FIAP history


Who goes there, Matthew Jones, Wales

"The year 1950 will remain engraved as a famous year in the chronicle of photography", those are the words of introduction of Dr. Maurice VAN DE WIJER, spiritual father and life leader of the International Federation of Photographic Art (FIAP), at the opportunity of the opening of the constitutive Congress of FIAP that took place in Berne (Switzerland) from 17th to 19th June 1950.

- With these words, Dr. VAN DE WIJER was indeed right, but before being able to proceed to the official act of the foundation of FIAP, the steps were numerous. In 1891 already, the idea of an international organization of the photographic movement comes up. There arises at that time a real enthusiasm, but more animated with excellent intentions than with a real activity, the International Photographic Union is going to sink in the storm of the first world war. Dr. M. VAN DE WIJER, by profession a physician, but also a football and photography fanatic, is one of the first in the world to recognize in photography an ideal approach for friendly international contacts. Member of the "Royal Circle of Photographic and Scientific Studies of Antwerp" (Cercle Royal d'Etudes Photographiques et Scientifiques d'Anvers) (Belgium) from 1918, he participates successfully in many international photographic salons and he makes the acquaintance of a great number of foreign photographers and leaders of photographic associations. As physician of the Belgian national team of football, he profits from his travels abroad to make, as would a pilgrim, contacts with photographer friends worldwide.

The idea of an international photographic federation is born in his mind; it is finally in 1946 that Dr. M. VAN DE WIJER takes the initiative to found, in the interest of photography, a world organization conceived on the modern basis of assembly of peoples. He contacts Ernest BOESIGER (Switzerland), tells him of his idea and offers him the secretary of FIAP named initially International Union of Photographic Societies, then International Council of Photographic Art and finally International Federation of Photographic Art. One can tell that FIAP exists truly since the beginning of 1947, with M. VAN DE WIJER as founder-president and E. BOESIGER as secretary. 

The first countries to associate to it are Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Portugal and Switzerland; in September 1947, Denmark, Finland and Hungary make the number of members up to eight. At the moment of the 1st founding FIAP Congress in June 1950 in Berne (Switzerland), FIAP already counts 17 affiliated nations : Austria(*), Belgium(*), Brazil(*), Cuba, Denmark(*), Spain, Finland, France(*), Hungary, Ireland, Italy(*), Luxembourg(*), the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden(*), Switzerland(*) and Yugoslavia(*). (The countries marked by * are present or represented at the 1st Congress). The first official Directory Board is constituted as follows :

President: Maurice VAN DE WIJER, Belgium 

Vice-Presidents: Roland BOURIGEAUD, France 

- Bo VESTERLUND, Sweden  

- Italo BERTOGLIO, Italy 

Secretary General: Ernest BOESIGER, Switzerland 

Treasurer: H.B.J. CRAMER, Denmark 

Member: Lode VAN ZEIR, Belgium

According to the adopted statutes at the 1st Congress in Berne, the members of the Directory Board are elected for a period of two years and they are eligible for re-election; the vice-presidents nevertheless can remain in office no longer than two consecutive years. The director of the Service of Portfolios belongs to the Directory Board as a member.

Because statutes have only changed very little in the 50 years of existence of FIAP, it is worth spending some time to remind ourselves of its two basic principles : 

FIAP is constituted by the national federations of the different countries, at a rate of one federation per nation or of one national society able to be accepted as representative for its country. 

• All considerations of a political, ideological or religious order are absolutely banned from the activities of FIAP. The statutes evoke also the four aims to strive for : 

- 1) of moral order, by creating, under the banner of photography, brotherhood links and friendly relations between the affiliated federations and by supporting the development of friendship between people with a view to strengthening the peace in the world 

- 2) of material order, by strengthening the defence of the regular interests of the affiliated federations, by coordinating their efforts in the intention to reach some particular advantage 

- 3) of scientific and artistic order, by helping the spread of photographic knowledge, by developing artistic qualities, particularly through exhibitions and travelling portfolios 

- 4) of national and international order, by ensuring before the public authorities and the high authorities that govern the world, the representation of the photographic movement intending to give to the photographic art the place it deserves 

French is proclaimed first official language of FIAP, but official texts are translated in English and German. One insists on the autonomy of the national federations and on the fact that the Congress is the supreme organ of decision. These statutes are completed in 1954 with a charter voted unanimously by the delegates present at the Congress of Barcelona (Spain). It states in the introduction that "The International Federation of Photographic Art, placing its activity on the universal level, has given itself the mission to raise photography to its peak by developing the photographic spirit through all countries, in the triple intention to increase the culture of citizens, to contribute to the technical, documentary and artistic enrichment of nations and to contribute, in the measure of its resources, to the strengthening of the peace in the world". Already during the constitutive Congress of Berne in 1950, a precise regulation concerning international salons is presented and voted. The first leaders of FIAP prove to show an extraordinary perspicacity and an exemplary dynamism by the publishing of so complete texts from the first general meetings of FIAP; thus they deserve our high deference and our profound recognition. The vice-president of that time, Roland BOURIGEAUD (France), has contributed efficiently to the writing of the first official texts of FIAP. 

A new administrative exploit has to be mentioned in 1970 with the publication of the Code of FIAP that, besides statutes and the charter of FIAP, comprises many regulations concerning international salons, FIAP Biennials, FIAP distinctions and the numerous commissions created in the meantime.

