A collection of stories on the history of the Australian photo retail industry on the IDEA website which disappeared a year ago has resurfaced.*
The material returned when IDEA updated its website for the Melbourne Digital Show.
The history, along with the records of industry surveys, and yearly market reports on products had all been deleted. The Association’s own honour roll of Dealer of the Year award recipients and Golden Tripod Awards, and its list of past presidents were also canned, according to former PICA/IDEA chief executive officer, Paul Curtis.
A decade ago, following the allocation of a grant from the then industry body PICA, former PMA leader Les Brener began assembling a history of retailing and distribution in Australia. This was later published as a work in progress on the PICA website. Additional contributions were added by people such as Peter Rose, John Swainston and from the editorial files of Photo Counter and Paul Curtis himself.
This important collection was deleted by IDEA when it redesigned its website, and Mr Curtis initially assumed it had been lost forever.
‘I called IDEA’s attention to the removal, but for more than a year it just ignored the matter. This was a shame, particularly as both students and business used to find the material a useful resource. It was costing nothing to keep on the website and it is usual for not-for-profit industry associations to maintain such files.’ he said.
‘I am very happy to see that this week that IDEA has begun replacing the material deleted. But it has brought home to me how transient such a website-held history can be. It would be good to find a more assured way of keeping the record safe for future generations.’
According to Mr Curtis, the trade’s history is not a long one as it was not until just after the Second World War that photo speciality retailing and importing began to take over from the previous suppliers in the optical and pharmaceutical industries.
‘It would be relatively easy to assemble into an e-book that could be lodged with the national and state libraries. I would be happy to do this on a voluntary basis, but I would need the help of people who have worked in the industry in the last 20 years.
‘Probably the easiest way would be for interested people, if indeed there are any, to email me their own personal and or company biographies so that I could assemble it from that. Many people have had their business stories told in the trade press, so it would be easy for these people to email me a copy of those reports.’
Mr Curtis recently authored and published A History of Professional Photography in Australia in book and eBook form, with the support of the AIPP.
If you are interested in recording your role in the photo industry, please email Paul at email@example.com.
* The original version of this story was based on Paul Curtis calling attention the the deletion of historical and Honour Roll components on the IDEA website. However, the website has since been updated. Talk about the power of the media – well, more likely a chore which had been put off until the next refreshing of the website, on reflection. (An added benefit to Photo Counter readers was then stumbling upon the news on the IDEA website that a date had been set for the 2015 Digital Show in Melbourne.)