Monday 10 August 2020
As creative people, we love to celebrate the successes and milestones of our peers. Today, we celebrate someone very special to the AIPP; someone most worthy of this tribute story.
Wishing a very happy 90th birthday to one of the stalwarts of the AIPP and Australian professional photography, Peter Foeden APPLM HonFAIPP FAIPP MPhotog.
How it All Began
According to Sue Lewis, former AIPP Awards Event Manager for some 20 years, it was 1970 when Peter first proposed an awards merit system be established in the Institute of Australian Photography (IAP) – the AIPP’s original name, not changed until 1986.
Peter’s suggestion came after he and a number of fellow IAP members returned from attending professional photography awards overseas.
The idea of an Institute awards system was initially met with disinterest given some members’ concern the IAP was not ‘a glorified camera club.’ Regardless, Peter persisted with the idea despite resistance and years of debate.
The Federal Council (akin to what we now refer to as The Board) appointed a dedicated committee to investigate an Australian photography awards system. It included Peter, John Cato, Max Townsend and Max Williams.
Together, the Federal Council – and Peter and Max Townsend especially – fought to keep the awards idea on the agenda and met regularly to create a workable program aimed to encourage consistently high quality photography among members and the industry at large.
National Merit Awards Born 1977
It wasn’t until 1977 – several years after Peter floated his idea for an awards merit system, and a decade after joining the IAP – that the first official Merit Awards print judging ran in the Gold Coast.
Peter, fittingly, was the first Awards Chairman.
There were 268 entires from 71 members in the inaugural Merit Awards and 30 received a merit.
With the American system as our guide, we have developed a system to suit the Australian temperament.– Peter Foeden (Source: A History of Professional Photography in Australia)
Peter formally maintained his commitment to the National Print Awards until 1983 when he passed the Awards Committee Chairmanship baton to Geelong photographer, Ian Hawthorne.
Had APPA gone ahead in Melbourne, 2020 as planned pre-COVID, it would’ve been the AIPP’s 44th national awards event.
Not a bad legacy, Peter. Thank you (and your IAP colleagues) for your foresight and tenacity.
The combination of the critiques and the competition fuelled creativity and innovation in Australian photography. By the mid-1990s the Awards were attracting 2000 entries and had an operational budget of $100,000.– Paul Curtis, author A History of Professional Photography in Australia
A Look Back
Peter was born 10 August 1930 in Holland and his first job was as a physical education teacher. It wasn’t until 1960, age 30, that Peter ventured into professional photography.
He joined the IAP in 1967 and became president in 1982, holding the role until the end of 1983.
Ian Howell was Executive Director at the time but when he took on new work in New Zealand (managing Andris Apse studio), Peter needed to adapt as president and leant on friend and mentor Val Foreman for support in his role.
Federal Treasurer at the time, Kevin O’Daly, instigated a successful meeting between his brother, Tim, and Peter, recommending Tim as a good fit for the Federal Secretary role and so it came to be. From that point, Kevin noted, Peter took the proverbial bull by the horns.
He was always a gentleman and a good guide of the ship, a quiet pleasant personality but a man who commanded respect and was always respectful himself.– Kevin O’Daly, IAP Federal Council Treasurer 1982-1983
“The standing joke amongst us all at Federal Council when looking for anything was ‘it must be in Foeden’s Garage'” Kevin said. Apparently Peter undertook to store all of the AIPP material there after Ian Howell moved to New Zealand.
“So anything that we couldn’t find was always look ‘in Foeden’s Garage,'” said Kevin. And, rumour has it, invariably Peter always found it.
Peter had two children – Peter Jr. and Mryke – with wife, Marcia and later remarried to Janiene Rider.
I worked for Peter Foeden during the 70s. He was the greatest wedding portrait photographer – Peter changed social photography in Australia.– Michael Silver, Magnet Galleries
The following is taken directly from Paul Curtis’ book A History of Professional Photography in Australia under the section titled:
The Institute’s Honours:
A Who’s Who of the Profession’s Achievers
Peter Foeden, M.Photog, Hon.FAIPP, FAIPP
“During the 1970’s and 1980’s, whenever photographers came together to discuss portrait photography technique, the most frequently mentioned name was Peter Foeden. Peter was a Melbourne photographer born in Holland in 1930.
