This year is a very special one for the Association of Photographers (AOP) Awards — it’s 30 years since the main Photographers Awards was launched and the Association has recognised the landmark date by transforming its whole Awards programme.
The Photographers Awards were created in 1983 to encourage creative exploration and to give members a way to exhibit their skills to commissioners and others in the industry.
In the intervening years they have gone from strength to strength and become the benchmark for photographic competitions and ‘the’ awards to covet for professional and aspiring photographers throughout the UK and beyond.
President of the AOP, Simon Leach comments, “In the 30 years since their inception there have been year-on-year changes to the Awards and in that same period there have been many major developments in photography so it is appropriate to re-evaluate and revitalise the programme. As well as building on the buzz we’ve generated in the last couple of years, the overall business environment has also made it timely to review how we deploy our resources. The solution we’ve arrived at enables us to consolidate the Awards and put them on a sure footing for the next 30 years.”
Awards Manager Charlie Thomas who has been at the heart of the planning process, working with the Awards Working Group and the AOP Board, explains the format this year’s Awards will take;
“The Photographers Awards will be a more focused scheme to enter with a range of categories in single and series but with no distinction between commissioned and non-commissioned. One exciting addition for this year is a special 30th Anniversary Lifetime Achievement Award. Post the Awards presentation and party we’re opening up the Photographers Awards exhibition to the public and this year we’ll be running it over several days in an exciting venue with higher footfall in the East End of London. This extension gives commissioners and visitors with busy diaries more flexibility to see the work and more time to network.
“Our other Awards will be consolidated into one open competition, the AOP Open Awards, exhibiting at the same venue as the Photographers Awards but with a separate identity, exhibition, presentation and party. We’re encouraging all Assistant and Student members and non-members to enter this carefully refocused scheme and in recognition of the change we’ll be creating Assistant, Student and Photographer member awards within the Open with some very special prizes for the winners.”
Simon Leach adds, “Running an expanded Open Awards in this way enables us to have a tighter scheme overall, offering entrants the benefits of wider commissioner and public access plus a higher profile. The Association will also benefit from economies of scale when it comes to venue hire, staffing and administration and the opportunity for more focused marketing. Overall we’ll have a higher impact which is a win win situation and a healthy way forward for all concerned.”
Charlie Thomas concludes, “Much of our planning for 2013 has taken member and judges’ feedback into account but we’re always pleased to receive suggestions which can be used in future planning.
“The Awards will be launched in April so we’ll be in touch again then!”