FotoFreo Discontinued. Finished and No More.

Below is a copy of the press release circulated by Jude Savage, Chair, Foto Freo Inc about the closure of the iconic festival of photography known as FotoFreo.

Foto Freo

Vale FotoFreo

The Board of FotoFreo Inc regrets to advise that FotoFreo, the festival of photography, will be discontinued.
The Board’s decision to not proceed with the event into the future is primarily because key funding was not renewed by one of the major sponsors and this in turn would make it more difficult to secure funding from other key partners.
FotoFreo has been going now for 10 years and there have been six festivals, and the event has grown with each successive Festival.
However, despite the success of the event, both nationally and internationally, recurrent funding (money committed to the event without having to apply for the funds each time) has not been secured from any of our major partners.
As an event FotoFreo relies substantially on the efforts of a large number of volunteers and a small number of paid employees.
However, a critical phase in the development of each Festival is the first 12 months after the last festival – the first year of the two year Festival cycle. It is during this time that most of the planning is done and where there is a continuity of effort required. This is probably the most critical period of the Festival cycle and where a component of core funding is now necessary.
In the earliest years of FotoFreo’s development this activity was undertaken by a small group of dedicated volunteers, in particular, Brad Rimmer, Graham Miller, David Dare Parker, Bob Hewitt, and later included Ben Walton, Seng Mah, Elizabeth McCaig, Lyle Branson and Brent Acie, but as the scope and scale of the Festival increased paid staff were necessary to undertake the work.
Another factor in the Board’s thinking was the decision by Bob Hewitt, who started the event in its current form in 2001 and has been associated with it ever since, to step aside to make way for a new Festival Director and his subsequent resignation from the Board. However, Bob did indicate that he would be happy to continue in a supportive role, particularly assisting a new Festival Director, if required.
FotoFreo was the first international photo festival in Australasia and one of the first if not the first in the South East Asian region. The pioneering nature of the event served as an inspiration for other festivals in the region.
FotoFreo successfully established its own identity amongst the growing ranks of photo festivals by the innovations and the risks it undertook. In particular, the commissioning of original work – Edward Burtynsky, Australian Minescapes (FotoFreo 2008), David Dare Parker, The Clubs (FotoFreo 2010), Martin Parr, No Worries and Bo Wong, Fremantle Markets Project (FotoFreo 2012). These exhibitions were funded without the help of government grants. Furthermore, books were published to accompany all of these commissions and exhibitions. These commissions all contributed to the cultural capital of Western Australia and indeed to Australia.
Another innovation was the focus given to photographers in the Asian region through group exhibitions from a number of countries, in particular China and most recently India. On each occasion a number of the photographers accompanied the exhibitions and spoke about the work during the Festival.
FotoFreo 2012 also saw the introduction of WA Life, a photographic competition that privileged WA photographers, and the highly successful FutureGen project that involved a partnership with the Pingyao Photography Festival in China and a cultural exchange between the two countries. These two events were set to become regular activities in future Festivals and for which ongoing sponsorship had been secured.
In recent years there was a growing awareness that the Festival was beginning to spread too widely and in the most recent evaluation of the event (of FotoFreo 2012) it was acknowledged that some consolidation was required and this was made clear to our sponsors.
In the end, however, the ongoing success of an event such as FotoFreo is determined initially by a small group of people and at least one ‘driver’, and at the scale of the current event such people must be appropriately remunerated. In addition, there are ongoing real costs of an administrative nature that need to be met.
On an optimistic note, I think it can be said that FotoFreo has played an important part in raising the awareness of photography amongst the wider public and made a positive contribution to the cultural landscape of Western Australia. The Board of FotoFreo are grateful to all our many volunteers, supporters and sponsors who have assisted us in realising the FotoFreo festival of photography over the past ten years and trust that they will continue to support many other photographic endeavours.
The only regret might be the loss of recognition that came with the event nationally and internationally over ten years or more of growth and development and for which there are few similar events in Western Australia, let alone Fremantle.
Jude Savage
FotoFreo Inc
Sponsors for FotoFreo

Olympus Australia Adds to the Redundancies List

The imaging industry in Australia is on the decline restructure. Gone are the boom times of rocketing camera sales and profitability. Times are tough for most retailers and this has been reflected in a number of job losses across the wholesale imaging industry.

Today I found out Olympus made 9 positions redundant across Australia.  To my knowledge most of the redundancies happened over in the east coast of Australia with no job losses in the State of Western Australia. The positions made redundant varied from business managers, administration and a position within the accounts department.


Recently I saw a similar situation happened with Sony Australia where service technicians and account managers (to name a few) were also given their pink slips .

