Peter Stubbs FRPS AFIAP (1945-2023)

Peter Stubbs was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society in 2005 for a website which dealt with the history of the Edinburgh Photographic Society from its foundation in 1861 to 1999. As a member of the EPS for over thirty years he became the memory of the Society through his diligent research into its formation and its progress since its inception. For members, knowing the history of our Society informs us as to why we have a vibrant and successful Society with such an impressive clubroom. 

Peter was the person to turn to if questions arose in relation to the history of the Society. A book was written in which it was suggested that a professional photographer called Tunny, who was a member of the Society in the 19th Century, had murdered his wife with photographic chemicals and was the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel Jekyll and Hyde.

Peter’s response was probably no to each question, though his opinion was that Stevenson would have been aware of the Edinburgh photographic studio scene when he wrote the book.

That scene in the late 19th Century was the subject of the meticulous research he did into the large number of photographic studios that then existed in Edinburgh, particularly in Princes Street and the identity of the photographers who owned them. This is a valuable resource in outlining the practice of photography in the city at that time.

Edinburgh was very much the focus of his photographic interests and over the years he created an archive of industry in the city and he put together a series of photographs recording the terminuses of each bus service in the city.

However, his major contribution to photography in the city was the assembly of a huge number photographs taken by himself and others of people and places in the city since the advent of photography.

He used to attend a regular coffee morning with other members at the Sheraton Hotel on Mondays. He used to walk there from his home in Newhaven and recorded what he saw on the way there which he shared with his fellow members and added to his archive. 

It is worth delving into his website,, which has a fascinating combination of photographs of people, places and activities in the city both historic and recent, which show how the city has developed, what has been demolished and what has been retained. There are many striking and nostalgic photographs which are combined with the memories of residents. 

He was an actuary by profession, which probably explains his capacity to organise such an extensive project. 

He had an engaging personality and it was always a worthwhile to listen to him expound on his photographic enthusiasms. He has left an important legacy for the city and the Edinburgh Photographic Society.

As well as record photographs for his archive he did take photographs to a high standard for exhibition purposes as is evidenced by the award of an AFIAP distinction for acceptances in international exhibitions.

His enthusiasm for history did not extend to using old fashioned plate cameras. On a cold spring day on Rannoch Moor as a fellow member was demonstrating the use of his newly acquired half plate camera and taking forever to do so he observed that he never wanted to use a camera like that. Indeed, he was a member of the “All year ramblers” hill walking group and recorded their walks with his IPad.

Douglas J May FRPS and Sandy Cleland FRPS

Edinburgh Photographic Society  2024


©Edinburgh Photographic Society and individual photographers 2024