THE MALTA INSTITUTE OF PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY … A BRIEF HISTORY
The Malta Institute of Professional Photography (MIPP) officially came into being during a meeting held on the 2nd of October 1996. This first meeting, open to all those with an interest in Professional Photography, was held at the Grosvenor Hotel, and was the outcome of a group of individuals who had for a time been discussing ways to improve the standard, respect and recognition of Maltese Photography and Photographers.
The idea to form the MIPP was first discussed and agreed upon by Kevin Casha and Colin Pilling on the 16th of July 1996 at the Coach and Horses in Birkirkara. A subsequent meeting, on the 1st of August, saw Konrad Agius joining the first two. Further meetings where held with several interested persons contributing. These where namely Walter Barbara, Joe P. Borg, Martin Abela, Anthony Portelli, and Charles Calleja.
After these initial, informal meetings, arrangements where made to keep meeting at the Grosvenor Hotel in Attard. In fact, an interim Committee was established and the first official MIPP Minutes started being recorded on the 10th of September 1996.
This Interim Committee consisted of Kevin Casha, Konrad Agius, Colin Pilling, Anthony Portelli, and Charles Calleja. These preparatory interim meetings paved the way towards the first MIPP General Meeting on the 29th of April 1997, again at the Grosvenor Hotel. There, the first official Committee was voted in and was made up of Kevin Casha, Hon. Chairman, Colin Pilling, Hon. PRO; Konrad Agius, Hon. Secretary, Charles Calleja, Hon. Treasurer, Anthony Portelli as member and Joe Farrugia as representative for the Student section.
That first day has now become history and from then on, during a relatively short space, the MIPP has grown from strength to strength, becoming an authoritative voice for the local professional photographic community as well as being the official Government-recognized body where legislation and regulation of the local Photographic Industry is concerned. The original goal of the MIPP was to help organize and educate local photographers who were earning their main income from photography, yet, subsequent evolvement saw the Institute grooming hobbyists, amateurs as well as professional photographers.
The Institute has been run with a view of upgrading and regulating the Industry, getting Photographers to network with each other as well as teaching and formulating guidelines on various important issues that the working Photographer faces. The MIPP has its own Code of Ethics as well as a yearly revisable Statute, voted in by its members at an Annual General Meeting. Currently, a President and four Committee Members run the Institute on democratic lines.
Many are the milestones achieved by the MIPP. In fact, one of the highlights of the MIPP’s brief, but important history was the organization of ‘PHOTOFEST – 2000′ held at the Malta International Trade Fair in Naxxar. This was the first purely Photographic Fair that has ever been organized locally. Here, the MIPP’s main goals were to generate further public awareness as well as increase business in local Photography. The huge interest shown by the visitors made this a memorable event. One must recall other important events such as the first photography Seminar put up by the MIPP, in March 1997, with the help of Attard & Company. This had helped to bring local photographers together and strengthen the MIPP’s ranks. Another event held in 1998, the Photo Training Overseas, also enhanced the Institute’s international standing. This was made possible through the close ties the MIPP has always nurtured with UK Photographic Associations. This collaboration with some of the foremost British Photographic Organizations has proved so fruitful that local MIPP members have, for the past decade, been regularly invited to lecture and exhibit abroad.
Following this, an International Convention held in Rabat in 2001, was organized with no less than five top MPA officials coming over to help sharpen the skills of the MIPP members as well as to judge the first MIPP Qualifications. In 2003, the Institute hosted the Federation of European Photographers’ convention at the Victoria Hotel in Sliema. In 2010, the MIPP officially became a registered NGO and during its 10th Anniversary, in 2006, the MIPP marked this celebration through the publication of a book that highlighted the work of its members. In April, 2014, the MIPP was awarded the status of an Institute for Further Education by the National Commission for Further Education (NCFHE) and today runs a highly popular accredited part time Level 3 in Photography educational programme.
The MIPP has successfully expanded beyond the shores of Malta by establishing close ties with the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers (SWPP), the Master Photographer’s Association (MPA) of Great Britain as well as the China Photographers Association (CPA). It was also an active member of the Federation of European Photography (FEP), an organization that groups together all the top European Photographic Associations in an effort to work more closely together.
The Institute has also been instrumental in lobbying the Government to amend the Copyright laws as well as to get more recognition for the local professional Photographer. The MIPP has always advocated that the issuing of an official warrant to work in Photography is an essential step towards better regularizing the Industry and has been attempting for a number of years to get the official Authorities to implement this warrant. During its existence, the MIPP has regularly been sought out by various Government and private entities in order to regulate and organize national competitions, exhibitions and projects related to the photographic medium. This has helped the local photographic community to widen its horizons and streamline its operations.
The setting up of the MIPP’s own system of ‘Qualification’ system has further empowered members to submit a panel of their works towards gaining such Distinctions. These Qualifications are considered as valid benchmarks to high photographic capabilities. Previous to the introduction of these MIPP Qualifications, Maltese photographers had to submit their work to foreign organizations, with the process entailing not only considerable expense but also very little feedback. Today, MIPP members can locally opt to apply for three different categories: The LMIPP, the AMIPP and the FMIPP. Applicants can now personally benefit from judging and feedback sessions which are held on the island. Furthermore, these Qualifications are held in high esteem and, in 2006, through the insistence and hard work of the MIPP, the SWPP, the UK’s largest photography association, recognized the seriousness and standard of these levels and granted their Reciprocal Qualification – another important and prestigious milestone for local photography.
The MIPP’s yearly International Seminars are much awaited by local Photographers and to date have brought to our islands many top level international exponents of the art in order to lecture, demonstrate and collaborate with Maltese photographers.
In this comparatively short period, the MIPP has come a long way, continuously evolving in the process, yet its main objective still remains the “Furtherance of the local Professional Photographic Industry in all its aspects.”