despite its name it is an International organisation open to anyone with an interest in photography. Established in 1934, it has expanded to include members of over 70 countries. The Society includes 'shutterbugs', serious amateurs and professional photographers.[1]

The mission of this association is to promote and enhance the art and science of photography in all its phases, among members and non-members alike.

The PSA holds several notable competitions throughout the year, including the PSA Youth Showcase.

The society is open to Individual, Club and Council membership and offers a wide variety of services and activities. Members receive a monthly magazine, on-line photo galleries, image evaluation, study groups, courses, competitions, an annual conference, recognition of photographic achievement (ROPA). Members can get discounts on a variety of photographic related products and services.[1]


The Associated Camera Clubs of America (ACCA) was formed in 1919, and became the Photographic Society of America (PSA) by name change in 1934. The first PSA Bylaws were finalized in 1935, and the Society became a non-profit corporation when it filed Articles of Incorporation with the Illinois Secretary of State in 1937.

In 1942, PSA applied for and received its exemption from U.S. income tax under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, which is now Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. PSA is a publicly supported organization, with gift deductible status.

PSA Headquarters moved from Philadelphia to Oklahoma City in 1988, and applied for and received its Certificate of Authority to transact business in the State of Oklahoma, and maintains its status as an Illinois non-profit corporation. The Articles of Incorporation and the Bylaws were amended in 2010.

The PSA Bylaws provide the rules by which the Society is governed. They give the organization its structure, guide its operations, and begin with the mission statement for the Society.


PSA was founded to "promote the Arts and Sciences of Photography." In April 2010 the PSA Strategic Planning Committee expanded the original mission and developed the present PSA Mission Statement which was then approved by the Board of Directors and incorporated in the Bylaws. This Mission Statement has a prominent place on the PSA web site homepage and is included below. The PSA Mission guides all the programs, services, and activities of PSA.

  • The PSA promotes the art and science of photography as a means of communication, image appreciation, and cultural exchange.
  • The PSA provides education, information, inspiration, and opportunity for all persons interested in photography.
  • The PSA fosters personal growth and expression, creativity, excellence, and ethical conduct in all aspects of photographic endeavor.

Board of Directors[edit]

PSA is governed by a Board of Directors that establishes PSA policies, procedures, and practices as set forth in the Bylaws. The Board holds at least two meetings annually, one prior to the Annual Conference and one during the spring at PSA Headquarters.

The Board of Directors is composed of fourteen members. PSA elects the Board of Directors for a two-year term. The Board is elected each odd-numbered year (Division Officers are elected each even-numbered year).

Prior to an election year, the Nominating Committee prepares a slate of candidates for the Board positions and the Secretary publishes the slate in the January PSA Journal. In the absence of any nominations by petition, the Secretary casts the ballot for the membership for the official slate of candidates, and they are declared elected. The Board members assume their duties following the PSA Annual Conference.[2]


Founding of PSA[edit]

Chronology of Events by Tony Patti, HonPSA, FPSA

  • 1919 - Associated Camera Clubs of America (ACCA) was founded.
  • September 8, 1932 - Meeting in Newark, New Jersey, first step towards creating PSA.
  • December 1, 1932 - Letters sent to 200 likely interested parties to be part of organizing committee.
  • Early 1933 - Nearly all of the solicited persons joined for one dollar per year dues.
  • Early 1933 - Officers of the Organizing Committee were elected as follows:

Chairman: Louis F. Bucher, Newark, New Jersey Vice Chairman: Clare J. Crary, Warren, Pennsylvania Secretary: Dr. Max Thorek, Chicago, Illinois Treasurer: R. L. Van Oosting, Lynwood, California

Headquarters was located at the site of the Newark Camera Club in Newark, New Jersey.

  • September 4, 1933 - The second meeting of the committee was held at the Fort Dearing Camera Club in Chicago. Progress reports were favorable, and it was decided to enrol individual members.
  • October 1933 - A resolution to change the name of ACCA to Photographic Society of America (PSA) was presented to the Board of the Associated Camera Clubs of America and passed.
  • December 1933 - Records and funds of ACCA were transferred to the newly organized PSA.
  • 1934 - The first officers of the Society were:

Honorary President: Louis F. Bucher; President: Dr. Max Thorek; Vice President: R. L. Van Oosting; Secretary: Byron H. Chatto; Treasurer: Chester H. Wheeler. The Directors were: William A. Alcock, Charles K. Archer, Robert A. Barrows, Harry A. Greene, Arthur Hammond, Harry P. Herron, and William L. Woodburn.

President Thorek appointed William Woodburn as chairman for a committee to draft a constitution and by-laws of the Society. Members of the constitution and by-laws committee were Byron H. Chatto, Louis Fleckenstein, Franklin L Jordan, Dr. E. P. Wightman, and Dr. Thorek.[3]

Chronology of PSA[edit]

by Elena McTighe, APSA, PPSA

  • 1919 Associated Camera Clubs of America (ACCA) was founded.
  • 1933 Plans formulated for the establishment of PSA.
  • 1934 The birth of PSA.

