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PMA to dissolve, pool resources with PMDA

The Photo Marketing Association is to fold as an independent trade organisation and ‘unite and pool our membership and resources’ with the PMDA – the Photoimaging Manufacturers and Distributors Association.

small-GabyThere has been no formal public announcement, although there were strong rumours about changes at PMA at the IPIC 2016 conference in Las Vegas two weeks ago.

In fact, PMA president Gaby Mullinax, Fullerton Photographics, (pictured right) ‘went public’ with the news – beyond the circle of remaining PMA members – on the IPI members’ forum, with the following statement:
‘It is with mixed feelings that I post this today. Over the past year and a half I was honored to serve as your PMA president. It was my privilege to know and work with so many of you as friends and colleagues. I truly respect your energy, creativity and passion for what you do.

‘As a result of the immense ‘sea change’ in photographic technology and the unimaginable market dislocations that have resulted, surviving participants in our industry have been forced to change and adapt in order to address new and emerging business opportunities…and industry trade associations are no exception.

‘We are evolving because our industry is changing.

‘After much effort and thought, there really is no way to continue PMAI as it is structured today. For some time we’ve been in discussion with PMDA concerning a plan to unite and pool our membership and resources. We now have a plan that has been approved by our management and Board of Trustees, and you’ll be hearing more about the ‘next generation’ shortly. As a matter of fact some of you, as current PMA members, may have already received a ballot asking for your vote on this matter.

‘In closing, as sad as we are to see a once mighty association dissolve, we should all be excited about the future of photography. Please keep in touch my friends and keep doing what you do so well.’

The PMDA was founded in 1939 as an association to represent photographic wholesalers. It currently has just 15 members including most of the camera companies, Sigma and Tamron, and a few others.

The PMA was founded even earlier, in 1926, and has represented the interests of the industry as a whole with a sharp focus, until recently, on independent specialists. Strong levels of membership by retailers in the US and around the world (including Australia from the ’80s), and high-profile trade events, positioned PMA as an association with international stature.

A lack of wholesaler and retailer support in staging industry trade shows over the past few years led to a shrinking of PMA resources and a dramatic restructure through 2015 which saw retailing dynamo Gaby Mullinax take on the presidency and ex-Kodak and Fujifilm senior executive Georgia McCabe fill the executive directors’ role. A new agenda was set and innovations introduced, including the outsourcing of most member services.

Unfortunately, the new PMA was unable to convince members to rejoin the organisation in sufficient numbers to avoid the situation we see today.

It’s understood there will be a formal announcement from PMA before the end of the week.


  1. alan logue alan logue July 26, 2016

    If Gaby and Georgia couldn’t do it, no one could!
    They took on a job which was almost impossible, but they tried.
    The final outcome is a good one and still gives those of us in the industry a chance to work as a group and pool resources.
    However, I believe for retailers, the IPI group has taken up where PMA left off. Sure, they might not be the ones to go to government and lobby for the industry, but they are there to support photo retailers into the future.
    After attending IPIC, I feel we have a great group of people supporting each other, swapping ideas, and offering networking opportunities, just like “the good old days”!.
    I’m sorry to see PMA go, but very pleased to be associated with the IPI team who will take their place.

  2. Robbo Robbo July 27, 2016

    So the curtain has fallen on an exciting and dynamic era that spaned almost 100 years. To all who supported the PMA over that time thanks it is not fogotten. To those who supported me durring my 30 odd years in the association many heart felt thanks. Remember with pride our achievements. Remember with great feelings of love and camaraderie those no longer with us , those bonds formed in the PMA family still live on. There is strength in numbers so get behind the industry groups that will rise to take to the new stage!

  3. Paul Atkins Paul Atkins July 28, 2016

    Thanks Keith, I’ve been watching this unfold and I am disappointed in seeing the PMA end. I am proud and impressed at the efforts made to reinvent but even with all members signing up, PMA would be short of it’s financial commitments gained from it’s grand past. The giant tradeshows funded the association we had.

    Robbo is right, strength in numbers is the essence of it all. I also think we do need an international connection, perhaps IPI is it, perhaps IA will be.

    Regardless, I think Aussies want to gather on our soil. John Swainston and I failed to fund an event in this late August, but I am sure it would have attracted attendees.

    What next? Over to you.

  4. John Swainston John Swainston July 28, 2016

    I am not surprised – very saddened, but as Robbo so rightly says, those relationships will remain for a few years yet! This is a good pragmatic outcome and PMDA has put on excellent educational and social events for years. Interestingly it’s the model that Maryanne Dransfield and the former PMA members have come up with in New Zealand, partnering with the Wholesale and Prolab sector. I attended their inaugural meeting a couple of months back and it can easily form a loose partnership for international connections. IPIC is another educational and collegiate group that has filled the void. Now we just have to make it happen in Australia, with IDEA and forward-thinking partner-retailers.

  5. Paul Curtis Paul Curtis August 2, 2016

    When it became evident from events in the States four years ago, I am sad to say that I could see this day coming. This was why when I rewrote the constitution from PICA to IDEA, i introduced a facility to open the IDEA membership to all retailers. It was viewed by some at the time as a sinister move, but it does now mean that if IDEA has the will it can welcome retail memberships. The Australian Industry is still strong enough to stand on its own two feet and all that is the lacking is the drive of some fresh new talent.

  6. Lincoln Gray Lincoln Gray August 5, 2016

    Interesting to read the comments of Alan, Richard, John and the Pauls. They, along with a number of other people, were responsible for much of the good work that made PMA an important asset to the industry. Anyone in Australia who made a living from photography over the past 35 years owes these people a vote of thanks. I’m sorry that PMA no longer exists but I’ll still keep the Australian PMA badge in the ‘memory box’.

  7. Bruno Polito Bruno Polito August 8, 2016

    John Swainston & Paul Atkins are correct in noting the viability of joining IPI Marketing Group (international Photo Imagers)
    They have survived and thrived for nearly 40 years, constantly maintaining relevance to the photo industry and its members of independent photo imagers.
    So much so, that their theme for this year’s International Photo Imaging Conference (IPIC) in Vegas, was #fearlessReinvention. And it delivered exactly that.
    This is why Independent Photo Supplies (IPS) have partnered with and represented IPI, and were key in opening (and driving) international membership in Australia and NZ
    Key Prolabs and retail specialty independents are already on board, in Australia and NZ (through the International Membership offered via IPS)
    and they have benefited from the marketing collateral, online photo product templates, member forums, educational offerings, and of course, the premier international imaging conference (IPIC) in Vegas.
    There is life after PMA, it’s called IPI, and it’s waiting for you to join. Just click on the following link for more details on International Membership:

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