This volume of 132 pages contains a very practical alphabetical table of contents. Since then, these regulations have undergone a systematic update, the Service File that will be published at the opportunity of the Congress of the 50th anniversary in 1999 in Thun (Switzerland) will certainly be of a great use. With numerous citations, Dr. M. VAN DE WIJER has praised his first and most efficient companions of accomplishments: the secretary general Ernest BOESIGER and the vice-president Roland BOURIGEAUD. Let us dedicate some lines to these pioneers by quoting the founder of FIAP who has occupied the position of president of FIAP until 1976, while remaining member of the Directory Board until his death, on 25th February 1994, at the age of 97 years. 

"When I decided to found the international body of which you are member, he (Ernest BOESIGER) was the first to reply to my request and he devoted himself without counting on a task becoming heavier and more difficult year after year. Without him, FIAP would not have become what it is now. His proverbial good nature, his administrative discipline, his will to welcome with favour all solicitations, consolidated the links that unite us for so many years". ”My immense gratitude goes to Roland BOURIGEAUD for the precious and legally clever assistance that he grants us for so many years. France and FIAP must be very fortunate to have at their service a man of a so high quality”. If Dr. VAN DE WIJER had to write this article today, he would mention indeed the innumerable merits of his collaborators and successors to the presidency: Odette BRETSCHER (Switzerland) and Maurice DORIKENS (Belgium) who have both occupied the secretary general position prior to acceding to the presidency. Their great competence based on a rich experience and their exemplary dedication have made FIAP grow to the organization that the founder stated as having made the happiness of his life. During the last decade of our century, Xenophon ARGYRIS (Greece) and Enric PAMIES (Spain) hold the rudder of FIAP, the first to approach seriously the problem of the headquarters and of the corporate body of FIAP, the last to concentrate essentially on the qualitative development of catalogues of salons and international exhibitions. Mrs. BRETSCHER wholeheartedly agrees with this, because she observed in 1978: "The cultural contribution of photography has been too long underestimated; it is high time that photography be integrated into the cultural acquisitions of our era to rank alongside all the pictorial arts." 

Aside from Ernest BOESIGER, the secretaries general of FIAP that have not acceded to the presidency did not hold their position very long. I understand them very well, because the idealism that is necessary to come to the end of this task is near to the limit. Among the current servants of FIAP, it is the treasurer Horst JOST (Germany), in place since 1975, who knows it best; he has worked under all presidents and with four secretaries general. His long experience, his proven memory and his realistic judgments constitute rich values in the management of FIAP.

If the statutes of FIAP have not changed much since their debut as for the aims of FIAP, it nevertheless needs to be mentioned that during the passing of the years there have been particular modifications to the internal administration of FIAP. By a vote without discussion, the number of vice-presidents has been reduced from three to one in 1958. Following a negative advice of the administrative commission, an initiative to modify the statutes tending to limit the duration of the mandate of the members of the Directory Board to 8 years and that of the mandate of the president to 12 years has completely failed in 1968. The Directory Board of FIAP has, in 1976, expressed its reservations for a change of statutes proposed by the above-mentioned commission, by emphasizing that "it is the personalities and not the statutes that develop an activity within FIAP". Hence the proposed modification has not been voted by the Congress of Varna (Bulgaria) in 1976. Only the number of vice-presidents has increased from one to four and the Directory Board has been enlarged from five to nine, including the president relinquishing his mandate, but remaining a member of the Directory Board. An outline of the modification of the statutes has been presented by a jurist during the Congress of Reims (France) in 1983. At the Congress of Miltenberg (Germany), four years later, the majority of the congressists has given a mandate to the Directory Board only to adopt the statutes to the current situation, without nevertheless touching the structures of FIAP. It is finally during the Congress of Brussels (Belgium) in 1989, that one has proceeded, after a short discussion, to the global vote of the new statutes that fix the number of representatives in the Directory Board to nine persons and reduce the number of four vice-presidents to two. They specify that members of the Directory Board are elected for a period of four years and that at each Congress voting takes place only for a half of the Directory Board, the outgoing members being reeligible. 

If the Directory Board has, according to the statutes, most extensive authorities of administration and management, the Congress that takes place in principle every two years is the supreme body of FIAP and each member country present or represented at the Congress has the right to one vote. In this context, it is necessary to specify that a motion voted in 1985, during the Congress of San Marino, states that "the plenary sessions of the Congress are not intended to discuss small changes to the regulations. These have to be managed by the Services or by the Directory Board. The plenary sessions of the Congress have to be reserved for discussions on the great options of FIAP".

Delegates of the national federations have inevitably to be citizens or residents of the country of the affiliated federation and member of this federation. As for the structure of FIAP, it is necessary to remember that the current statutes declare that : "FIAP is composed of the national federations of various countries, on the basis of one federation per country or of one national society which can be acknowledged as the representative of its country. Only these national organizations are the ordinary members of FIAP. All considerations of political, ideological, racial or religious nature are totally excluded from the activities of FIAP".

According to the statutes in force, FIAP plans the following objectives: a) to develop and promote photographic knowledge in the world on an artistic, educational and scientific level; b) to foster in the name of photography fraternal links and friendly relations among all member federations, and develop trust among peoples in order to strengthen peace in the world. The statutes insist on the autonomy of the national federations and confirm that French and English are the official languages of FIAP; all important texts are in addition translated and published in German and Spanish. Without touching the fundamental principles of FIAP, one can in the medium term conceive a revision of the statutes to strive to a greater opening of FIAP. Before tackling this specifically, some preliminary problems, like those of the management, the corporate body and the headquarters of FIAP are to be approached. It will be necessary to ensure on the other hand to guarantee the primacy of the federations and the national associations, to ensure them the privileges that they have and in no manner to injure their rights, otherwise, confusion will follow. For that purpose, preliminary consultations are necessary, in order not to risk causing irreparable damage by an uncontrollable opening. 