April: The first Bulletin is published. The first PSA convention, held in Pittsburgh.

  • 1935 March: the first PSA Journal was published.

The By-laws were finalized.

  • 1937 PSA was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in Illinois.

The first annual 100 Print Travel Salon was held: the precursor to today's PSA Exhibition.

  • 1938 The first special interest division was formed: The Techniques Division

Followed by the formation of the Historical Division.

  • 1939 Formation of the Pictorial Division, later called the Pictorial Print Division.
  • 1940 The first Honors were granted at the Cleveland Convention.
  • 1941 Formation of the Color Division, later called the Color Slide Division and then the Color Projected Image Division.
  • 1943 The first Chapters were organized.

Also the Camera Club Division was formed.

  • 1944 Formation of the Photojournalism Division.
  • 1945 The Charter for the Society's Permanent Print Collection was established.
  • 1946 Formation of the Motion Picture Division.
  • 1948 Dr. C. E. K. Mees received the first Progress Medal Award.
  • 1949 PSA Headquarters was established in Philadelphia.
  • 1952 Formation of the Stereo Division.
  • 1969 Formation of the Photo Travel Division.
  • 1973 Conference attendance was at an all-time high of 2,003 in San Francisco.
  • 1976 PSA membership was at an all-time high of 18,962.
  • 1988 PSA Headquarters was moved to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
  • 1996 The first Distinctions were granted at the Conference in Tucson, Arizona.
  • 1997 Formation of the Electronic Imaging Division.
  • 1998 The first PSA Youth Showcase was held.[3]

Membership Categories[edit]

Membership Category 1 Year 2 Years 3 Years Standard Membership - (Adult or Youth) Includes printed copy of PSA Journal by mail AND complimentary access to online and mobile PSA Journal Adult Membership - USA, Canada, Mexico $60 $115 $165 Adult membership - Outside USA, Canada, Mexico $100 $195 $285 Youth Membership: Under 18 Years - USA, Canada, Mexico $50 n/a n/a Photo Club/Organization Membership Includes the printed copy of PSA Journal only by mail (NO online or mobile PSA Journal access) Photo Club/Organization - USA, Canada, Mexico $45 $85 $120 Photo Club/Organization - Outside USA, Canada, Mexico $55 $105 $150 Digital membership - (Adult or Youth) Includes online and mobile access to PSA Journal (NO printed PSA Journal by mail) Digital Membership - Adult $45 $85 $120 Digital Membership - Youth: Under 18 Years $35 n/a n/a


The PSA has a number of Divisions. Any member may take part in the services and activities in one or all PSA divisions:

  • Projected Image Division (PID)
  • Nature Division (ND)
  • Photojournalism Division (PJD)
  • Photo Travel Division (PTD)
  • Pictorial Print Division (PPD)
  • 3D Division (3DD)


Star Ratings[edit]

Members of the PSA may apply for a Star Rating in each of the above divisions, where they have the requisite number of "acceptances" in validated international photographic salons. Acceptances received prior to membership are eligible for the acceptance requirements.

Basic requirements are:

  • 1 STAR - at least 18 acceptances with at least 6 titles.
  • 2 STARS - at least 36 acceptances with at least 12 titles.
  • 3 STARS - at least 72 acceptances with at least 24 titles.
  • 4 STARS - at least 144 acceptances with at least 48 titles.
  • 5 STARS - at least 288 acceptances with at least 96 titles.

Recognition of Photographic Achievement (ROPA)[edit]

Distinctions were established in February 1997 for the purpose of recognizing PSA member’s photography achievements in PSA-recognized International Exhibitions. PSA members in good standing may apply for ROPA Distinctions and, when approved, the member can use the ROPA acronym letters (PPSA, EPSA, MPSA, and GMPSA) after their name. The ROPA certificates and plaques (for MPSA and GMPSA) are formally presented each year at the Opening Meeting of the PSA Annual Conference (in the year following approval of the ROPA application).

Requirements: In order to qualify for any of the ROPA Distinctions the following proof of acceptances in PSA-recognized International Exhibitions is required:

  • PROFICIENCY (PPSA): 288 or more acceptances supported by Star Rating certificates from one or more PSA Divisions.
  • EXCELLENCE (EPSA): 700 or more acceptances supported by Star Rating certificates from one or more PSA Divisions.
  • MASTER (MPSA): 1,500 or more acceptances supported by Star Rating certificates from one or more PSA Divisions.
  • GRAND MASTER (GMPSA): 3,000 or more acceptances supported by Star Rating certificates from one or more PSA Divisions.


  1. ^ a b "PSA :: Educating and Connecting People through Photography". Retrieved 2012-11-30. 
  2. ^ "PSA :: Board of Directors". Retrieved 2012-11-30. 
  3. ^ a b "About PSA; PSA Overview". Retrieved 2012-11-30.