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PMA in Australia

This past June, writes Paul Atkins, chairman, PMA Australia, Kate and I made our annual pilgrimage to Rochester for Kodak Alaris’ pro lab workshop. We have been attending this event for over five years, and find the mixture of lab networking, strategic thinking and close contact with the core of Kodak to be incredibly rewarding. Much like the PMA (Photo Marketing Association) has provided over the years.

Paul-AtkinsIn our travels in and out of Canada, which included visits with laboratories of all shapes and sizes, we set aside three days to spend with Georgia McCabe, PMAI’s (Photo Marketing Association International) new CEO.

Georgia and her husband Scott Brownstein made us feel welcome as we stayed with them in their holiday home on the St. Lawrence River. The four of us found ourselves deep in conversation from the outset. Georgia and Scott are highly intelligent and seem to feel personally responsible for the photographic industry’s future. The dicussion leapt from explaining the history of digital imaging to extrapolating out into the future.

We had not realised how entwined their past has been with digital imaging. Their contribution is best summarised by saying they were significantly responsible for bringing photos to computers before digital cameras. Scott and Georgia were key players in Kodak’s Photo CD program. They then went on to apply the technology at an institutional level, building some of the biggest, most important digital image archives the world has seen. Their focus has been on creating and applying technology. They’ve worked with the likes of Apple, Microsoft, Walmart, Fuji, Kodak.

I feel the PMA needs a big set of ideas to rally behind. For it to survive we need these ideas to attract a wider membership, from small retailers to the big manufacturers. This is what PMAI intends to lead with. This is what Georgia and her team are working on.

The other side to our PMA is the networking. This has been a huge part of its success through the years. It has it given us access to thought leaders such as Guy Kawasaki and Ita Buttrose. But whether overseas or interstate, it is the opportunity to meet face to face with one another, drop our guard and share. Georgia and I see this as an integral part of going forward. Networking is critical and it needs to be driven from a local perspective primarily, and there will be international events to attend together.

The beauty of going to international events is that attendees are often so far from home, they tend to share more whilst seeing how the rest of the world works. PMAI has formed relationships with Photokina in Germany, and in the USA, the Mobile Photo Connect conference is being preceded by a PMA’s ‘Innovation Now’ two-day summit.

Working locally, I have taken ideas from the UK and Europe’s actions. They have moved forward building on their local connections to rally old and new members to run events and disseminate news.

We’ve established a group to set an agenda for a meeting this October at the Digital Show to plan for 2016 and how the PMA Australia will go forward without our Sydney office. This group has been private, but will shortly be public and we invite everybody to contribute.

Considering the energy here at PhotoCounter from both the editor, contributors and commenters, the participation at Peter Rose and John Swainston’s retirement dinner and the personal phone calls, emails and visits I’ve received, the PMA has a need to fill here in Australia. This is what we will be focusing on, with the support of PMAI.

We have to all realise this is our PMA, we have to build it for us, there is no way of turning back time. PMAI is limited in what it can give us. The challenging times and dwindling membership has got us to where we are. We must be realistic about how the PMA can affect our individual businesses; it is, and always has been, up to you. But I feel that life is much better when you share the way forward.
– Paul Atkins,
Chairman, PMA Australia


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