But it’s not all bad news for Olympus. Industry figures (recently released) showed the Olympus OM-D held a whopping 43% of market share for Digital SLR cameras in the month of December 2013. Historically Olympus have been very strong in their compact range but over the last couple of years sales figures have been in a downward spiral. I’m sure this would have played a part in the redundancies as the rise of smart phones has clearly dominated this category.  However saying this the OM-D is certainly making up for the lack of sales in compacts.  To this day I have never seen a camera sell as well – so I think Canon and Nikon should take a leaf out of Olympus’s book to see what they are doing right!

Olympus OMD

On top of the OM-D’s success its rumoured Olympus will be releasing an updated Digital SLR to replace their flagship E-5 camera . I can confirm Olympus’s marketing department is heading on a plane to Japan for ‘meetings’ this week, where I’m sure this rumoured camera will be discussed and revealed. So stay tuned.

For those who are reading this who have been made redundant I certainly know what it is like. Over one year ago I found myself in the same situation. My role as an Area Business Manager for Fujifilm Australia was no longer required as the company was transitioning itself into more streamlined practices. Online services seemed to be the way of the future and  since November 3rd 2011 (the day I was made redundant *on my birthday*) Fujifilm Australia is believed to have made a total of nearly 50 redundancies (unconfirmed).  As I have been in the industry for some time this was no surprise. Online accounting services and cloud computing  have replaced the expensive employee and at the time of my redundancy my thoughts were reflected in Dave Marshall’s CEO statement to the press (via –

“By creating clever internet systems that incorporate such initiatives as sophisticated reordering websites, centralised systems, Facebook applications and virtual photo books, Fujifilm aims to provide innovative platforms that will offer new business opportunities for all of its customers.

“Fujifilm Australia has already proved very successful in developing and delivering cutting edge network solutions for its customers within the consumer imaging segment.

“Advanced plans are now underway within Fujifilm Australia to extend its network connectivity capabilities to the Graphic Systems and Medical Imaging Divisions.

“New business models that maximise this trend to ensure customers are at the forefront of new technology is a key focus for our business moving forward.

“In order to reinvent our processes and technology, this represents an opportunity to create a range of new specialist positions within Fujifilm Australia to drive a seamless transition for both consumers and customers.

“Unfortunately, as part of this process, it has also meant some changes to positions that have become redundant in the back office administration area due to technological advancements.

“There has also been a small number of positions that have been rationalised at the front end of the business to accommodate the specialist roles that are being created as part of the transition.

“Our goal is to strengthen Fujifilm’s position and ensure it is suitably equipped to balance current market demands with future business investment.

“Advancements in technology coupled with changes in consumer behaviour, has resulted in a significant transformation in the way businesses such as Fujifilm need to operate.”

So do I have any advice for employees who find themselves out of a job? Certainly! My advice – stay positive and hold no grudges. Look at it this way, being let go is possibly the best thing that could happen to you. It’s a new start, a new you. So don’t be complacent, use this time to reinvent yourself and do what you love. Start your own business or even become a consultant within your industry. For me I followed my love of social media and although I am still working a 9 to 5 I do plan on making this my gig in the distant future.

So based on Fujifilm, Olympus, Sony and Panasonic’s (2011) redundancies the big question looms….what about the big players like Nikon and Canon? When will they be cutting back?

Over the last couple of days I have been doing a bit of research on the subject and have found two hypotheticals which could lead to redundancies (please take my findings as speculation and rumour, not fact):

1) Canon Australia are advertising for a Salesforce Consultant.

I can see the move to Salesforce equating to job losses within Canon Australia in the next year. The reason I say this is because when I worked at Fujifilm I saw the same Salesforce rollout. It certainly is a powerful account management system and it does really replace the need to have extra account managers out in the field. Once the accounts are entered in the cloud they can be seen on any device from anywhere.  Orders, leads, account history and delivery are all the vital information to an account manager. Salesforce easily combines a team of people reporting this information into a manageable feed which can be read by one person and acted upon. Need I say more?

2) The mirrorless camera situation for Canon and Nikon (Nikon especially) is serious.

Nikon 1 Series

Stock levels for the Nikon 1 J1 and Canon EOS M in their respective warehouses are said to be high. For Nikon this is quite alarming. The Nikon 1 J2 (announced August 9th 2012) and the anticipated Nikon V1 replacement (announced October 24th 2012) are simply premature for the market place. There is too much old stock (old models) sitting on retailers shelves. Something has got to give. Either the price has to be lowered and profits cut which in turn could affect jobs in the long-term.

Canon EOS M Cashback

Canon forecasters have anticipated their lack of sales by offering the slow-moving EOS M buyers a $150 cash back when they purchase their camera from an Australian retailer. I’m sure this will work in the short-term but it still early days. Over the next month you will see a huge marketing campaign from Canon to help their sell through across their range of products. I’m sure this is a one of their ways to cut their losses.

