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18 December 2020

We are very sad to hear of the passing of Mike Laye. Mike was not just a passionate campaigner and an inspiring photographer – he was an important character in the history of the AOP and played an important role in its shape and development as well as having a significant positive impact on all photographers, not just the AOP membership, in relation to the protection and enforcement of creators’ rights.


© Mike Laye


Mike was Chair of the AOP from 1989 to 1990 and was also a very well-respected member of many committees and working groups including the AOP’s vocal Magazine Action Group (MAG) which campaigned successfully for copyright reform, ultimately resulting in the 1988 Copyright, Designs & Patents Act, which changed the copyright landscape for all creators, for the better.

Mike was at the forefront of the ‘digital revolution’ – such as we thought of it back then – when digital imaging was looking like becoming a reality which photographers needed to embrace and he was pivotal in getting the very first AOP website up and running as well as driving the implementation of computerised admin for the AOP team, well before many other businesses had thought of doing so. He was also able to get the very first online entry system in place for the AOP Awards – genuinely cutting edge stuff at the time.

In addition to his photographic, managerial and digital skills, Mike was involved in so much else: As a previous Director of the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Arts), he was responsible for giving The Clash their second and third gigs!; had his own photographic work published in the seminal The Face magazine and collaborated long-term with the film-maker, Derek Jarman, long before the word ‘collab’ became a part of our contemporary lexicon.

He will be greatly missed by all of us at the AOP, past and present.


December 2020

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