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AIPP replaces State Councils with Chapters

The AIPP is undergoing a major structural overhaul by replacing its long-standing State Councils, an integral component of running the Institute, with new genre and geographical-based self-managed groups called Chapters.

The AIPP National Board for 2021.

The AIPP Chapters will be groups of at least five members, and membership is open to anyone within and outside the Institute. The first Chapters will be the former State Councils, and AIPP members can form new chapters. Interestingly, the Institute also plans to invite existing non-member organisations, such as camera clubs, to apply to become an AIPP chapter.

‘Prior to this point, the AIPP was traditionally run by State Councils,’ AIPP board member, Felisha Mina, told Inside Imaging. ‘With operations being very state-specific, it’s quite city-centric. A lot of the Victorian events and activities were happening in Melbourne. For members outside of Melbourne, in regional Victoria, it’s not ideal only having workshops in the city. That’s part of why we wanted to make the changes. We realised there is a huge untapped market out there, not just geographically, but in other areas of interest.’

An AIPP blog post, featuring a video with Felisha, explains that the Institute felt the State-based operation offered limited value to regional members. This became clear when Covid hit, and travel restrictions were enforced. Now it’s up to members to form a chapter and create events catering to their interests.  ‘For example you might have a Doncaster Chapter, a Surry Hills Chapter, a Wedding Video Chapter or a Macro Photography Chapter. As a member you can join all the meet ups and events that happen in any Chapter of your choice.’

The Institute is aiming to expand its reach and welcome new members by introducing more AIPP-branded events running across the country.

‘We only have so much manpower. So the reasoning behind Chapters is many of them will be more self-managed. It’s really easy for members to pull together a chapter based on their interests,’ Felisha said. ‘It takes the pressure off the AIPP, and also gives people the opportunity to do whatever they want to do. Chapters act by themselves, which is really exciting. Why wait for the Institute to come up with something? As a member you can jump-start whatever chapter you like.’


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In 2018 the AIPP underwent a major restructure after members left due to the AIPP National Office and National Board having too much control. Disgruntled members demanded the AIPP decentralise and return power to State Councils, which consequently happened over the course of the year. The introduction of Chapters will further decentralise the Institute.

As previously mentioned, non-professional photography organisations can become an AIPP Chapter. ‘Everyone can jump in, including amateurs. 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,’ Felisha said. ‘We also deeply acknowledge our existing and accredited members and the importance of events, and awards as we continue to evolve and grow. Growing the membership base is a win for advocacy in representing image makers and the entire industry.’

The AIPP Board wouldn’t share how everything works internally, including the financial aspects, or the formal process for existing non-AIPP groups to become a Chapter.

9 Comments

  1. Kevin O’Daly Kevin O’Daly February 12, 2021

    This is the beginning of the end for the AIPP. It has largely become a camera club and with the ability for camera clubs to now join puts it in the same category . The State Divisions were the strength of the Institute , without them there will be no organisation, chapters could easily have been created from within divisions, take power away and there is nothing, no need, just a bunch of chapters lying on the floor with no book in mind. Of course you only need to look at the Board to understand that they actually have no understanding of how the AIPP was run and should be run. It was never a case of too centralised control simply that there was a dictator in charge in the office and had to go, the Divisions needed to be strengthened not eliminated. Good luck, the acronym now should be AIPA, Australian Institute of photography awards because that seems to be the fixation.

    • Melissa Neumann Melissa Neumann February 21, 2021

      well said Kevin

      • Hilary Wardhaugh Hilary Wardhaugh February 24, 2021

        yup, I do not se this working unless all of the AIPP becomes the Australian Institute of Photography.

  2. Melissa Melissa February 13, 2021

    Looks like the constitution doesn’t mean anything then!!

  3. Malcolm Mathieson Malcolm Mathieson February 13, 2021

    The Institute was about the “Profession” and supporting those who made a living from the craft. The Institute is little more than an expensive camera club. Sad to see. The Constitution clearly is not worth the paper it is written on.

  4. A Nnoyed A Nnoyed February 13, 2021

    Probably time to start the Australian Association of Professional Photographers.
    Where you actually have to be a professional photographer to be a member.
    Where your “status” is earned by the professionalism of your business practice not a photoshop competition.
    Where the national board actively and vocally advocates for PROFESSIONAL photography on issues that affect the industry and seeks to differentiate between people who are actual, real professional photographers whose income is dependant on the industry of professional photography and those who simply have a camera and want to make some pocket money.
    You know the sort of body the AIPP is meant to be…

  5. Chris Bekos Chris Bekos February 15, 2021

    ….”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,’ Felisha said.”……

    What does that mean for the actual AIPP Accredited PROFESSIONAL Photographer section on their website? Sound like the board is still using the credibility of the word professional, to attract new paying members, “so long as you’re taking a photo.” Expensive Camera Club.

    Do regional “Chapters” get funds, from the AIPP, for their workshops, or do they operate as separate funding bodies and regulate themselves without any regard to the AIPP constitution?

    Explains why the AIPP board didn’t provide any more information on how these “Chapters” are run financially.

    More than happy to hear from the AIPP board regarding all of the above comments.

  6. Hilary Wardhaugh Hilary Wardhaugh February 24, 2021

    I think there could be more ex members than actual members these days.

    The market has definitely changed and I guess allowing lots of extra members in, including hobbyists in is good for boosting the financials, but that comes at a cost of using the words “Accredited” and “Professional”. Surely, it would be unethical to promote an organisation with those two words when many members are hobbyists.

    As someone who worked on the AIPP Constitution Committee, a previous Board Member and ACT Council Member (20 years!) and ACT President (x2) I cannot see how the Institute can carry on in current climate.

    I have friends on the Board but I fear there is a distinct lack of diversity and herein lies a problem. The lack of diversity and recognition of the role of women within the organisation is why I quit in 2019.

  7. Eric Victor Eric Victor February 27, 2021

    When it became obvious that the “Office” was sending the Institute to bankruptcy, a few of us decided to stop the rot. The thought of losing such an important structure in the life of professional photographers was unacceptable. Maybe we made a mistake and should have let it pass away into the pages of history. But no, the spirit was alive.
    Is it still today?
    The burden of incorporated entity with Boards and all its complexity put us into the corporate World. Nice illusion/ delusion, but it was never us.
    Over the years boards struggled with the question of how wide the door should be left open. Do we allow anyone or do we restrict the association to a small group of dedicated, outstanding photographers?
    I am a believer of the latter, and I take my clues from the AIA ( Australian Institute of Architecture). They are not handing out chocolate medals, but ensuring that good architecture survives the greed and expediency of developers and others.
    The AiPP should be there to recognise those who have achieved in their professional lives and have promoted inspiring photography.
    Let’s accept the economics of today .
    Let’s be a small association with a great voice.
    Let’s promote good photography, great fellowship and honour those who are achievers.
    Let’s run it simply ! We know that it can be, because years ago it was .

    For many of us the true spirit of the association is the camaraderie, the cold beer at the bar, the laughs.
    Let’s go back to basics, with a respect for the core and reasons for the Association.
    Above all let’s keep it simple.

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