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President's Letter Spring 2014

The future of the chapter, it’s time to step up


In  1998, a group of Richmond and Charlottesville commercial photographers founded the Central Virginia Chapter of the American Society of Media Photographers. For 15 years the ASMPCV has nurtured, educated and inspired our community of photographers. However, today our chapter is facing a crisis of non- participation. In the last three-year period our most senior and experienced members have stepped down from their board positions, in many cases after serving multiple terms.


We have had a few of our younger, up and coming members step into board positions and do a great job, but those willing to step up have been few. Next March the majority of the board will have completed their commitments, some after serving double and triple terms. At that point we will be in need of new board officers for almost every position. Not only has there been a problem finding members willing to serve on the board but overall participation for chapter programs has consistently fallen off for the past few years.


The original ASMP was founded by primarily photojournalists who worked for newspapers and magazines. That expanded as photographers began to make pictures for advertising; bill boards, magazine ads, and annual reports. The photo world has changed once again as we live through the digital revolution. We have moved from film to pixels, where it is possible to make still images and motion images with the same camera, and where the once well-defined role of the photographer has blurred and overlapped into other disciplines.


Professional photographers are adding motion and education into their business models as the paths of still and motion continue to converge. Commercial photographers are shooting weddings and also directing TV spots. Sound technicians and designers, who shoot pictures, are interested in learning about the business of photography.


We are part of a storied organization, which has counted among its members, Henri Cartier Bresson, Robert Capa, Margaret Bourke-White and Edward Steichen not to mention the many successful and innovative contemporary photographers among our membership across the country and here in this chapter.


Yes, the economy has been very tough in the last few years and the changes in our industry are unprecedented and more complex than we could have imagined 15 years ago. But ASMP is about photographers helping photographers, educating and navigating through tough times and helping one another adapt to change.


Volunteering on the board affords you the opportunity to learn how the chapter operates and prepares you for leadership roles within ASMPCV. If you have had any success in this business, you should consider giving back to your profession. You will continue to learn, establish strong friendships and make connections that will also enhance your business.


To the people who feel that the ASMP is no longer relevant in the online “Google what you need to know age,” I submit that while the virtual world is amazing there is no substitute for personal interaction, where learning and ideas and creativity come from real conversations with real people.


We need both.


To the many members who have served in board positions, the chapter thanks you. To those who haven’t, we need your energy, time and talent. I urge you to step up. The future of the chapter is in jeopardy. If you have an interest in helping or serving on the board please feel free to contact me or any of my board colleagues. This is our chapter. This is your chapter. We need to decide together whether or not ASMPCV has enough membership support to continue.



Allen Jones