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IPF Newsletter - May 2020

Welcome to the May newsletter of the Irish Photographic Federation.

In these strange times it's hard for us photographers with the current restrictions due to Covid -19, and the Coronavirus pandemic, what I mean is the days are longer and the weather has been very kind and all the seasonal photographic opportunities are coming into view especially the glorious bluebells and the lush green that is coming in to view all around in the landscape. However, we have to stay positive and hopefully in the coming months the projected plan to get the country back to some sort of normality will prevail and we can get to enjoy and photograph the beauty that’s all around us.

I note from talking to some camera club members that clubs are using Internet technology video communications like Zoom to communicate and host meetings which are great to keep in contact and organize club events to keep members involved during these strange times and so I am pleased to see that we have an article in this months newsletter from Kilkenny Club Member and fellow Council member Andy Magan on how it operates and how to set it up for clubs.

We also have an interesting article from Derek Fannin, an honorary member of Drogheda Camera Club giving some advice on Portrait Photography.

We have updates from Council Coordinators on events that will have to be deferred to another time. We will hopefully be re-scheduling these events later in the year and will keep you all informed through the IPF Website and Social Media Platforms.
Finally, we have an interesting article from Cork Photographer and Blarney Camera Club member and fellow Council Member Bill Power who recently achieved his EFIAP Platinum and some background on his photography and other interest.

I wish you all the very best, stay safe and well,

Kind Regards,
Dominic Reddin
National PresidentIrish Photographic Federation

Distinction Updates

With the Government restrictions in place and looking to the future, the IPF Council cannot see a distinction sitting before (at least) November 2020.

What's Inside this Month?

  • Distinctions Update
  • National Club Championships 2020
  • Drogheda Photographic Club
  • Judging Photographs by Derek Fannin - Drogheda Photographic Club
  • Kilkenny Photographic Society, Meetups on-line with Zoom
  • FIAP News - May 2020
  • Bill Power FIPF, EFIAP/p, MPSA, ARPS
  • IPF Lecture / Judging Expenses Guidelines
  • IPF Awards - Important Update.

National Club Championships 2020 Update

This country and indeed the whole world has been turned upside down since then and we are now living in a situation that nobody ever envisaged.

As you know the IPF very quickly advised all Clubs to desist from holding meetings, for health and safety reasons, very early in this crisis and a decision was also taken to postpone the National Club Championships, the May Distinctions sitting and the AGM in light of the information to hand at that time and as we all know now, sadly, things moved very quickly in a not so good way since then.
We will continue to take note of health services advice now and in the future and decide at some future time if we can, in some way or another, consider running the club championships.

I just hope that every club member is safe and healthy and that you all stay that way.
Every effect has a cause and I just hope that when this virus is finally beaten back that the powers that be with regard to the health of the peoples of the world do a very forensic analysis of the origins of this horrible disease and ensure that whatever conditions caused it will be dealt with in a way that will ensure that such a cause will not happen again.

Sheamus O'Donoghue
National Club Championships Co-ordinator

Drogheda Photographic Club

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic Drogheda Photographic Club, like all Clubs in the country, is closed until further notice. It is very unlikely that the Club will re-open before the end of this year’s photographic season.

As a way of keeping in touch with each other, we have set up a WhatsApp group for Club members which are proving to be very popular with contributions from many members. It gives members an opportunity to share their thoughts and photographs with others. Members also give feedback on images uploaded to WhatsApp.

We are organising virtual meetings via Zoom and have so far held three very successful meetings with a high level of participation by club members, including one honorary member who is now living in South Africa! We are going to continue the Zoom meetings for the rest of the season so we can keep in touch with each other. Members are advised by email of the Zoom meetings and provided with the necessary information to participate

Remember to STAY AT HOME and KEEP SAFE!

Judging Photographs by Derek Fannin -

Drogheda Photographic Club

We are all in a lock-down situation so I wrote this to promote dialogue to help pass the time and hopefully some will take note and critique my suggestions

How do I assess or judge a photograph? First and foremost it must have visual impact, make me want to look more closely then I’ll assess its merits,
Composition, quality, presentation

Visual impact will vary depending on likes and dislikes that’s why it's always best to have multiple judges for competitions.

Composition plays an important roll on the impact of the photo. It's something that can be learned and applied, but remember it's in your hands, should you wish to apply your own interpretation do so. First, know the rules then apply your own. It’s important you create your own style over time and persevere.

Quality, is it sharp, with a good tonal range, well printed, all are important factors.

