Australian Associated Press (AAP) plans to assemble the ‘dream team’ of sports photographic talent, recruiting three award-winning photographers, along with a new head of photography.
Former News Corp national photo manager, Neil Bennett, has taken the AAP top executive photography job. Multi-award-winning sports photographer, Michael Dodge, Nikon-Walkley Sports photographer of the year, Scott Barbour, and horse racing photographer, Vince Caligiuri, are also joining the AAP team.
‘The priority as of today is to assemble a “dream team” of Australian and international sports photographic talent as we head into the finals of major competitions series and as national teams ramp up efforts for international events,’ said AAP editor-in-chief, Tony Gillies.
There hasn’t been much ‘good news’ when it comes to photo departments at Australian mainstream media outlets. Practically all departments have shrunk, with full-time staffers losing their jobs as struggling mastheads opt to source news photos from other means such as freelancers, journalists and citizen journalists, stock agencies, and news wire services.
The numbers of photography job losses at Fairfax and News Corp is pretty significant – in the hundreds. If there is a silver lining it’s that the reliance on news wire services allows companies like AAP, and probably Getty, to build a stronger photography department.
Bennett says he will implement sweeping changes to the AAP’s photo department, with the agency building a team who are ‘committed to quality, creativity and speed of delivery’.
‘We have something special here; a team of talented professionals all very keen to make a difference,’ Bennett said in a press release. ‘With the marriage of brilliant creative photography and dynamic breaking news, will mean so much to audiences on all platforms around the country.’
The AAP claims it’s the largest provider of editorial images in Australia, distributing 4.9 million photos and employing over 100 photographers, who undertake 10,000 assignments annually.
The new recruits will add to the AAP’s roster of sport photographers, joining the likes of Dean Lewins, Lukas Coch, Dave Hunt, Dan Himbrechts and other contributors.