The Congresses of FIAP take place since the foundation of FIAP at a regular biennial rhythm (except for one occasion due to the withdrawal at the last minute re the 15th Congress), as we can observe in the account of the Congresses, which also mentions the three extraordinary Congresses that have been inserted and that have taken place in 1967 in Toronto (Canada), in 1975 in Padova (Italy) and in 1979 in Canberra (Australia).

If it is necessary to recall that the extraordinary Congress of Padova was that of the 25th anniversary of FIAP, it must be specified that the 24th ordinary Congress of FIAP that took place in 1997 in Shenzhen (China), is the first to be held outside of Europe, which gives it a very significant value. To return in 1999 to Switzerland, the country that has hosted the constitutive Congress and that has assumed during 26 years the General Secretariat is so very normal. If one comes to speak about service accomplishments, it is necessary indeed to add that Belgium has during 39 years presented either the president or the secretary general of FIAP and that it was Germany that since 1952 provides, without interruption, the treasurer of FIAP. With three organizations of Congresses, Germany, Spain and Switzerland hold the record. Each decade has known vain attempts to modify the official denomination of the International Federation of Photographic Art; it is necessary to congratulate for it those responsible persons and the congressists, because this is not an essential preoccupation of FIAP. Other problems are indeed of greater significance; many national federations having chosen recently for a change of denomination have had to discover that this change of name alone did not automatically provide new vitality.

The annual contribution for the ordinary members has sometimes been adjusted to the cost of living. I will not quote all increases, but I will mention some changes. It was 10 US dollars in 1950 which went to 20 dollars in 1958 and to 30 dollars in 1966. Two successive rises in 1973 and 1974, partly due to fluctuations of the dollar, have obliged us to increase the annual contribution to 100 dollars; at that time this increase was also motivated by a contribution towards the expenses of the 25th anniversary Congress (extraordinary Congress) that took place in Padova (Italy) in 1975. A little later, we went over from the dollar to the DM to introduce in 1978 an annual contribution of 300 DM that was increased to 400 DM in 1984. Today the base contribution is still 400 DM, but it is not uniform. To avoid a general increase of the contribution, the Congress of 1995 in Andorra approved a scale of the contribution of four levels: 800 DM, 600 DM, 400 DM and 200 DM. This four-level classification was well received and has been applied since 1996; it proves to be more equitable with regard to developing countries and small countries. Over many years, countries in difficulties with payments have been sustained generously by sponsorships and by a fund of endorsement operative from 1993 to 1997. Still today, some well-off countries agree to sponsor societies which have difficulties with payments, a very estimable initiative. From 1999 onwards there will be a new currency: the EURO; FIAP will adapt accordingly.

The increase of the contribution is going together with the growth of the number of ordinary members. At the time of the constitutive Congress in 1950, we have quoted 17 affiliated nations; five years later, this number was already doubled. Midway through its existence, FIAP counts some sixty members. A boom of affiliations, due especially to political changes in East Europe, produced in 1993 eleven new affiliations. The years 1995 with four affiliations and 1997 with seven affiliations bring the number of ordinary members to 80 and prove that the interest in FIAP is still growing. It is for neutrality purposes that the Directory Board has decided in 1996 to refer solely to the statutes of FIAP concerning new applications for ordinary members. 

As the statutes of FIAP evoke absolute political neutrality of FIAP, it is not necessary to require the recognition by U.N.O. or some other international organization to proceed with the affiliation of a new ordinary member. As the statutes state, on the other hand that "FIAP is composed of the national federations of various countries" and that "only these national organizations are the ordinary members of FIAP", FIAP can not admit as an ordinary member an organization like F.A.P.A. (Federation of Asian Photographic Art), but it likes to maintain relationships with such organizations, as proved by the good contact with F.A.P.A. At the moment, the Nature Commission of FIAP is for example in contact with P.S.A. (Photographic Society of America) to agree on a common definition of Nature Photography. Note by the way that FIAP accepts clubs as "individual members" in countries where no federation or affiliated national association exists as an ordinary member of FIAP. These individual members pay the half of the base contribution; they are not admitted to participate in FIAP Biennials and are not allowed to vote at the Congress. 

If the Directory Board has renounced until now the establishment of a defined headquarters for FIAP, nevertheless from the beginning it hastened to ensure recognition by UNESCO. Long before obtaining this recognition, a permanent delegate has ensured relationships to UNESCO. It was on 15th February 1962 that FIAP was admitted officially in category C of non-governmental organizations (NGO). For your information, it is necessary to specify that at that time the categories are distinguished as follows:

 A) consultation and association relationships;

 B) relationships of information and consultation;

 C) relationships of mutual information.

A temporary suspension procedure of FIAP was cancelled in 1972. After several attempts of collaboration with UNESCO, FIAP dared to ask in 1985 for admission in B category; minor motives were evoked to refuse this request: the lack of an official organ of communication with the members and the too unequal geographical distribution.

Great disappointment in 1995, when the general conference of UNESCO, in the application of new directives concerning relationships of UNESCO to NGO, decided to reduce relationships of FIAP to UNESCO at a purely informal level. The Directory Board of FIAP reacted immediately and constituted a map proving the efforts of collaboration produced by FIAP. Two years later, a temporary reclassification of FIAP to operational relationships was pronounced; in April 1998, the definitive reclassification of FIAP among NGO classified in operational relationships was confirmed by UNESCO. 

This reclassification is equivalent to a promotion, because UNESCO distinguishes three types of relationships with NGO: 

1) formal relationships for a continuous cooperation; 

2) operational relationships for flexible, but dynamic partnerships allowing the common program's implementation; 

3) informal relationships. 

