The AIPP Event

Many of you know that last week I was in Hobart for The Event which is the national conference run by the AIPP for professional, emerging and student photographers. This is the third time I’ve attended The Event and as much as I enjoy it there are also aspects of the conference that make me want to pull my hair out from its roots.

I’ll start with my highlights, in past years I’ve gone on my own but this year I travelled with my two friends Tess and Lauren. We had a wonderful time finding interesting places to eat (we all love good food), exploring Hobart (we would have done more of this if it wasn’t so cold and rainy) and hanging out in our hotel (a loft which was converted from an old Mill). We also had a great time hanging out with new friends (Katie & Matt) and debriefing about all the new things we were learning. My second big highlight was seeing Jennifer Hudson talk, it was wonderful…I really don’t have words to describe how much I enjoyed it (the image above is one of hers…freaking amazing).

Now to what I didn’t enjoy…unfortunately it’s the same things that I didn’t enjoy last year, and the year before that. It’s the way the old photographers bash the new photographers (not physically, just with harsh words)…I’ve experienced multiple times photographers from the stage making comments such as “if you aren’t a fulltime photographer you aren’t a true professional” or “shoot and burn photographers aren’t professionals and they are ruining the industry”. It can truly crush your spirit hearing these comments from people you respect and I’ve gone away from some sessions feeling about as important as poop on the speakers shoe. I work hard, really hard to make my business successful, my photos beautiful and most of all my clients happy…but unfortunately in some people’s eyes I’m still not what a professional photographer should be.

This post isn’t meant to bash the AIPP, it’s just meant to let people know how I feel…cause maybe you’re feeling this way too? If you do, I want you to know that you and your business have value, even if you aren’t working fulltime yet or if you only offer digital packages. There are always going to be people who put us down, but hopefully it won’t be people from our own industry for much longer.


Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

Israel Smithreply
June 25, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Hey Amanda,

Don’t let it get you down. I remember when everything went digital, there were the same conversations from film shooters (I was one of them, scorning digital as an abomination).

I’ve also been one of those people whinging about shoot & burn photography. Now I’m starting to offer it, because it’s what the market is demanding AND because it serves how I want to work.

Ultimately all that matters is whether you’re staying true to your own definition of success. Keep your clients happy, earn good enough money, produce art, love what you do… What else matters, honestly?

You’re clearly already successful at all that stuff, so don’t take it personally. The comments you’re hearing are coming from a place of fear and aversion to change.

Time will sort that lot out – either they’ll embrace the change, or they won’t be around.

To quote good friend Ray Schembri: “Change is mandatory. Growth is optional.”

Be well,
Israel. xo

June 25, 2013 at 2:35 pm
– In reply to: Israel Smith

Oh Israel, you are so encouraging…there needs to be more photographers in this world like you!

Katrina Edgarreply
June 25, 2013 at 6:17 pm

Hi Amanda, It was lovely to meet you, however briefly, at The Event.
I have to admit to feeling the same in a few of the sessions. Although I had a similar reaction to you, now upon reflection I think that its just another example of how people definition of art, success and beauty come from such a personal place. I felt a little patronised by one speaker for whom I have the greatest respect but I agree with Israel, if we stay true to ourselves, keep delivering the goods and doing what we love, success will be defined by our own parameters and not someone else’s. Your work is beautiful and you are carving your own niche. Keep at it please, we all love your work. x

June 26, 2013 at 9:43 am
– In reply to: Katrina Edgar

It was nice to meet you too! Great advice 🙂

July 5, 2013 at 8:58 am

Hi Amanda,

I’m returning to the industry after starting a family and for years I’ve been confronted by the opinions from the senior members of the AIPP. It’s sad to read they haven’t changed since I began 20+ years ago.

Israel, I agree that success can be defined by your own parameters, however as a governing body, the behaviour from older AIPP members should be admonished and abolished for good!

It appears time hasn’t “sorted it out”. This behaviour is endemic and the only way it can change is if the perpetrators are gently asked to move on and make way for mentors who can encourage and support ALL highly talented photographers.

Peta x

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