Presentation will also influence the assessment. Note how those who you admire present there’s.

If you consider yourself someone who wants to improve, here are a few tips.
Learn to criticise your own work and others.
Take heed of constructive criticism and adapt
Plagiarise other photos you admire, assess how you believe it was taken and see if you can produce your own interpretation of it, but never pass it off as your own. You will learn so much from this and in time produce your own style. For many years I did exactly that and I know of many more who did the same.
The fastest way to improve is to learn from other people’s mistakes. You don’t have to waste time making them yourself, so attend as many talks and demos. as you can, always have an open mind when you attend for there is always something to learn and apply. At all levels.
It’s not enough to think you like or dislike a photo you must always determine why. Using the criteria listed will help.

Kilkenny Photographic Society

Meetups on-line with Zoom

Meetups on-line with Zoom the experiences of the KPS.
From the pen of Derville Conroy AIPF ARPS EFIAP

The KPS (Kilkenny Photographic Society) started having Zoom sessions as soon as the lockdown started. We began with the free version which works for meetings up to 40 minutes and quickly realised that we needed the paid version which works out at a very reasonable €17.20 a month with no contract.
Members can simply follow a link to get to each meeting. You can connect from a PC or from your phone. Zoom later added security meant that now you have to input a password too – but’s a very straightforward process.

Once in – anyone can share their screens which mean that members can present their work from their own PC – like showing their images in PowerPoint or showing how they do a process in Photoshop or Lightroom. Guest presenters to the club are sent the same invite/link and I can see us using this software well into the future to save competition judges having to brave travelling in bad weather conditions during the winter months.

During a meeting we encourage members to use the mute button when a presenter is speaking – it saves any embarrassment when you forget you are online and answer your phone and have an unrestrained chat that you didn’t necessarily want all other club members to hear!
You can also turn off the video so no-one can see you – if you are having a bad hair day (or month) or even for a few minutes when you run for a cup of tea or something stronger!

All in all – it’s working very well – not as good as the craic when we meet up but it’s a connection to like-minded friends in this strange discombobulated reality.
One thing is for sure – our chairman will certainly miss the “Mute all” button when we are back to meeting in real life!

Link: https://zoom.us/
Questions: if you have any additional questions – contact chairperson@kilkennyphoto.net.

FIAP News - May 2020

This year there 16 people from Ireland applied to FIAP for distinctions and all 16 have been successful.

We extend our congratulations to them on their success.

They are:

  • Kevin Day AFIAP
  • Martin Duggan AFIAP
  • Gary Loughran AFIAP
  • Brian McNamee EFIAP
  • Charlie O’Donovan EFIAP
  • Michael Strapec EFIAP
  • Ita Martin EFIAP/b
  • Christina Ní Dheaghaidh EFIAP/b
  • Anthony Demion EFIAP/s
  • Mark Taylor EFIAP/g
  • Catherine Bushe EFIAP/p
  • Joe Doyle EFIAP/p
  • Deirdre Murphy EFIAP/p
  • Morgan O’Neill EFIAP/p
  • Bill Power EFIAP/p
  • Brian Hopper EFIAP/d2
Some of these were also successful in having their images included in the FIAP Cloud Collection which can be accessed at this link ( http://collections.fiap.net )

Given the current Covid-19 situation our plans to have the presentation ceremony where these successful 16 will be presented with their certificates and pins and see the opening of an exhibition of their images are up in the air. This was originally scheduled for Saturday 06th June in the Eddie Chandler Gallery in Dublin.
When the situation becomes clearer we will re-schedule this and we will let everyone know of the new date and time.

In the meanwhile, if any affiliated club or society would like information about FIAP and the FIAP Distinctions please contact me. I have a presentation on it which I am happy to present to your members.

Finally – don’t forget the FIAP “We Stay Home” competition. This is free to enter and celebrates all our efforts in photography during this difficult time. You are invited to submit images you have taken since 15th March 2020.
See the information in the attached notice.
And – FIAP has extended the closing date for this to 31 May 2020.

Paul Stanley FIPF EFIAP/g EsFIAP
FIAP Liaison Officer for Ireland

FIAP has extended the closing date for this to 31 May 2020.