After arriving in Australia and first starting a career in physical education, Peter turned to photography in 1960. He rapidly built a reputation as an outstanding photographer.
He was a Member of State and Federal Council for several years and served as both State and Federal president. His most lasting legacy was the introduction of the Awards.
Quietly spoken but extremely articulate, a tall trim figure immaculately dressed in grey, Peter influenced a whole generation of photographers.– Paul Curtis, author A History of Professional Photography in Australia
He was the chair of the committee to design the Awards system, worked as a judge for many years and spent five years as chair of the jurors.
He was the Wedding Photographer of the Year in 1982 and has presented dozens of one and two-day seminars as well as filling many speaking engagements at professional photography conventions in Australia and New Zealand.
His photographs have been accepted by the Professional Photographers of America Loan Collection and exhibited at the Kodak Pavilion at Photokina.
From all of us here at the AIPP – those who know you directly and those who continue to enjoy all the benefits of the awards system you helped set in place – we’d like to wish you a very happy 90th birthday Peter.
The AIPP Awards program is considered one of the best in the world, and has been built on the dedication and hard work of people like Peter. His passion, commitment and love for the photographic industry, and the AIPP community is infectious, and his legacy continues to echo through the continuously evolving AIPP we see today. Peter continues to inspire both seasoned members, and newcomers as they make their own creative journeys in the world of photography. Thank you Peter for being you, and Happy 90th Birthday mate!– Tony Hewitt, 2020 AIPP Awards Chair
I met Peter in 1974 when I joined the AIPP. He had a studio in Caulfield…[and] he was an excellent wedding portrait photographer. He was one of the founding directors of Nulab, which was formed, I believe, in 1980.– Michael Warshall
I worked for Peter for over a decade and can say that he has been a great mentor to me as much I believe as he has been a mentor to a lot of photographers over the years. One of his favourite sayings is, “Preparation meeting opportunity equals success.” This advice has served me very well till now. His continuing friendship is something I cherish.– Robert Chomaniuk, Newlook Print & Frame
I’ll never forget you for your dedication to the AIPP, professional photography education and commitment to the industry in general. The last time we met was at the AIPP’s milestone birthday in Melbourne and I am sorry I cannot be with you for this milestone birthday. Your legend lives on. All the best.– Paul Curtis, author A History of Professional Photography in Australia
Peter, congratulations on this amazing milestone. I am so glad to have had the pleasure of getting to know you over the last few years. I hope your birthday is filled with laughter, love and happiness ❤️.– Sue Lewis, AIPP Awards Event Team Manager 2008-2019
Many thanks to those who contributed to this celebratory piece for Peter.
Historical information was gathered from the AIPP book: ‘A History of Professional Photography in Australia’ provided by Paul Curtis, and the Nov/Dec 2016 issue of the AIPP Journal, edited by Peter Eastway.
Contributions were also made by Richard Bennett, James Flaagan, John Swainston, Kevin O’Daly, Sue Lewis, Michael Warshall, Ian van der Wolde, Tony Hewitt, Rob Chomaniuk, Andrew Kopp, and AIPP admin team member, Marie-Elizabeth Pyke Le Brun.
A Gift for a Great
A gift on behalf of the AIPP community was delivered to Peter on his 90th birthday. The hand-written card read:
It is with immense joy that we are able to acknowledge a significant milestone in reaching your 90th birthday. We hope you will enjoy this gift not only as a celebration of your special day, but also as a mark of our respect and gratitude for your many years of dedication and devotion to the AIPP and also to the photography profession and broader industry. You are highly regarded by many. On behalf of the entire membership of the AIPP, myself and the Board send you our best wishes for a very Happy Birthday.
AIPP National President“
Virtual Gallery for Peter
President of Magnet Galleries Melbourne, Michael Silver, has curated a freely available virtual 3D exhibition of Peter’s photos in honour of his 90th birthday.
The collection of images spans what Michael – who worked for Peter in the early 1970s – describes as a remarkable career as a photographer.
He was revolutionising social photography in Australia.– Michael Silver, President Magnet Galleries Melbourne
Leave Peter a Message
Please feel free to leave a comment below for Peter and his family to share and enjoy!