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AIPP postpones 2021 awards, calls for support

The AIPP has deferred its 2021 Australian Professional Photography Awards (APPA) and State Awards, initially running in Melbourne this October, until February 2022 due to Covid-19 lockdowns.

The new APPA schedule.

It’s also called for AIPP members to enter the print-based awards, with a minimum number of submissions required to make the event financially viable.

After cancelling the 2020 print-based awards, consisting of State Awards running in capital cities and the APPA event judging at Aperture conference in Melbourne, the AIPP made plans to re-invigorate the 2021 awards with a five-day get-together at SunStudios in Melbourne. Entries were set to open this week on August 18.

‘AIPP are creating one bumper event to celebrate the print over a jam-packed five day program that includes live print judging, photography exhibitions, social events and plenty of opportunity to meet and mingle with Trade Partners, colleagues and friends. It’s been two years since we’ve all had the chance to celebrate together in person so we’re keen to make it an event to remember!

The brilliant news for entrants is you now pay one entry fee for the chance to compete for both State and National titles.

Back when this announcement was made in early 2021, Australia was in pretty good shape in terms of the pandemic. Many Covid-related restrictions adopted in 2020 had been lifted, businesses were back in operation, and the New Zealand travel bubble was in effect.

But fast forward just three months later and the country is undergoing a similar scenario to 2020. Parts of the east coast are in lockdown, including all of New South Wales, Melbourne, and parts of Queensland, with state border restrictions being enforced.

Triple digit daily case numbers along the east coast mean NSW is unlikely to emerge from its lockdown anytime soon, and travel restrictions and border closures will remain for the foreseeable future. Likewise, the Melbourne lockdown has been extended and stricter measures recently announced.

Taking this into consideration, the AIPP has deferred the awards event until March 2022, with entries now open on September 2021 and closing in November. From the recent announcement:

AIPP Awards events rely on people being able to freely travel interstate to attend, judge, volunteer and celebrate together in-person – the heart of our awards events. Many of our members are restricted from travel or are uncomfortable to do so due to the effects of the global pandemic. As such, a practical decision has been made to defer AIPP Awards until March 2022.

This is a deferment – not a cancellation. As the 2020 Tokyo Olympics have run in 2021, so too will the 2021 AIPP Awards run in 2022. With summer weather and the vaccine roll-out continued, we look forward to a safer and more stable time with less restrictions in place. We want to provide as many members as possible a fair opportunity to be a part of our most exciting community event.

The blog post ends with a plea to members to enter the awards to make the contest financially viable, with a promise to provide entrants full refunds if it’s cancelled due to a lack of entries. The AIPP acknowledges the ‘various hardships’ from the past 18 months may make entry difficult, especially considering it requires printing, postage, and associated travel costs.

In previous years, the AIPP didn’t appear to have issues generating enough entries to run the print awards. But even pre-pandemic, the AIPP was in a financially vulnerable state with it being described in 2019 as being in a ‘rebuilding phase‘. At the time it was projected APPA would run at a loss, leaving the Institute’s bank account at the ‘lowest… [it has been] in some time’.

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