FIAP is proud to be the only international organization in the domain of photography that benefits from this status of recognition on the part of UNESCO. It will not fail to appear deserving of its reclassification, by launching to world level photographic projects illustrating subjects recommended by UNESCO. 

FIAP, without great financial resources and managed until now on the basis of volunteer work, has regularly attempted to made itself known by different kinds of publications. Lacking financial resources and the necessary sponsorship to issue its own periodical, FIAP was glad to find successively the collaboration of CAMERA (Lucerne-Switzerland), FOTOCAMARA (Argentina) and L’OFFICIEL (France) that were considered as the official publications of FIAP during the first half of its existence. In 1979, the Directory Board launches the system of magazines approved by FIAP; it concerns in principle the magazines of federations or national associations affiliated to FIAP. At this time, FIAP counts 37 approved magazines throughout the world; they are obliged to publish periodically information on FIAP and to print regularly the lists of the international salons under FIAP Patronage. Between 1954 and 1966, FIAP has issued regularly, in a biennial rhythm and in 5000 copies, a photographic yearbook containing more than 100 photographs. Sale difficulties put an end to this activity, resumed sporadically by the publication of four volumes of the Historical Collection of FIAP, whose last issue dates back to 1989. As the number of photographic publications for commercial purposes has considerably increased on the international market, FIAP encountered difficulties in selling its publications, despite a reduced number of copies printed. The most recent photographic publications of FIAP are the catalogues of the FIAP-KODAK Award, publications 1990/91 and 1992/93. Thanks to the long photographic experience acquired by Mr. Vlastja Simoncic (Slovenia) with young children, the Youth Commission of FIAP has been able to issue in 1995, during the FIAP Congress of Andorra, a photographic guidebook for young people under the title "Kinder fotografieren ohne Kamera - Children take photographs without camera". It is not necessary to lament too much about the relative deficiency of photographic publications by FIAP itself, as the FIAP Biennials issue each year two catalogues and more than 100 organizers of international salons under FIAP Patronage are annually publishing illustrated catalogues. For the Congress of the 50th anniversary, a photographic work with a unique character is issued by FIAP; it contains more than 250 reproductions of works donated by member countries of FIAP, works entered by the candidates applying for the photographic distinctions of FIAP. 

From its foundation until today, the Directory Board of FIAP benefits from the assistance of the Services and Commissions that have very precise responsibilities. The statutes of FIAP tell that the president, the secretary general and the treasurer of FIAP can surround themselves by "Services" that help them directly. The Congress can, on the other hand, create "Commissions", formed of specialists, to which the Directory Board may entrust the task of studying some problems being in their competence. If the Services have an executive role, the Commissions have a consultative mission that is defined by a regulation. If a Service is managed by only one "Service Director", the president of a Commission surrounds himself normally with collaborators. Given the volume of his work and the difficulties of the languages, the Directory Board surrounds itself with other collaborators as continental representatives, writers and translators.

During the 50 years of existence of FIAP, the number and appointment of the Services and Commissions have changed often. Experience and necessity guarantee the survival of the most important which are on one side the Distinctions Service, the Patronage Service, the Collections Service and the Service of Biennials, and on the other hand the Audio-Visual Commission, the Youth Commission and the Nature Commission.

It is opportune nevertheless to underline that those responsible for the Services have a definite almost daily task to control and that their work is featured by a serious and regular commitment. For the presidents of the Commissions, it is rather a more sporadic and more theoretical work aiming the elaboration of regulations and definitions in a well defined context. In the interest of the followers of the audio-visual, the AV Commission provides a very precious work by its loan service functioning since 1976; a yearbook always updated provides all useful information on this subject, with in addition other very valuable data on the international audio-visual. In an alphabetical account, one tries to cite the officials of the Services and Commissions of FIAP since its foundation until today; archives presenting some gaps can be the cause of involuntary omissions. 

One of the FIAP Services is managing the FIAP Biennials from which you will find the practical statement in this work. The Biennials represent in fact the only periodic photographic events of FIAP; they are organized in turn and on the basis of volunteer work in the different member countries of FIAP and they have a very particular characteristic, different from the international contests taking place under the Patronage of FIAP.

The four Biennials (monochrome prints, colour prints, colour slides and nature) alternate at the rhythm of two Biennials a year; this has not always been the case. The two first Biennials (1950 and 1952) were limited to monochrome photography. After a mixed Biennial for photographs in 1954, there were two mixed Biennials for photographs and slides in 1956 and 1958. In 1960, two different Biennials were organized, one for colour prints and slides, the other one for monochrome prints; this meant alternating odd years for Colour Biennials (prints and slides) and even years for Monochrome Biennials. The first edition for slides only was born in 1977, date at which one has disassociated the colour print from the colour slide. After a year without a Biennial in 1979, a new rhythm was installed from 1980 until today with two Biennials a year: the Colour and Slide Biennials in the even years and the Monochrome and Nature Biennials (1st edition in 1981) in the odd years. Note by the way that two Biennials of Diaporamas have taken place in 1975 and 1978. The first FIAP Biennial which took place during the constitutive Congress in 1950, received the participation of 15 countries; today, in good years the numbers can be forty, so representing half of the countries that are members of FIAP. As the number of participating countries has constantly increased, one had to limit the number of works by each country to arrive today at 10 photographs (one per author) and 20 slides (maximum of two per author); all selected works at the national level are automatically accepted by FIAP.

