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AIPP cancels State Awards, ‘suspends’ APPA

The AIPP has cancelled the Epson State Awards and paused the Australian Professional Photography Awards (APPA), while working on a new online photography contest along with other digital events.

Both the Epson State Awards and APPA are print-based photo contests, with a live judging event and awards ceremony. Both events would not be able to run with the current restrictions on public gatherings in place.

While the 2020 State Awards have been cancelled, as they would ordinarily begin later this month, the fate of APPA is undetermined. It’s scheduled to run in August 15-16 at the Aperture Photography Conference in Melbourne – far enough down the track that it’s too early to know what the situation will be like. Aperture organisers continue to promote the event.

Tony Hewitt, the AIPP Awards Committee chair, addressed the current awards agenda in a video sent to AIPP members, described the APPAs as being ‘suspended’ in 2020.

‘Awards Committee is working on a program going forward, for the next three, to six, to nine months… and we’re pretty excited to put it together,’ he said. ‘We know many of you are doing it tough, and it’s possibly going to get tougher. So we’re here to do what we can to provide support, community, connection, and maybe some inspiration along the way.’

Of note is the AIPP plans to conduct online critique sessions, train existing judges in the art of online contests, to ultimately run an online image competition in the middle of the year. It’s a standalone contest, separate from the Epson State Awards and APPA, and will be ‘unique, a bit different’.

The contest is in the early days of planning, so details are scarce. However Tony suggested there may be categories which aren’t specific to genre, such as ‘journeys’, ‘people’, or ‘RAW’ – unedited photos straight out of camera.

Taking into account the current financial hardship faced by many, all AIPP members will receive one complimentary entry each. However, the contest will only go ahead if enough members pre-purchase entries.

‘We obviously need to get some paid entries to make this competition run, and it’s our intention to offer a period of time for members to pre-purchase a block of entries. Entry fees will be reasonable, rules will be simple. But we will need people to maybe pre-purchase three, four or five entries. This will give us a ground foundational spend, which allows us to go forward. If we don’t get the amount we need to underwrite the competition, then we won’t go ahead.’

He later points out that he’s confident enough members will purchase enough entries to allow all members ‘participate and be a part of this community event by having that complimentary entry’.

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