Bill Power, who along with others recently achieved EFIAP Platinum.
He is a member of the IPF Council, and of three of its committees.
We asked him if he’d share some candid thoughts with us about his journey in photography over the past decade.
Bill Power Portrait
A Bird in the Hand
C. A Secret Place
Nat 2 Amethyst Deceiver 2034
The distinction of EFIAP Platinum marks the beginning of a new chapter in my photography which began when I joined a camera club in 2010. Before that, I was taking pictures because of personal, historical and archaeological reasons. Then, on a November afternoon in 2009, I took a landscape photograph that changed everything. Without then realising it, I had captured a ‘golden hour’ moment. Afterwards, when I looked at it on the computer screen I was excited by what I’d taken and, at that moment, call it a tipping point, I decided that I wanted to learn how to take better photographs.
Ten years later, I’ve a stack of acceptances, awards and distinctions under my belt and I’ve been fortunate to judge international competitions in nine different countries. I’ve lost count of the number of Irish and international awards that I’ve won but I know it’s in several hundreds. Because of an inexplicable mistake, I made last year, I’ve lost my records of acceptances and awards between 2017 and 2019. This made applying for the EFIAP/p a far more complicated process than it would otherwise have been. From memory, I know that my total number of acceptances are over 2,500 and I have the medals and trophies to prove the rest.
Competing at any level of photography was not on my radar when I joined my first camera club. The only thing that I had ever won in my entire life up to that point, was a trophy for coming second in a trout fishing competition when I was 16 years old. However, fishing is a good preparation for photography - you’re constantly chasing the image, seeking to improve technique and style and every now and then, you capture what you’ve been looking for. Photography, just like fishing, is a solitary game of patience and I firmly believe that it can’t be successfully done in groups. I’ve never taken a decent picture on a camera club trip, but I’ve done pretty OK on my own or when shooting with one or two well-chosen friends.

Just as not everyone is good at fishing, not everyone is going to be good at photography. You either have the eye for a good image or you must have the ability to listen and learn. If you’ve got all three, you’re probably on a winner. One of the things I can do is listen, watch and learn. Everything I’ve achieved since I got my LIPF and AIPF in 2012 has been through listening, learning and trying to create my images in my way. I don’t copy what others do, but I learn from them and from daily visits to Instagram to view images by photographers and models whose work I admire.

When I entered my first international salon in 2013, I was absolutely thrilled to get three acceptances. By the time I entered my last salon in April 2019, three acceptances would have been disappointing. That’s because my expectations of what I create have gone up exponentially as a result of entering competitions and deciding to work towards certain distinctions. Competitive photography and judging have taught me to pay attention to the details that sometimes make the difference between winning a gold and being a runner up.

As it happens, my first international medal came six weeks after I entered my first salon. It was a Photographic Society of America gold, which I won for ‘Amethyst Deceiver’. I had taken a photograph of that tiny toadstool in a wood on the Galtee mountains. My first FIAP gold came a year later for another toadstool called ‘Sulphur Tuft’ which was taken in the same woodland. At that time, I knew nobody who was even aware that these beautiful toadstools existed, let alone that they could make exquisite photographic subjects. I was becoming known for my nature photography and that didn’t go down with some more established people I knew at the time. Unknown to myself, I was starting a trend in Ireland for fungi photography and I’m pleased to say some other really good photographers have followed in my footsteps.

In the first two years of club involvement, Kingfishers and Dippers were high on my list of ‘most wanted’ images. My successful pursuit of those elusive birds came purely through time and patience. I was photographing Kingfishers from a location I had found on the Munster Blackwater (thanks to the help of a wildlife ranger friend) when the Queen’s helicopter flew overhead. She was on her way to the English Market in Cork. I was lying on the bank of a river photographing Kingfishers which is as close as I’ve come to royalty.

In November 2014, with a panel of fungi, I earned my Fellowship with the IPF. That means more to me than any other distinction I have. Early the following year, I was invited to become a distinctions’ assessor. That’s proven to be another part of my learning curve. The quality of what we see is sometimes truly awesome and it’s a privilege to view up close the work of other great photographers. I am a strong advocate of the distinctions process and would always encourage anyone to at least go for the LIPF. I guarantee it will improve your photography no end. Yes, the process is tough, but it is fair and if you get advice from one of the assessors beforehand, and provided you listen to them, it will increase your chances of success.

As I’ve sometimes said at distinction sittings, I understand the sweat and time that people put into their panels. I also know the pain of a panel not being successful, because that’s what happened the first time I submitted my Fellowship panel at the end of 2013. In the months that followed, I listened and learned and did what it took to make sure I succeeded the next time. In order to appreciate the times when things go well, you have to have gone through moments when things went badly. Only then can you really know the joy of success in this craft we call photography. Not getting the fellowship first time was hugely disappointing, but getting it second time out was one of the greatest moments of my life.