For FIAP Biennials, the national collections compete; it is not only the quality of the individual work that counts, as at the numerous salons under FIAP Patronage, but FIAP asks for coherent collections, as well from the viewpoint of inspiration and conception as from the viewpoint of execution and presentation. National federations have therefore in their interest to define clearly the subject of the collection they submit and to present the works with a consistent appearance; the public will be able to appreciate to its exact value the homogeneous collections from the viewpoint of theme, technique and presentation, because it is the harmony of this trilogy that is able to raise the FIAP Biennials to the level of all other artistic manifestation. 

The Directory Board of FIAP asks the national committees and the juries of the Biennials to respect the fundamental principle of the Biennials during the national selection and during the final judgement. The judgement of the collections received by the organizer is made in two steps: a) the judgement of each work of a collection; b) the global judgement of the collection. The total score of a collection is obtained thereafter by the addition of the points from the two different judgements. The ten collections classified as best are rewarded with prizes. FIAP insists that the exhibitions and projections that take place afterwards are managed with care and that the published catalogues are of a very good quality. In this context, most organizing countries deserve the grateful thanks of FIAP and of the participating countries and authors. Document 296, issued in June 1995, administers the organization and the procedure of the Biennials. We must not reproach the current Directory Board for making its own intervention; as well Dr. M. VAN DE WIJER as Mrs. O. BRETSCHER had the quality of the Biennials at heart. Hence the "Grand Prix VAN DE WIJER" is awarded every two years, since 1980, to the country best classified in the combination of Monochrome, Colour and Slide Biennials; in 1985, at the moment of leaving the presidency of FIAP, Mrs. O. BRETSCHER created "the Great Nature Prize - Trophy Odette BRETSCHER" to reward the country best classified in the combination paper prints and slides of the Nature Biennials. 

Similarly to the FIAP Biennials, between the years 1960 and 1970, at an irregular rhythm, four photographic contests named "World Cup of Photography" for national collections of 20 works took place. These manifestations have been held in a first stage at the level of the different continents where three federations of the continent in question made the judgement; the winning country having been awarded with a continental cup. In a second stage, three federations of three different continents have designated among three competitors per continent the winner of the World Cup. In a diplomatic way one has put an end in 1978 to the unhealthy rivalry between Biennial and World Cup by the writing of the document on the Biennials; the winner of a Biennial obtains since then the "World Cup", followed by 3 FIAP medals and six honorary mentions, to total ten prizes to award during a Biennial to the best classified national federations.

The Youth Biennials, which conform to a different regulation, have alternated in an irregular rhythm with the FIAP-Photo-Forum-Youth (FIAP-Foto-Forum-Jugend / FFFJ). The available records have not allowed tracing a complete statement; it is opportune nevertheless to mention the countries having organized with certainty one of the two activities for young photographers. For the Youth Biennials between 1966 and 1989 it involves Norway, France, Italy, Netherlands, Germany (R.F.A.) Bulgaria and Belgium. For the FFFJ between 1965 and 1997 these are Germany (R.F.A. and R.D.A.) Yugoslavia, Poland, Finland, Denmark, Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg and Slovenia. To avoid in this context all confusion, one will confine in the future to the appellation Youth Biennial to advise that it is now in its 21st event, during the Congress of the 50th anniversary in 1999 in Switzerland, Congress lodging also the 25th Monochrome Biennial. During the 24th Congress in 1997 in Shenzhen (China) it was proposed by the Directory Board and the Youth Commission to reduce the youth categories of age from three to two: category I up to 16 years; category II from 16 to 21 years. 

FIAP often gives up the beaten track to embark, alone or with other firms or international organizations, into unusual photographic projects. By these ventures, often placed in the context of some international problems, the advancement of photography as an art is being reinforced and the prestige of FIAP is reasserted. Here you find in chronological order some of those photographic competitions: "Cup AGFACOLOR-FIAP" in 1972, "One world for all - Un monde pour tous" in 1974, "Human settlements - L'habitat" in 1976, "Work and leisure - Travail et loisirs" in 1978, "Children of today, hope for the future - Enfants d'aujourd'hui, espoir pour demain" in 1979, "The photographer witness of his era - Le photographe témoin de son temps" in 1982, "Sinews of prosperity" in 1983, "Shelter for homeless - Le logement des sans-abri" and "Health for all, all for health - La santé pour tous, tout pour la santé" in 1987, "1st FIAP-KODAK Award" in 1990/91 and "2nd FIAP-KODAK Award" in 1992/93. In this surely incomplete listing, I do not mention the projects that didn’t come to fruition; we must think about the amazing success of the contest organized in 1987 with the collaboration of WHO/OMS (World Health Organization - Organisation Mondiale de la Santé) with as its theme "Health for all, all for health". Some 1725 photographers from 127 countries have indeed entered 11.500 works to interpret with sensibility this vast subject; 105 selected works granted a unique exhibition in its kind to be held in 1989 during the 20th FIAP Congress in Brussels (Belgium). 

During the same Congress, there was the opportunity to commemorate on 19th August in Mons, by an appropriate photographic exhibition and an academic session, the 150th anniversary of international photography. As president of the Belgian federation, Jacques DENIS made an interesting discourse by retracing the shared merits of NIEPCE, DAGUERRE and TALBOT in the progression of "one of the most wonderful discoveries" as François ARAGO, deputy and man of science, designated the discovery of photography, on 19th August 1839 (exactly 150 years earlier), during a discourse in the grandstand of the academy of sciences in Paris (France). 

Apart from the purely photographic contests, it is worth mentioning the two contests of Essays organized by FIAP in 1989 and in 1992 on the subjects "The portrait" and "The limits of photography" that have each attracted some thirty texts, a remarkable success. Without wishing to go into too many details, I want to mention that the Directory Board has the intention to launch in 1999, during the Congress of the 50th anniversary, two photographic projects of a very great interest for the present and future generations.

