Peter Foeden, Bruce Pottinger, AIPP

Awards, Updates

Happy Birthday Peter Foeden – APPA Founding Father Turns 90

Monday 10 August 2020

By Katrina Ferguson

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.

Peter Foeden and David Oliver, AIPP, Spice Market, Melbourne
ABOVE: AIPP Grand Master and Fellow, David Oliver, with Peter Foeden at the APPA Wrap-Up party, Spice Market, Melbourne, 2017

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.

Sue Lewis with Peter Foeden, APPA 2017
ABOVE: Two driving forces behind the long history of AIPP awards, Sue Lewis and Peter Foeden, APPA 2017

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.

IAP Federal Council AIPP 1986
ABOVE: IAP Federal Council, 1983. Peter Foeden, President. Front (L-R):  Kevin O’Daly (SA Treasurer & SA Delegate), John Venus (SA Vice President), Peter Foeden (VIC President), Michael Wood (VIC Vice President), Tim O’Daly (SA Fed Secretary.) Back Row (L-R): Greg Mace (TAS Delegate), David Cumming (NSW Delegate), Peter Hay (ACT Delegate), Will Street (QLD Delegate), Rob Gray (VIC Delegate), Ric Syme (WA Delegate.)

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.

AIPP members, Peter Foeden, Doug Spowart

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.

IAP, AIPP history
ABOVE: Peter, back row, third in from the right, with IAP colleagues

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.

Benjamin Sztypel, Peter Foeden, IAP, AIPP history
ABOVE: Peter, as President, presenting Benjamin Sztypel with his IAP Associateship

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

Written History

Paul Curtis, Australian Professional Photography History, AIPP

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
Peter Foeden by Heide Smith AIPP
ABOVE: Peter Foeden photographed by Heide Smith APP HonFAIPP FAIPP HonLM

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.

Peter Foeden, IAP, AIPP History
ABOVE: Peter, second from the right

His photographs have been accepted by the Professional Photographers of America Loan Collection and exhibited at the Kodak Pavilion at Photokina.

He sold his studio in 1985 and five years later sold his shares in Nulab. Peter also started the key wedding album supply company Albums Australia, which he sold in 2002.”

Best Wishes

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
50th Anniversary, IAP, AIPP, Presidents
ABOVE: Honouring past IAP/AIPP Presidents at the 50th Anniversary celebration during the APPA Gala Dinner at The Plaza Ballroom, Melbourne, 2013. Tony Hewitt (presenting) next to AIPP Presidents from L-R: David McCarthy, Ian McKenzie, Peter Foeden, Will Street, Rob Gray, Kevin O’Daly, Richard Bennett, Marc Fitzgerald, Greg Hocking, Mark Fenning, Eric Victor, Ian van der Wolde, Philip Kuruvita, Jackie Dean, Alice Bennett, and Kylie Lyons

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
Peter Foeden, Michael Warshall, Peter Kopp, AIPP
ABOVE (L-R): Andrew Kopp, Peter Foeden and Michael Warshall at a Nikon event in 2018. (Source: 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
Peter Foeden by David Oliver AIPP
ABOVE: A portrait of Peter Foeden as taken by David Oliver and signed by AIPP friends, sponsors and colleagues at APPA Melbourne, 2017. (Source: Rob Chomaniuk.)

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:

Dear Peter,

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.

Louise Bagger
AIPP National President

ABOVE: The gift sent to Peter on his 90th birthday on behalf of all at the AIPP

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
Peter Foeden, Magnet Galleries Melbourne, virtual 3D exhibition
ABOVE: Click to explore the virtual 3D gallery honouring AIPP awards founding father, Peter Foeden. (Source: Magnet Galleries Melbourne.)

Leave Peter a Message

Please feel free to leave a comment below for Peter and his family to share and enjoy!


  • August 10, 2020 - Reply

    Kaye Davis

    Happy birthday Peter, from the NZIPP Honours Council (AIPP’s Awards Team equivalent). A remarkable legacy xx

    Kaye Davis
    NZIPP Honours Council Chair

  • August 10, 2020 - Reply

    Kevin O’Daly

    Happy Birthday Luigi aka Peter, best wishes for a great day and many many more, KOD

  • August 10, 2020 - Reply

    David McCarthy

    G’day Peter – hearty congrats on the fantastic big ’90’ – I believe that’s a GOLD!!
    We always knew you’d strive for a Gold!
    Now, Peter, for the Gold with a bar eh 🙂
    I still have fond memories of being in those very early (’75, ’76, ’77etc ) Fed Council meetings when the “Merit Awards” were debated. You stuck to your guns and with a little help from Don Taylor it came to pass. A great success.
    All the best – what a life in Professional Photography you are enjoying.
    Thank you.
    David McCarthy.

  • August 10, 2020 - Reply

    Geoff Harrisson

    A very Happy Birthday to you Peter, you have certainly earned this greetings page that I have enjoyed reading. Good memories.

    And I remember another of your sayings: “Everyone is entitled to their own ridiculous opinion”.

    Great to see this tribute to you for all your time and effort in establishing and making the Awards a success.

    With best wishes,

    Geoff Harrisson

    Judge 1977-88

  • August 10, 2020 - Reply

    John Swainston

    Happy Birthday, dear Peter. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for all you have done, and continue to do, for photography in Australia. You keep on inspiring us. Possibly now, more than ever. All the very best.,
    John Swainston

  • August 10, 2020 - Reply

    Carla Mahony

    Happiest of birthdays to you Peter! If only we could all have a dance with you at the Spice Market to celebrate! This is an incredible post celebrating all you have done for the AIPP – thank you for your dedicated service over so many years.

