While the AIPP in 2021 seems to have been in a coma, communications-wise, Inside Imaging looked for signs of life and found them! Eventually.
Radical change hit the AIPP when ‘Chapters’ replaced the State Council structure earlier this year. They are formed by groups of at least five people sharing an image-making interest from within or outside the AIPP. Chapters are ‘self-managed’, with an unspecified degree of financial independence to organise events and other initiatives.
The Institute invited non-professional organisations, such as camera clubs, to apply to become AIPP Chapters. These constitution-changing decisions were made without member consultation.
‘Everyone can jump in, including amateurs,’ AIPP board member responsible for communications, Felisha Mina, told Inside Imaging back in February. ‘We’re taking away the word “professional” – so long as you’re image makers. It doesn’t matter, so long as you’re taking a photo you can be part of the whole thing.’
However, the word ‘Professional’ is still in the organisation’s name. ‘In name only’ perhaps?
Since the radical change of direction, AIPP Chapters have apparently proliferated while not making a noticeable impact: An outsider peering over the AIPP’s high walls could well assume the Institute isn’t up to much besides devising a couple of photo contests. (Not something the photographic community is in desperate need of!)
While the AIPP Digest blog last year featured a bi-monthly ‘President’s Message‘ along with regular e-news, it is now barely ticking along. The AIPP website homepage has remained stagnant since the ‘New Look’, with the Silver Lining Awards results from April 2021 still a headline. No word on other activities, such as advocacy efforts or upcoming events.
Inside Imaging‘s attempts to contact AIPP board members, including the elusive Chair, Les Morrison, have been ignored. This is a first – even the National Office under Peter Myers, often criticised for lacking transparency and communication, always fielded questions from us. It appears the barricades have been pulled up. Rude? Perhaps. Unprofessional? Definitely.
But news is something someone somewhere doesn’t want widely known, which makes the AIPP intrinsically newsworthy. So having been given the silent treatment, we trawled ASIC for signs of life and to our surprise discovered that the AIPP has been keeping itself, um, productive by registering new business names. Over 20 of them in the last seven months! And here they all are:
AIPP ADELAIDE AND REGIONAL SA CHAPTER
AIPP AUSTRALIAN COMMERCIAL CHAPTER
AIPP BRISBANE CHAPTER
AIPP CANBERRA CHAPTER
AIPP EQUINE PHOTOGRAPHERS CHAPTER
AIPP GREATER ADELAIDE CHAPTER
AIPP GREATER MELBOURNE CHAPTER
AIPP GREATER SYDNEY CHAPTER
AIPP LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CHAPTER
AIPP MACARTHUR CHAPTER
AIPP MORNINGTON PENINSULA CHAPTER
AIPP NATURE AND WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY CHAPTER
AIPP NEWCASTLE/HUNTER CHAPTER
AIPP PERTH CHAPTER
AIPP PERTH COMMERCIAL CHAPTER
AIPP TOP END CHAPTER
AIPP WA EASTERN REGIONAL CHAPTER
AIPP WA EDUCATION CHAPTER
AIPP WA FINE ART PORTRAIT CHAPTER
AIPP WA WOMENS PHOTOGRAPHY CHAPTER
AIPP WOMEN IN PHOTOGRAPHY
There are some rather odd omissions from the list of registered Chapters. No State or Territory other than the Northern one has a registered Chapter, including Victoria New South Wales, Queensland, ACT, Tasmania, and Western Australia. However all capital cities, excluding Hobart and Darwin, have a Chapter. Despite the AIPP board justifying Chapters due to regional members being left behind by city-centric State Councils, there are only three ‘regional’ Chapters: suburban Macarthur, Newcastle/Hunter, and WA Eastern Regional.
There are no Wedding, Events, Newborn, or Family Portraiture Chapters, but there are Nature and Wildlife, Landscape Photography, and Equine Photographers Chapter. There are Women in Photography and a WA Womens Chapter. Western Australians have mobilised to create a few niche groups, such as WA Fine Art Portrait, WA Education, WA Womens, Perth Commercial Chapter, while other states have not.
Inside Imaging also found some Chapters, such as the Northern Queensland Chapter, are not yet registered with ASIC, but are active on Facebook
The AIPP hasn’t disclosed the internal arrangement between the Institute and the apparently autonomous Chapters. The AIPP hasn’t articulated the benefits and shortcomings of forming a Chapter.
For instance, would the AIPP offer a small parcel of money to five image-making friends with smartphones living in Victoria’s west coast if they expressed an interest in forming a Chapter? Or do they pay a registration fee? What’s the deal?
If a Chapter event runs at a considerable financial loss, will the Institute cover the losses? On the flip side, does the AIPP take a cut of profitable events? Do profitable Chapters subsidise unprofitable Chapters? What incentive is there for an independent camera club to come under AIPP branding?
Anyone with answers to these mystifying questions is welcome to contact email@example.com