Every year since 2015, I’ve progressed up the FIAP distinctions ladder from AFIAP, through EFIAP, EFIAP bronze, silver, gold and now, finally, EFIAP Platinum. Last year, I received the Master distinction from the PSA – the first awarded to an Irish photographer. Now with the EFIAP/p behind me, I have completed another personal challenge. My photography was never about winning medals or proving anything to anyone else except myself, but it has always been about creating better images and that’s how international competition has benefitted me. For a while, entering salons was almost like a drug but I haven’t entered a competition of any kind since April 2019, although I am at the moment thinking of entering one or two over the summer.

I’ve had some really great moments over the past few years. Winning IPF Photographer of the Year in 2016, was the highlight of that year which ended up being one of the worst in my life after my wife was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. Others had been working in creative digital art before I won the IPF POTY, but my 2016 winning image ‘A Secret Place’ probably started another trend and all sorts of creative imagery seemed to come into vogue after that. There are some really creative photographers in that genre at the moment. Julie Corcoran of Boyne Valley, Ann Francis in Cork, Judy Boyle in Drogheda, and Paul Reidy and Michael Strapec in my current club, Blarney, immediately come to mind. Each has their own style, and it’s inspirational.

Fungi photography wasn’t the first trend I’ve helped start. Another was using ‘secret’ ancient monuments for location shoots. The places I use are unknown to other photographers and I’ve learned the hard way to be careful with whom I share them. Once a place or a model becomes too overused, they lose their novelty factor which, I know, is unfair, but that’s the way it is. Still, I shoot with the models I really like whenever I can. Models are usually good fun to work with and most take their profession very seriously.

As international competitors know, the FIAP ‘Blue Badge’ is the most coveted award in international salons, and I’m lucky to have won a fair share of those too. My favourite award is an elegant silver salver which I won in a Belgian salon. My ‘cheap and tacky’ prize goes to a medal won in an Indian salon which fell apart when it was being shown one night during a camera club talk. I have an image of a little tinsmith hammering it together in his village workshop only to have it all fall apart in the hands of some Corkmen.

However, photography isn’t about competitions or winning, it’s about having your images seen by others. If you’re lucky, you might even sell a few. I regard my most successful photograph as an image that wouldn’t win anything in a salon or even a club competition but it travelled all over the world. In April 2014, a photograph I had taken of a Harry Clarke stained glass window was discovered on Flickr by the company that was designing that year’s An Post Christmas stamp. I have a thirty-year-long fascination with stained glass art and had occasionally posted up photographs of windows not thinking about who might be looking at them. I was asked if I’d allow a detail from the image to be used in that year’s Christmas stamp. Would I what!!!

At that point, I didn’t realise what goes into commissioning stamps. Before the design could be accepted, it had to be personally approved by the Minister for Communications and I was also told it would be sent to the President of Ireland for his authorisation. This is because postage stamps are legal tender and are carefully chosen because they represent the country’s image internationally.

There is something really special about having your photograph used on your country’s postage stamps. I can’t quite explain it but it gave me immense pride. I’d have done it for free but happily accepted the standard fee. What astonished me was to be told that they sold 3.7 million copies. That’s more viewers than all the other photographs I’ve created in my entire life. This probably meant that it went into almost every home in Ireland and tens of thousands more abroad, even to the people who would most definitely not have me on their Christmas list. The thought of that still brings a grin to my face.

Unfortunately, envy and jealousy are an unpleasant aspect of competitive photography and it’s the thing I loathe more than almost anything else I’ve encountered over the past ten years. Clubs split because of it. Too many talented people leave clubs because of the nastiness they encounter when they reach success beyond the levels of others in the same clubs. I’m assured that jealousy and envy are not a uniquely Irish thing but that doesn’t make it right. I’ve been told by photographer friends in other countries from Poland to Bulgaria, the UK to Denmark, even tiny little Luxembourg, that they encounter the same thing. Personally, I don’t understand it and I have no time for those who engage in it.

We should revel in the joy we get from the images we create and from the beauty we see in other people’s work. The good photographers I know have earned their success. When others are successful don’t be a begrudger, don’t be petty and don’t be nasty. Nobody likes a bad loser. There is no room in my life for people engaged in small-minded gossip, rumour mongering or nastiness, and neither should the promulgators of such merde be tolerated in a camera club, much less be given a hearing.

