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The Association of Photographers was originally formed in 1968 as the Association of Fashion & Advertising Photographers (AFAP, although it later became AFAEP when editorial photographers were embraced). In 1993 the Association changed its name to The Association of Photographers.
The Association was initially formed by a number of leading professionals who joined together to take on the Model Agencies, after they demanded unworkable terms that including a 17% rise in rates almost overnight and across the board. Individual photographers found these demands extremely difficult to work with, but by working together they co-ordinated a campaign that eventually culminated in a lasting agreement with the Association of Model Agents, which involved four significant steps and took 12 years to finalise.
The AOP has always recognised the many pressures photographers face and over the years has developed a number of support services. It saw the effects of the three-day week on members and later fought attempts by the unions to introduce a "closed shop", in the 1970's. It saw successes and expansion in the 1980's during which it started to fight for another cause, and 8 years later was rewarded with the passing of the Copyright Designs & Patents Act 1988.
The Association continued to grow and in 1984 launched the Photographers Awards and purchased its own premises in Domingo Street, where it opened its first public gallery, extended in 1989. In the early 1990's the Association saw its member's weather the last recession and in 1994 published the 1st edition of Beyond the Lens, now in it's 3rd edition.
In 1997 it launched its web site, following the trends introduced by the digital age, which by this time had taken a grip on photography as a whole and introduced perhaps the biggest changes since celluloid replaced glass as a medium on which to record images. Since then, technology has totally changed the manner in which so many people now interact with photography and images.
In 1998 the Association moved to larger premises in Leonard Street and in 2012 to Downham Road, where it now resides, and from where it relaunched it's website.
Today, as much as ever before, the Association is continuing its quest to promote, protect and fight for the rights of individual's to protect their rights. Most recently, working with the photographic community, the Association fought for and succeeded in clause 43 being removed from the Digital Economy Bill. It is currently looking at the problem of Orphan Works; submitting to the UK Government reviews of Intellectual Property and preparing for the possibility of a new copyright legislation, which the current Government have pledged to introduce.