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Schools photographers look to join AIPP

The Professional Schools Photographers Association (PSPA) is consulting with members following discussions with the Australian Institute of Professional Photographers (AIPP) on a merger between the two groups.

David Ryall, acting PSPA chairperson:
David Ryall, acting PSPA chairperson: ‘… a need for a robust accreditation process.’ (Pic: Bruno Kongawoin, Lightbent Images.)

A group of around 10 schools photography businesses met in Melbourne with AIPP president Ross Eason, and executive director Peter Myers, and Paul Atkins from PMA, on October 17 during The Digital Show to discuss the future of the PSPA.

‘Our former parent body, the Photo Marketers Association, has had a change in circumstances over the past few years and is not currently in a position to support our needs in Australia, a key one being the need for a robust accreditation process,’ David Ryall (Photo Hendriks, Perth) wrote to PSPA members after the meeting.

The ending of the relationship with PMA was by mutual agreement. Following the closure of the PMA Australia office, it was no longer able to provide membership and administrative services to local schools photographers.

With around 30 current members and a potential pool of around 70 members, the notion of running the PSPA as a self-governing entity was considered, but discounted as not feasible.

‘We all want to be a part of an organisation that is robust and will forward the objectives and concerns of our industry, and allow us to continue to connect and network,’ wrote David. ‘I believe that there will continue to be a lot of change in our industry and that the only way to prosper during that change is to keep talking with each other so that we can grow together.’

Peter Myers asked the PSPA members at the meeting to consider what kind of membership structure and offering they wanted for a new association. A working committee was formed to consider the question. It’s members were David Ryall (Photo Hendriks, WA); Mark Thomas & Michael Reed (Arthur Reed Photography, VIC); Laura Ferguson (Kapture Photography, WA); Greg Taylor (Creative Exposures, Vic); Cliff Dykes (Cliff Dykes Photography, NSW) and Tony Wouters (School Pix, Vic)

Another meeting was held on November 27, ‘to draw up a wish list of what the new structure would look like.’

‘Over the next two weeks there will be more consultation with members and then back to Peter Myers,’ said David Ryall.

Given the AIPP’s agreement with the PSPA’s ideas on how it would integrate with the larger association, ‘it’s then out to the broader member and non-member schools photography community.’

David Ryall said that the PSPA wanted to maintain a business membership structure, where the PSPA represented schools photography businesses rather than individual photographers, and photographers employed by the businesses went through a form of AIPP accreditation – including submitting a portfolio – reflecting the criteria and standards required of a professional schools photographer.

‘We want to maintain the PSPA brand to the public as we want to be identified as professional schools photographers, ‘ explained David, noting that the precedent for this was the ACMP, which earlier this year joined forces with the AIPP, but maintained the ACMP identity.

While there are perhaps up to 70 schools photography businesses in Australia, there are several hundred individual schools photographers, which for the AIPP represents a consolidation of its role as the major organisation for professional photographers in Australia.

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