Association of Photographers shuts down London gallery (update2)

June 1, 2011

The Association of Photographers (AoP) has today confirmed that it has sold its building in London – a decision partly fuelled by the ?growth of online galleries?.

The AoP will shut down its gallery in August after 25 years of continuous operation, 13 of which have been at Leonard Street, London EC2A where the organisation is currently based.

In a statement, the AoP said: ?With the growth of online galleries and other means of disseminating work, demand from members to use the gallery has fallen to a trickle over the last few years, leading the board to suggest that the resources required to keep it open could be better channelled into other activities that provide far stronger benefits to the membership as a whole.?

In an interview with Amateur Photographer (AP), the AoP’s managing director Kingsley Marten added: ‘Before the digital revolution and the internet, if you wanted to show your work you had to invite someone to look at it on a wall. Ten or fifteen years later that need is not so strong.’

Marten insisted that the decision was a ‘positive’ move for the association’s 1,500 members.

He said he wants the AoP to attract more members after the loss of around 300 since the onset of the recession.

Marten told AP that he is keen to promote the AoP’s core values which include providing a ‘single voice’ on issues such as orphan works and running competitions.

The AoP plans to stage a series of exhibitions at different locations in London from the end of September – each featuring winners of the AoP?s awards programme.

?We will continue to hold our monthly career talks, portfolio critiques and one-off seminars in suitable and appropriate spaces, borrowed or hired for the event,? adds the AoP statement.

The AoP hopes, eventually, to find offices nearby to use as its future base. In the meantime, it is able to remain at Leonard Street, by leasing back the space there over the coming year.

In its statement the AoP adds that the ‘business of photography has never been tougher’, adding, ‘there are huge pressures facing our members and the industry as a whole. It is fundamentally important that we continue to support our members in every way we can’.

The AoP began life in 1968, as the Association of Fashion and Advertising Photographers.

It launched a Photographers Awards programme in 1984, and campaigns on a number of photography-related issues, including copyright.

The AoP has around 1,000 full members, who each pay an annual subscription of £315. The rest of the membership consists of students and photographic assistants.

Marten said the gallery closure will not mean job losses. The AoP currently employs around 10 full-time staff.

The decision to close the AoP Gallery was agreed by members at a meeting held earlier this year.

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