When people need help, especially beginners, I have no hesitation in trying to help and encourage them. That’s one of the reasons I enjoy giving talks and I love being asked to comment on images I’m asked to judge or critique. We are all learners, even if some are more advanced than others, but I’m sorry to say that some ‘big-headed’ photographers think they must be negative towards others who they might feel are a threat to them. I prefer to try to temper justice with mercy. Kind words will be remembered but nasty words, especially when you know someone is going through a rough time in their lives, will never be forgotten.

As for myself, I have many other projects in the pipeline. Last year, I became the founding director and first chairman of Saint George’s Arts and Heritage Centre, which was established in the former Church of Ireland parish church in Mitchelstown. We bought the building in April 2019 and held 25 concerts and other events in our first eight months. Until Covid-19 struck, we were absolutely immersed in a €1.2 million restoration project to save the building and give it a new lease of life. It brings together my life-long love of history with my passion for the arts, especially photography.

I plan to run workshops in Saint George’s after the current restrictions have passed so get in touch if you’d like me to put you on my contact list. Saint George’s will also be available for use as a photographic space for camera clubs and individuals. Unfortunately, like everything else at the moment, it’s temporarily a standstill, but we’ll be going ahead full steam again when the time is right. It’s on Facebook – have a look for Saint George’s Arts and Heritage Centre and maybe if you’re interested in what we’re doing, you might like and follow our page.

More recently, I’ve started a few photography projects which are merging my interest in history with some image-making. In this way, my photography is continuing to evolve. This is another learning curve for me, but I’m enjoying it. I’m also writing two history books, which is something I’ve neglected because of being too deeply engaged in photography. In recent weeks, I’ve been judging on-line POTY competitions and seeing the work of many other talented photographers whose works bring a smile to my face. Zoom has helped, but it’s not quite the same as standing in front of a club.

It will be great to be back again talking with camera clubs, meeting people and reminiscing about the ‘old days’ when social distancing hadn’t yet been invented and people gave each other a friendly hug or a welcome handshake. After all, that’s one of the very best aspects of photography – meeting people, chatting over a coffee or just being in the company of people we like and admire. Most of all, it’s about being with those who helped us get to where we are today and being with those who helped when the chips were down.


IPF Lecture / Judging Expenses Guidelines


Judge / Lecturer booking protocol

  1. After the initial booking, a club should confirm booking in writing/email. A reminder text or email should be made to judge 2 weeks before lecture/judging.
  2. Club in advance should agree expense/fee and meal /accommodation requirements with lecturer/judge.
  3. After a single journey of 100km, the judge/ lecturer should be offered a meal/ snack on arrival.
  4. After a single journey of 150km or more the judge/lecturer should be offered local accommodation.
  5. The club should send a reminder to the lecturer/judge 2 weeks before the event giving clear directions to the venue/meeting point. The club should discuss with the lecturer what equipment is needed for the event and what facilities the club has available. The club must ascertain and supply equipment required unless otherwise agreed.
  6. The club should provide reserved parking close to the venue and club members should give the lecturer a hand to bring in prints and equipment.
  7. Expenses/fees must be paid to the lecturer/judge on the night. Cash should be offered rather than a cheque. Do not embarrass guests by asking what expenses are on the night. Expenses are clearly given in the table above or agreed in advance.
  8. The judge/lecturer is your guest and should be accorded good hospitality.
  9. A formal vote of thanks should be made on the night.
  10. A follow up thank you letter within 2 weeks of the event should follow from the club.
When booking high profile guests from the UK or elsewhere do check in advance what their lecture fees are and what their air/ ferry costs are in addition to the above protocol.

Did you know that the IPF has an honorary award system available?


"The following amendment to the Peter Slattery Memorial Award was agreed by the IPF Council. In order to assist clubs who have several qualifying members they wish to nominate for this award and qualify according to the notes and guidelines on the IPF website, permission has been granted to nominate three members in the year of their first application only and this amendment only applies up until the AGM in 2022."
IPF Awards should not be confused with IPF Distinctions. Awards are made to individuals who have served above and beyond at club or higher level over a significant period. To preserve the integrity and high standing of these honorary awards, the number granted each year will be strictly limited. The final decision on granting each Award will be made by the IPF Awards Committee, which shall be comprised of six members of the IPF Council including a secretary elected by the Awards Committee and chaired by the IPF President.
Further details available over on our website.

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Irish Photographic Federation
Compiled and Edited by Liam Beattie AIPF, ARPS