The first proposes to gather photographic works of a socio-documentary character realized by photographers of FIAP between 1950 and 2000, hence during the 50 years of existence of FIAP; this collection, indeed adapted to the publication of a summing up book, could have as its title "FIAP, its photographers and our world between 1950 and 2000".

The second, intending to make an inventory of our world in the year 2000 and being able to be named "The life in the year 2000", plans to gather photographs realized between 1st January and 31st December 2000; this project conforming to the targets of UNESCO could perpetuate and transmit the patrimony of the year 2000 to future generations.

For almost ten years, the number of international salons taking place annually under the Patronage of FIAP exceeds the hundred. FIAP assigns to international salons a great importance, proven by the regulation issued from the constitutive Congress in 1950. It is specified that an international salon has to invite the participation of "most of the countries of the world" to be able to be granted the Patronage of FIAP. It enumerates some requirements about the calendar and gives directives on the quality of the works, the entry fee, the jury, the duration of the exhibitions, the catalogues, etc. In broad terms, this regulation, stating that the Patronage is granted by the president of FIAP, is still valid today, but as the correspondence relating to the salons has increased, a Service devoted exclusively to the Patronage has been created. In order to facilitate applying for Patronage by the organizers, an application form has been created in 1977; it is updated periodically.

Since 1979, the Service of Patronages has been publishing regularly, by the channel of the general secretariat, the listing of the international salons placed under the Patronage of FIAP. The regulations governing the conditions for obtaining the Patronage and the conditions of management of salons in question have been updated in 1978, 1980, 1986, 1991 and 1997. The regulation actually prevailing (document 298) has been published in June 1997; it includes the management of photographic circuits regrouping up to five salons and excludes authors' salons (salons by invitation). 

To be able to benefit from the Patronage of FIAP, a salon must be open to all countries of the world and no author can be excluded. Salons or events with geographical or other limitations can since 1994 (document 292) take place under the Auspices of FIAP, without giving right to acceptance points for the FIAP distinctions. If the first regulations of Patronage required a rather rigid calendar, the current regulation allows all freedom to the organizer to fix its calendar; after having it published, the regulations state that it must be strictly adhered to. In the present document, the Directory Board has deleted the more theoretical parts, or has shortened them to render them more practical for their application. It is essential to distinguish clearly between recommendations and requirements before not complying with these. If the format of the catalogue (21 x 21 cm) is only indicated as a recommendation, its illustration is nevertheless required. To respect the choice of the author, works in colour have inevitably to be reproduced in colour; in this matter, no exception is permitted. To limit the expenses of the organizers, FIAP has no requirement in regard to the size and the number of the works to publish in the catalogue. The FIAP Patronage granted to an event has to be considered as a warranty of quality. If the organizers want to profit from the obvious advantages that the Patronage of FIAP conveys them in regard to the participation, they have on the other hand to comply with the requirements of FIAP in order to work together, in a common effort, to raise the level of photographic art to the same level as other artistic expressions. The Patronage of FIAP has to become the warranty of carefully organized exhibitions and projections and of high quality catalogues. Stars of quality that the Service of Patronages grants to catalogues are a practical information for the participants; a catalogue deserving the four or five stars justifies obviously an entry fee higher than for a mediocre quality catalogue that will always appear too expensive. It is opportune to specify that FIAP does not want to collaborate with salons with solely commercial purpose and with salons with too limited subject matter, but that it recommends salons with imposed subjects, provided that it concerns themes taken in a very large sense and accessible to the whole world. It is necessary to specify that the responsibility of the Patronage Service, just as the president of FIAP, can not interpret the regulation of Patronage "according to who is the applicant"; an internal infringement regulation governs its practical application and does not admit exceptions. For the moment, the document concerning the Patronage of audio-visual events (document 190) still awaits its revision, but for the purpose of coherence, it is already necessary to apply now the same criteria for the composition of the jury and the participation of the members of the organizing club as for salons for single photographs or slides. 

One of the main reasons that prompted the idea of the plaquettes of recognition of FIAP, available since debut 1993, was precisely to reward international salon organizers proceeding regularly under the Patronage of FIAP; this shows to what extent FIAP respects deserving organizers. This has allowed at the same time the re-evaluation of the FIAP medals which must be exclusively awarded to the winners in salons under FIAP Patronage; for the events placed under the Auspices of FIAP, one has indeed created a special unique medal. If the plaquettes of recognition of FIAP are thus very recent, it is not the same for the individual distinctions of FIAP. From 1954, the decision to create honorary distinctions of FIAP is taken; one thinks on the one hand of distinctions to reward photographic talents (AFIAP and EFIAP) and on the other of a distinction for services rendered to FIAP (HonEFIAP). The regulation concerning these distinctions was published a year later, but for the badges, one had to wait until 1963. Just as for the Patronages, applications for distinctions are in the beginning to be addressed to the secretary general. For the AFIAP distinction (Artist FIAP), it is then necessary to have a majority decision from either the Directory Board, or from the Artistic Commission. For the EFIAP distinction (Excellence FIAP), one requires a unanimous decision of the Directory Board and a majority decision of the Artistic Commission. For the HonEFIAP distinction (Honorary Excellence FIAP), the unanimous decision of the Directory Board and of the Artistic Commission is necessary. In the Code of FIAP published in 1970, one notices that the ESFIAP distinction (Excellence for rendered Services) has been added to already existent distinctions. 

