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‘Open letter’ rocks Camera House

When I woke up this morning – as many an old blues song begins – I was a worried man:  What the hell I could run as the lead story in this week’s newsletter?

After the closure of Camera Action and its re-opening last week as DigiDirect Camera House it seemed this week would be unremarkable.
After the closure of Camera Action and its re-opening last week as DigiDirect Camera House it seemed this week would be unremarkable.

After the tumult of last week, which saw Camera Action shuttered and DigiDirect Camera House rise out of the ashes, things seemed awful quiet out there…too quiet.

There were a few potential stories kicking around, but none of them fully-baked as yet…

But by the time I checked my email, I had the lay-down-misere lead story. At least I thought I did. A document was shared with me which is basically a call to action to Camera House members to change the course the current board and management is setting for the group – with extreme prejudice to the current board and specific individuals in the management team! It contains all manner of assertions and accusations and is written from the point of view of a disgruntled Camera House member.

From the point of view of fairness – not to mention self-preservation – there was no way I was going to publish an anonymous document of such volatility. I decided to simply report that it existed, and provide a short, soft and gentle summary, skirting around the bits which might get me sued.

So I emailed Camera House explaining my intentions and offering them the opportunity to contribute a statement.

In less than 30 minutes I was in discussion with a partner in a law firm representing Camera House.

The ideal outcome for Camera House is that you are not even reading this – that I chose to ignore the whole thing.

The content of the 5-page jeremiad against Camera House is astounding. The reason I have chosen not to run with the short, soft, gentle summary – that Camera House asserts the author is not actually a Camera House member – is even more so.

Whoever wrote the document, my guess is that by now it has made its way along the industry grapevine by now and (to mix metaphors monstrously), the genie is out of the bottle.

One way or another, we will have more on this next week…



  1. Bruce Bruce March 15, 2013

    The actual letter which many of us have been looking at suggests many things and whoever wrote it, it has the ring of truth and covers complaints many Camera House members have expressed in private.
    Now I understand many are smaller members but it looks very much that they have always been ignored.
    To spend $400,000 on a website which provides little return and to ban the use of the word ‘Camera House’ on any other websites looks pretty crazy given the lack of success of the main site.

    And that is just the start of the issues.

  2. Laurie Laurie March 16, 2013

    There can’t be too many that haven’t seen the letter by now! I’m just glad it validated my thoughts around the whole ProMaster ‘deal’. At the time this was being promoted I couldn’t help wondering why no one else was questioning the logic.

  3. Tim Tim March 16, 2013

    There’s certainly some damning commentary in it about management. Seems these guys were still trying to run things like the photo industry’s heyday. Perhaps none had taken a stroll into a camera store for a while – or read the newspapers. Very sad to see the group imploding though. Hopefully the members can take control and make changes at the top immediately. Otherwise it seems, their future is not bright.

  4. Robbo Robbo March 16, 2013

    Re the unmentionable!

    If it looks like fish
    Smells like fish
    Tastes like fish
    It probably is fish!
    Happy fishing keith! Just dont become bait!

  5. PG PG March 18, 2013

    Keith you are correct the pdf made the rounds both here and outside the country.

    I can’t comment on the CH situation but the content does remind me in many ways of the situation PMAI members discovered several years ago re the operations in Jackson.

    A lack of transparency, an outdated business model spending too many members funds without a clear ROI to members. But the blame can be just as equally laid on the members as they didn’t question what was happening, they just allowed to happen.

    PS. PMAI Jackson made sweeping changes, using PMA Australia as a guide to how it should be done. While members don’t always agree with the way things are done they must be able to question what is happening in their organisation. Probably the author of the pdf wasn’t confident that it could be done any other way to get his/her message across to members.

  6. AL-Pal AL-Pal March 18, 2013

    $400,000 For a website I thought Ned Kelly was Repairing Cameras looks like his doing Websites now ,I,m only a small store but pay $49 a month and got 2x responses this morning & a comment I like your website mate ..

  7. Mark Mark March 19, 2013

    All very interesting, although I can not find a copy of the so called 5 page letter, any chance of posting a link ?

    • Keith Shipton Keith Shipton Post author | March 19, 2013

      Sorry, Mark, but I’m legally constrained from posting a link to the letter.

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