PMA and APPA

I am still reeling from another great PMA and APPA convention. The PMA (Photo Marketing Association) is made up of photographic retailers and wholesalers, mostly camera stores and print providers. APPA on the other hand, is the Australian Professional Photography Awards, which is judged in the middle of the PMA trade show. The trade show attracted 20,000 visitors, and it covered most of the Melbourne Exhibition Centre (Jeff's Shed) and ran for three days. The visitors were mostly general public, but a big swag of the professional industry made the pilgramage to the largest photoshow in the southern hemisphere.

The APPA judging is intense, and made more so by it's location on the show floor. Interested viewers were stuffed 10 deep watching four panels of five judges look at thousands of images then , score, debate, and award. The results are slowly filerting out, and tonight is the gala awards dinner, the fifth and final night of partying...We will find out who got the highest scoring print, who won what category and who is Professional Photographer of the Year.

APPA really benefits from the exposure the tradeshow brings. APPA entrants are mostly AIPP (Australian Institute of Professional Photography) members. They are working photographers who are trying hard to raise their practise and improve their photography. The industry must educate the general public as to what it takes to be a professional photographer, and what is a great photograph. This show helps define and promote our industry members.

As a printing service we are having a lot of success at both state and nationally with our client's entries. This year Hilary Hann won Fine Art Photographer of the year with her portfolio of four images. Congratulations Hilary!

In paralell to the judging and tradeshow are a series of lectures run by even more indusrty bodies. Consider these: APCI, DIMA, PSPA, PIEA, PMA, AIPP, IDEA. There is a smogesboard to choose from.

As an indication of speaker quality, the IDEA group (the body that runs the show itself) secured AJ Riebli, a production manager at Pixar Studios. AJ had is not a public speaker, but he makes animated features such as The Incredibles, Finding Nemo and Cars. Opportunities to speak with people like this are rare. AJ walked us through the process of making La Luna, Pixar's recently Oscar nominated short film.

AJ wenth through the process from inception to final production, he discussed everything from sketching and modeling characters to lighting and special effects, we all felt closer to probably the worlds largest creative organism, Pixar studios. In no other industry are more creatives wrangled on one task, and AJ is one of the wranglers.

Last year, we were graced with the presence of Ita Butrose, she spoke about her life in business. Another amazing chance to learn from someone who has made so much from their life.

Strangely, both AJ and Ita's sessions were not full. The reason is that the PMA membership is dwindling due to sales moving on-line and through lack of printing. The PMA recognises that the tide has turned, wisely they are not attempting to stop the tide. They are in the process of refocussing the organisation to bring education to all photographers and promote buying locally.

There was nothing stopping the APPA and PMA attendees from seeing AJ or Ita, infact they walk past the entrance to the auditorium on the way to the judging! What is lacking is the communication between two parties who really need each other. Sometimes the solution to your problems lies with your neighbours, and you just need to lean over the fence and ask.

Paul Atkins.