So in closing redundancies are never a nice thing.  Unfortunately for industry they are a big part of life and for industry to evolve its a necessary thing. Over the next three years I can envision the imaging industry changing dramatically. The rise of connected smart phones and technology will certainly make the jobs within the imaging industry semi redundant if companies don’t act or embrace the technology.

Autographer Google Glass Project Glass and Memoto Wearable Cameras

I recently discussed the future of imaging over on F Stop Lounge which looks at some of the future technology and how it may play a part in the industry. No longer will industry be able to sit on their hands and wait for product to sell (fine example EOS M), employees and their associated marketing companies will have to be proactive in their marketing approach to reach a new audience that falls outside the traditional photographer. As the generations age and the technology evolves I see a new kind of photo being created and produced. One that will replace the photo industry and be more aligned with the Consumer Electronics Industry. I just hope that day doesn’t come too soon as I do like working in my industry…but hey we all have to live with change…good or bad.

Until Next Time – Happy Shooting.

2012 – My Year in Review

My year in review. Thanks to everyone who stopped by the blog this year. Well done to the top 5 people who left comments and the numerous regulars who like and sometimes dislike my photos and stories. You are my inspiration. I have a massive year planned for 2013 and I can’t wait to share my ideas with you all in mid January. I’m off to photograph a wedding today so until next time have a safe a happy New Year!

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 53,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 12 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

2013 Landscape Calendar

The 2013 West Australian Landscape Calendar is now ready for you.

You can view and order the full 2013 Calendar by simply click on the image below. The price of the calendar is AUD $35.95. All proceeds raised will go straight back into bringing you more free fine art photos next year. Enjoy.

2013 West Australian Landscape Calendar by Leigh Diprose - Cover

2013 West Australian Landscape Calendar by Leigh Diprose - Back

Until Next Time – Happy Shooting

Google+ Communities – Google+ Photographers Community

I have just launched a brand new photography community called Google+ Photographers Community which can be found over on Google+.

Google+ Photographers Community Logo

Google has only yesterday released a new platform called communities which combines the best of Google+, YouTube, Google Groups and Google Events all in the one place. A community is ideally based on a subject, within the subject users are able to post their content directly to a sub-category.

Since the launch there has been many communities formed however I did notice that there was no place which combined the things in photography that interested me. So I decided to create the Google+ Photographers Community (GPC).

Google+ Photographers Community Screenshot

Within GPC I have created the following categories:

No Category – For any unassigned category content

General Discussion – No pictures are posted here. This category is simply about every day photography.

I AM….  – Is a place where new users can introduce themselves to the rest of the community.

Announcements – Any new product announcements.

Rumours – Gear Rumours

Android Devices – Community members post photos and content related to Android Devices.

Apple Devices – Community members post photos and content related to Apple Devices.

Canon – Community members post photos and content related to Canon gear.

Casio – Community members post photos and content related to Casio gear.

Fujifilm – Community members post photos and content related to Fujifilm gear.

GoPro – Community members post photos and content related to GoPro gear.

Kodak – Community members post photos and content related to Kodak gear.

Leica – Community members post photos and content related to Leica gear.

Nikon – Community members post photos and content related to Nikon gear.

Olympus – Community members post photos and content related to Olympus gear.

Panasonic – Community members post photos and content related to Panasonic gear.

Pentax Ricoh – Community members post photos and content related to Pentax or Ricoh gear.

Samsung – Community members post photos and content related to Samsung gear.

Sigma – Community members post photos and content related to Sigma gear.

Sony – Community members post photos and content related to Sony gear.

Events+Leigh Diprose will run a weekly photo competition based on a photographic theme. Participants will be able to share their photos directly to the themed Event.

My future plan is to entangle my blog and Google community together with future events and google hangouts posted weekly to my YouTube channel and here on the blog.

The hangouts will talk about the latest in photographic gear as well as review some of the latest product. I can’t wait to see where this leads. In the first few hours almost 200 people have joined the community and the engagement between the users has been fantastic. ***Update*** 359 Members!

If you have any questions on the new community please let me know in the comments.

Until Next Time – Happy Shooting

Sunsets and Storms

Just a quick update.

I have been busy over the last few days photographing some amazing sunsets with the Fujifilm X-Pro 1. I have also been given the Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 VC II Lens (Canon Mount) to test out.
Today I captured some storm photos with the Tamron lens and in the next few weeks you should see a review on the blog.
Fujifilm are also sending me the Fujifilm X-E1 with 18-55mm to test out. I expect to see the camera in the next few weeks so stay tuned to the blog by subscribing.

Until Then – Hapoy Sooting!

Perth Wedding Photography

Perth Wedding Photography by Leigh Diprose

Perth Wedding Photography by Leigh Diprose

Perth Wedding Photography by Leigh Diprose

Perth Wedding Photography by Leigh Diprose