  • August 10, 2020 - Reply

    Melissa Hogan

    Happy 90th birthday Peter Foeden Snr and thank you for popping in and meeting us all this year at our AIPP coffee catch up! We were very lucky to hear a few of your stories! Hope to hear quite a few more, one day soon!
    Enjoy your special day 😁

  • August 10, 2020 - Reply

    David Paterson

    Happy Birthday Peter and let’s hope there are more to come.. Thank You for all you have done for the AIPP and Phortography in general.

  • August 10, 2020 - Reply

    Trevor Foon

    Happy Birthday 🎊🎁 Peter, our long association with your business leaves me with many wonderful memories 🍷🍷

  • August 10, 2020 - Reply

    Danielle Benson

    Happy Birthday Peter,
    although I have never met you personally, what a wonderful career, and legacy you created.
    I have loved reading the above article about your life in photography, and what you have done for the profession in Australia.
    Kind Regards,


  • August 10, 2020 - Reply

    David A Williams

    It’s appropriate to mention, on the occasion of this milestone birthday, a few truths….

    Peter has always treated people with respect, young or old, smart or getting there. He has always given people his time and listened – regardless of whether they deserved it or not.

    Unfailingly fair, it never takes long to see a twinkle of good humour behind his (sometimes perceived) stern outward appearance.

    Peter has always been a terrific example to the Australian photographic community both as a businessman and a photographer – and thankfully, blessedly, remains so.

  • August 10, 2020 - Reply

    Christopher Ian

    Long before the internet, we would all stop outside your studio to get ideas on how to improve our own photography. Go for the ton, Peter!!!

  • August 11, 2020 - Reply

    Bill Bachman

    Congratulations on a wonderful milestone, Peter. From small beginnings the AIPP now has one of the best professional awards programs in the world. It’s all your fault, and we thank you for it!

  • August 11, 2020 - Reply

    Paul Briton

    A big Happy 90th Birthday Peter. You have done wonders for the industry with many years of generous contribution for the benefit of so many. Your foresight in being one of the instigators in starting Nulab at the right time was yet another example of your good judgement. So many people have enjoyed enhanced careers as a result of the many examples you freely offered. And of course, the wonderful friendship the I and countless others have so greatly enjoyed over many years is a blessing.

  • August 12, 2020 - Reply


    Happy birthday from a newbie. That blog is a great document.

  • August 12, 2020 - Reply

    Julie Ewing

    Happy Birthday Peter, all of our very best wishes for your 90th Birthday. I remember meeting you when I first moved to Melbourne in 1993 and was delighted to see you again at APPA in 2018. Peter sends his best wishes also.
    With love, julie & Peter xx

  • August 12, 2020 - Reply

    Phil kuruvita

    Happy Birthday Peter!
    Wishing you many more!

  • August 13, 2020 - Reply

    Wayne Rintoul

    Happy 90th Birthday Peter, as a mentor you have enriched my endeavours like no other with such generosity. Photography in Australia advanced rapidly
    with invitation and professional finesse from your enormous contribution. Our time together at the studio was gift I will cherish with gratitude always. Every day was learning experience and a chance to do better. Well done my friend enjoy theses years and see you soon.

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  • September 4, 2020 - Reply

    Kylie Lyons

    Happiest of Birthday wishes to you Mr Foeden. I am honoured to have been able to meet and speak with you over the years. One of my greatest achievements was to have you along with all but one living Past National AIPP Presidents on stage at out 50th anniversary. Best wishes to you and thank you for all you have done!

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  • September 15, 2020 - Reply

    Beverly Hauff

    The happiest of birthday wishes to you Peter. from the Pacific Northwest! Well done. Bev Hauff (Whitfield-King)

  • May 27, 2021 - Reply

    Bernard van der Horst

    Happy Birthday Peter, you are looking amazingly well and regal! Am standing next to you in the photograph next to the Travel Lodge. A long long time ago. I enjoyed my time as a aipp member and your encouragement and your quality albums.
    Wish you many happy returns! ‘

  • October 11, 2021 - Reply

    Katrina Ferguson

    Rest in peace Peter. Thank you for the legacy you’ve left us. Sincere condolences to loved one and friends xo

  • October 11, 2021 - Reply

    Ian van der Wolde

    A life well lived, we are forever indebted to Peter for his tireless work within the photography and AIPP. His vision and foresight in creating what we now call APPA. A gentleman, Husband, father and friend to many. Thank you Peter you will be missed. Love and condolences to Maryke and family

  • October 11, 2021 - Reply

    David Oliver

    So sad to hear the passing of Peter Foeden. He did so much for Australian Photography.
    Peter was instrumental in bringing us the merit awards system, which helped put us on the Photography world map.
    Condolences to his family
    RIP Peter.

  • October 12, 2021 - Reply

    Paul Curtis

    So many of us have such huge respect and admiration that memories of Peter will long live on..

  • October 12, 2021 - Reply

    Sarah Jackson

    So sad to hear of the passing of Peter, he was a true legend of the industry and a respected man. Thinking of his family at this time.

  • October 13, 2021 - Reply

    James Harvie

    What an inspirational man. Thank you for your inspiration and commitment to providing our Awards system. Myself and other photographers have certainly found it a very powerful tool to being the best we can. Your spirit shall live on.

  • October 13, 2021 - Reply

    Mandarine Montgomery

    Deepest condolences to Peter’s family and friends. What a remarkable man and a true visionary. The legacy he has left is truly remarkable and has had a profound effect on the lives of so many. I am sure I wouldn’t be alone in saying that the memories I have of every APPA since I joined the AIPP are among the happiest of my life, for the inspiration, education, camaraderie and FUN! Thank you Peter for pioneering the magic-we are forever grateful x

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