An accurate regulation for the FIAP distinctions with norms far more definite for the photographic distinctions was published in 1977 and completed in 1979 by the addition of the new photographic MFIAP distinction (Master FIAP) created in 1978. From then on, the entering of applications involves on one side an administrative file and on the other hand a photographic file. For the non-initiated, I want to add that, in the popular language, I like to compare the AFIAP distinction to a certificate of qualification, the EFIAP distinction to a certificate of mastery and the MFIAP distinction to the doctorate. A committee of distinctions takes decisions by majority, except for the HonEFIAP distinction that requires a unanimous decision. In 1982, a special regulation for distinctions for authors of audio-visual sequences was published. Despite the writing of an increasingly precise regulation concerning FIAP distinctions in 1990, the problem of the distinctions remains an actuality. As the norms of acceptance in international salons under FIAP Patronage have meanwhile become very accurate for the AFIAP and EFIAP distinctions, the national associations transmit the applications, after having controlled them, to the Service of Distinctions for the administrative part and to the Service of Collections for the photographic part; the two Services collaborating closely take the appropriate decision without the advice of the Directory Board that, by itself, will judge by majority the MFIAP dossiers, applications for which the applicant introduces a portfolio homogeneous for the subject, the technique and the presentation. For the ESFIAP and HonEFIAP distinctions, two distinctions for services rendered to FIAP, it is not sufficient to have merits on the national level, but it is necessary to have some on the international level with definite and positive effects for FIAP. 

If the Service of Distinctions, by its experience, is authorized to judge by itself to grant or to refuse an ESFIAP distinction, it consults the Directory Board in doubtful cases. For the HonEFIAP distinction, the highest in the context of services rendered to FIAP, a unanimous decision of the members of the Directory Board is required. Some weeks after the publication of document 286 in July 1991, the Congress in Vitoria (Spain) is surprised by a Belgian motion wanting to add to the EFIAP distinction stars to stimulate holders of the EFIAP distinction to continue to participate in salons. After some discussion, a modified motion inviting the Directory Board to introduce different EFIAP levels was approved. In 1992 already, an addendum on 4 new EFIAP levels (bronze, silver, gold and platinum) is ready; it is presented to the congressists in 1993, during the Congress in Driebergen (Netherlands). There remains to specify that the holder of the conventional EFIAP can apply for the MFIAP distinction without going through EFIAP levels. The last regulation of FIAP distinctions (document 294) published in June 1995, takes into account the recent modifications and addenda. 

The audio-visual proving to be a substantially different artistic way from the photographic disciplines serving the static image, special distinctions for the artists of the audio-visual have been finalized in 1995 with the new distinctions AV-AFIAP, AV-EFIAP and AV-MFIAP, distinctions that one can obtain only by the way of the audio-visual, while traditional photographic distinctions (AFIAP, EFIAP and MFIAP) remain reserved to artists in the traditional disciplines. A regulation for FIAP distinctions in audio-visual (document 295) outlines all details. From 1999, the introduction of new forms is expected for the applications for distinctions. Note that for each FIAP distinction a badge exists with a different colour and that FIAP gives to each worthy candidate a card and an appropriate diploma. 

Lovers of photography not wanting to participate in international salons, but practising actively the photographic art within a society member of a national association affiliated as an ordinary member to FIAP, can nevertheless demonstrate their membership to this vast FIAP family by obtaining on request from their national association a FIAP badge in blue enamel; this badge exists already since 1954. Those that truly want to identify themselves with the principles and aims of FIAP can from 1970 obtain a FIAP identity card, named since 1984 legitimation card; to validate it, it was necessary to replace regularly the stamp of validation. To make things easier, FIAP has created in 1991 an entirely new FIAP Photographer's Card that shows a photograph of the holder, that is plasticised and valid for life. 

As the applications for the AFIAP and EFIAP distinctions include inevitably a photographic dossier of five to ten works, the Service of Collections has been able to accumulate in the progress of years a voluminous artistic patrimony exceeding by far 10.000 photographs, without counting the slides.

From the origins of FIAP, the Service of Collections has realized travelling collections constituted of original works. In this context, it is important to note that FIAP was present at many occasions and successfully at the photokina of Köln (Germany), either with such collections called travelling, or with exhibitions specially prepared for that purpose. This presence of FIAP at photokina had its importance for the image of FIAP and for its relationships with industry; it was facilitated by the fact that Dr. M. VAN DE WIJER had friendly links with Mr. Fritz GRUBER, who was responsible for the photokina. Hence the 4th FIAP Biennial was also exposed at the photokina in 1956, during the 4th Congress of FIAP, an opportunity at which the first mayor of the city of Köln, Dr. Ernest SCHWERING, gave to Dr. M. VAN DE WIJER the imposing presidential chain. The last official presence of FIAP at photokina dates from 1986, when the German federation (R.F.A.) offered a part of its place to FIAP. As many travelling collections returned either damaged or incomplete, or did not return at all, the Service of Collections had to put an end to the practice of travelling collections. For the same reason, the exchanges of collections between member countries of FIAP became less and less numerous. In 1957 for instance, 33 photographic portfolios of 15 countries and composed each of some thirty photographs have been exchanged between member countries of FIAP. The Service of Collections has had to make an appeal to another practice very well appreciated: it realizes copies on slides of the AFIAP, EFIAP and MFIAP works and loans them to the national associations. With some guarantees, FIAP puts at the disposal of its members photographic collections such as those of the FIAP-KODAK Award or those that ILFORD has recently realized by printing 225 slides of the photographic patrimony of FIAP on ILFOCHROME paper; this gratuitous performance of the House ILFORD (Fribourg-Switzerland) has allowed the realization of three collections for exhibition called "FIAP-ILFORD NATURE" and comprising each 75 works. A few years ago, the Collections Service and some members of the Directory Board have undertaken a really long and fastidious task. 

