Promote, Protect and Inspire
© Sam Benard
The AOP was set up by a group of photographers in 1969. Today it is the leading organisation for photographers and image-makers working in the creative industries. Our membership has included some of the most influential photographers in the history of the art form. For over 50 years, members’ work has appeared in magazines, advertising campaigns, books, newspapers, magazine, exhibitions and cultural events the world over.
Photography has been the predominant conveyor of news, fashion, cultural change and political upheaval from its very first days. Born in the latter half of the 20th Century, the Association of Photographers has always been the guiding light, the standard bearer of photographers’ rights and issues. The AOP’s members have documented every fashion change, been instrumental in every advertising campaign, and spotlighted cultural and societal issues on a global scale.
Our members are our heartbeat, our pulse, we exist for them and the craft that they champion.
The AOP has always raised its game when times are hard and the last year has proved a testament to our fortitude, and to the support and passion of our member community. During the past challenging months, we have continued to build out our membership and community offering, with for example our f22 group to promote our female members, creating a safe space in which to support, nurture, collaborate with and inspire young female talent into what was perceived to be a male-dominated industry.
We have given our members of colour a voice by creating the AOP For All group, promoting photography as an industry for anyone, whatever the colour of their skin; a place to share experiences and creativity. In our drive to widen our cultural and demographic reach we have now moved the industry’s pre-eminent photographic exhibition, the AOP Awards, online so as to be able to safely welcome more applications from a wider pool of backgrounds and specialisms.
The AOP continues to work with the education sector to promote work opportunities in the image making industry, encompassing photography, CGI, technical, and roles as agents, commissioners, art directors and stylists. We are renowned as the leaders in protecting and championing the rights of photographers and image makers, and we provide many resources free of charge, including terms and conditions photographers can use when being commissioned.
The Economist’s 1843 magazine, sister publication to The Economist, has launched a mentorship programme for black photographers to help create a pipeline for black talent. 1843 magazine publishes long reads and narrative journalism, and emphasises visual storytelling in all its pieces.