The Australian Centre for Photography (ACP), Australia’s oldest and arguably most significant photography arts organisation announces it will go into hibernation from December 16 with a plan to restructure its vital contribution to the arts landscape in Australia.

Sydney, Australia: The Board of the Australian Centre for Photography (ACP), Australia’s oldest and arguably most significant photography arts organisation, has today announced it is moving the organisation into a period of hibernation to stem the risk of ongoing financial losses and protect the capital in an investment fund it considers vital to its long-term viability.

ACP Chairman, Michael Blomfield said: “While the decision we have made to move the organisation into a period of hibernation is a painful one, the Board believes that securing our long-term future in any form requires the protection of our capital now. In the face of massively reduced income in the COVID era, and the reality that our organisation will not receive any operational funding from federal or state funding bodies for the next three years as a minimum, it is clear that continuing to operate in our current form is a pathway to extinction.”

 Like most arts organisations – particularly in the current environment – the ACP is loss-making in the absence of public funding. By protecting its investment funds from further losses, the organisation will ensure it is able to find and fund a new form of existence. Extensive consultation will be undertaken with stakeholders with a view to finalising a pathway to a permanent presence by July 2021.

 Director and CEO, Pierre Arpin said: “The history of the ACP always was, and continues to be, of an organisation that put photography as an art form first and foremost. We have been able to achieve this thanks to the dedicated and passionate people involved in the organisation. This is an opportune time to think about what role the ACP can continue to play in supporting the place of photography and image making in our lives.”

 Operating since 1974, Sydney-based organisation, the ACP has been a vital part of the ecosystem of photography, having conducted thousands of training courses ranging from the basics of SLR photography right through to masterclasses and private tuition. Throughout its time it has been known for the quality of its tutors, many of whom have taught with the ACP over decades.

 The ACP has a proud history as an exhibitor and commissioner of Australian photographic artists, including works by Bill Henson, William Yang, Tracey Moffatt and Trent Parke, as well as the incredibly successful 2017 exhibition Under The Sun: Reimagining Max Dupain’s Sunbaker, that saw 15 Australian artists commissioned to create new work to respond to Dupain’s iconic work.

The organisation will cease its current form of operation on 16 December following the Photostart 2020 exhibition.

Photostart 2020 is a vibrant and diverse exhibition of lens-based practice, from architecture to fashion, studio work to street photography. The exhibition will also showcase the works of the ACP student community who completed photographic courses 2020. The opening night will include the announcement of the 7 Wentworth Selborne Award ($2,000) for the best overall photograph.  The exhibition, which also features current work by ACP tutors, runs from 3-16 December at the ACP Project Space Gallery in Darlinghurst.

The ACP is dedicated to supporting photographic artists in Australia and it intends to honour this legacy with the transition to a new way of operating. The restructure will place artists at the centre of its decision making to deliver positive opportunities for the new iteration of the ACP to be announced in 2021.

ACP Chairman, Michael Blomfield, says: “Calling a halt now allows us to protect the capital we have and undertake a period of consultation with stakeholders as to how we use that capital to create a permanent legacy for the organisation.”
 

MEDIA CONTACT:  For further information, interview requests and imagery, please contact: Rae Begley, rae@utopiavision.co, 0419 890 888.
 

ABOUT ACP:

The Australian Centre for Photography (ACP) is the leading institution in Australia dedicated to the art of photography and lens-based media. Since 1974, the ACP has been a creative force in the cultural life of Australia, presenting the work of our most dynamic and diverse artists. The ACP presented the first major retrospectives of photographs by Max Dupain, Olive Cotton and Mervyn Bishop as well as the early exhibitions of works by Bill Henson, William Yang, Tracey Moffatt and Trent Parke.

The ACP holds at its core the vital contribution of artists and photographers in distilling and reflecting upon society, displaying a pluralism of perspectives and a breadth of artistic practice. Our exhibitions, education and community programs provide opportunities for audiences and peers to engage in a dynamic conversation about the significance of images, both past and present, within contemporary culture.

HISTORY

Officially founded in September 1973, the Australian Centre for Photography (ACP) is one of Australia’s oldest contemporary arts organisations. The ACP of the 1970s was a community-based exhibition space, that responded to a need to exhibit contemporary photography as works of art. The ACP opened in Paddington, Sydney on the 21st November 1974 as the first Government funded national organisation for the promotion of photography in Australia.

One of Australia’s leading photographers, David Moore conceived of the idea of a national centre for photography in 1970. The practitioner-based initiative was established and initially conceived as a non-profit, cultural organization, with aims to research, exhibit, publish, collect and generally encourage photography in Australia.

The original committee comprised of David Moore (photographer), Wesley Stacey (photographer), Peter Keyes (architect), Daniel Thomas (Curator of Australian Art at the Art Gallery of new South Wales), Laurence Le Guay (photographer) and Craig McGregor (writer). Funding was provided to The Australian Foundation of Photography from the Australia Council Visual Arts Board.

EXHIBITION DETAILS:

 PHOTOSTART 2020

ACP Project Space Gallery
21 Foley Street, Darlinghurst NSW 2010

Exhibition dates: Thursday ­3 December – Wednesday 16 December 2020
Exhibition open: Thursday 3 December, 5.30pm
Gallery hours: Tuesday – Friday 10am-5pm, Saturday 12noon-5pm.
Free exhibition