Over many days, the photographs AFIAP and EFIAP of the artistic patrimony of FIAP, wholly deposited at the Service of Collections, have been sorted by country, before constituting two different collections; on one hand the collection called "Photographic Patrimony of FIAP", regrouping the great majority of works and on the other hand the collection called "Collection 2000 - Fiftieth Anniversary of FIAP" that comprises a selection of some forty photographs per country, in which are all the photographs of the ancient collection called "Historical Collection". In this way, this ancient "Historical Collection" whose first choice has been made in 1976, with the purpose of constituting an entirety that gives an overview of the evolution of photography in the time and in the world, has been completely preserved, even expanded. 

Works of the "Collection 2000 - Fiftieth Anniversary of FIAP" are reproduced in this volume of the 50th anniversary and displayed in different places of the city of Thun (Switzerland), during the Congress of the 50th Anniversary. The "MFIAP Collection", composed of some 1600 photographs, represents the third part of the artistic patrimony of FIAP. Caring for optimal conservation of the works of its patrimony, FIAP has sought and found the collaboration of the Museum de l’Elysée in Lausanne (Switzerland); on the 5th November 1992, a convention of deposit was signed between the director of the museum and the secretary general of FIAP. In this convention, the museum warrants to FIAP the conservation, the archiving and the consultation of its collections; the collections of FIAP remain distinct from the museum funds and remain indivisible. FIAP will be able to have use of its works for exhibition purposes by notifying the services of the museum three months in advance. At the moment, 6000 photographs are already deposited in the museum; the same quantity will be ready to be forwarded there in the near future. In the context of the patrimony of FIAP, it is also necessary to mention the library of FIAP that is composed of catalogues of salons under FIAP Patronage, magazines of the federations and photographic publications.

For the moment, it is still stored at the residence of the secretary general, but the necessary steps are taken to deposit it in a public place where there is a consultation possibility. 

If FIAP does not publish a journal, it is firstly a problem of language and secondly a financial and marketing problem. At least 10 times a year, the general secretariat has contacts with all the member countries and with the approved photographic magazines, by the dispatch of mail in four languages. It is necessary since 1991 to make here the distinction between INFOS, a more general information, and regulations that are published as DOCUMENTS. All are numbered for purposes of dating and classification. If the regulations are of the greatest importance, some definitions formulated by FIAP are of a great practical interest. For reasons of efficiency, FIAP does not like to correspond with an address or an anonymous postal box, but with a well defined person, called FIAP Liaison Officer, who is the intermediary between FIAP and the national association affiliated as an ordinary member to FIAP. He has to be the reliable person in the partnership between the national associations and FIAP and he has to transmit the information and the mail in the two directions. To ensure a certain continuity in this important task, it is recommended not to change frequently the Liaison Officer. At several opportunities already, FIAP has published a practical summary presentation; the last, in the form of a folder, dates from 1997. It is written in English and French: "What is FIAP? - Qu’est-ce que la FIAP?". On the same occasion, a self-adhesive sticker of the 50th anniversary of FIAP has been published. In 1999, the achievement of FIAP flags and ties will go together with the historical and photographic publication of the 50th anniversary. One notices hence that FIAP, endowed with very limited financial resources, makes efforts to let itself be known; the connection to INTERNET in the summer of 1998 contributes indeed for this aim. On the other hand, FIAP wants to know at best the structures, the way of working, the problems and the aspirations of its ordinary members; for that purpose, it contacts them periodically by enquiries. 

While wanting to safeguard the interests of the purists in the photographic practice, FIAP cannot ignore the new techniques practised by the modernists, on the condition that the photographic process is utilized in the realization of each work; so it recommends handling, during the international salons, classic and modern processes on a level of equality.

It insists on the diversity of techniques and invites international salon organizers to specialise their event in regard to subject and technique. It makes a strong appeal to the ethical spirit of the photographers to respect strictly the claims of copyrights and to avoid all kinds of plagiarism. FIAP was happy to find in Catalonia (Spain) a collaborator willing to organize a contest having as its theme "The new techniques and trends", salon that has permitted the publication of volume II suggested by FIAP. 

If FIAP is materially impoverished, it is rich in realizations, in projects and in ideals, at the moment to commemorate the 50th anniversary of its existence. The inhabitants of the member countries enrich themselves mutually by their diversity; they differentiate in fact by their race, their culture, their language and their religious idea. This fruitful confrontation finds a happy symbiosis in the universal language of the image that unites us more strongly than our differences separate us and creates considerable friendly links between individual human beings throughout the whole world. It is precisely the universality of the practice of Photographic Art that builds bridges between peoples and that ensures the radiance of FIAP. It is hand in hand that we have to strengthen and expand the structure of FIAP to the approach of the new millennium. Numerous are those that, during the long 50 years of existence of FIAP have shown us the example to follow. It is in the volunteer work that they have devoted all the long hours of their leisure time to a noble task, sparing neither their time, nor their sorrow and in finding the unique reward in the sole satisfaction of the accomplished duty. That all of them are thanked honestly and from the depth of the heart and that they have the assurance to see their efforts survive in a noble realization enriching all those that cherish Photographic Art and FIAP ! 


 It is the alliance of SCIENCE and LIGHT that has given birth to Photography, this ART with multiple facets that will surely continue to evolve in the decades and the centuries to come. 

That FIAP continues to play in this evolution its role of dynamic promoter ! 

Emile WANDERSCHEID - Mamer (Luxembourg),

Secretary General - December 1998

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