July 2, 2021 | News
But more changes are afoot, and, thankfully, today we have a positive announcement for the organisation — the election of a new Interim Council President, Johanna King. It’s an exciting time for both Johanna and the association because she has put so much work into the IPPVA over the last year and a bit, and it’s great to see — but not surprising — that the council has recognised her efforts and her natural ability to lead by voting her in as Interim President. We sat down with Johanna to ask her a little bit about her background and what are her thoughts on becoming the President of the IPPVA.
Let’s start with your background — What you shoot, and when you started your business?
My main activity, what makes my heart sing, is documentary family photography. I also embraced video and love creating emotional and contemporary family films.
I spend between two and eight hours with my families and capture everyday memories, family milestones; as well as family events, special day outs, and even vacations. My goal is for them to leave with a photobook that tells the story of what their family’s lives feel like at that moment in time. I include two mini-duplicates of the main album with all my orders for the children as well.
I believe that these images become part of their legacy and their value only increases with time.
I transitioned into photography from web and graphic design in 2014. At first, I thought I would do both, but I quickly realised I wanted to pursue photography full-time. In the beginning, I started by photographing newborns, families, and weddings. Before jumping in with both feet, I spent a year second shooting for another wedding photographer (Hi, Leanne Keaney!), learning the craft on the job. It was the best thing I could have done! There is no better way to figure out what you love best or what you’re best at than actually doing the work. I realised very early on that I loved documenting what was happening around me, without interfering or posing people. Real-life and real moments trump everything for me and people tend to relax better when I don’t ask them to stand in a particular place 😀 The best part really is letting kids be kids — for both parents and photographers, it takes the pressure off.
I am happy to let go of the control and observe and figure out the best way to capture what’s in front of me. I am rewarded with photographs I couldn’t even have imagined. Children especially are full of surprises! My favourite photographs, the best moments I have captured, could have never been set up.
When did you join the IPPVA and why?
I joined the IPPVA in 2018. It had been on my to-do list for a while but I had not taken the time to create my application until then. I remember wanting to be part of a “local” group of photographers. There are so many learning opportunities online these days, but most of the teaching is done by US or UK photographers. I still value my online communities, but I wanted in-person events and being able to talk to other photographers about similar struggles related to Ireland. I remember joining a little before the Awards Gala and I had a blast! When you’ve spent 10 years working for yourself, you don’t have that many opportunities to dress up and go to a black-tie event (no Christmas parties!) Seeing the awards also made me want to get better and keep pushing myself and so I started submitting work.
When and how you started in the IPPVA Council?
I started working on the IPPVA council in November 2019.
I didn’t feel “ready” yet, as a fairly new member, but outgoing IPPVA council member Rónan Palliser was really convincing :). I could see where the association could improve and evolve and if I wanted some things to change, there was not a better place to make an impact.
We were a brand new, fresh council of six, ready to take on some big projects. We were tasked with reinforcing the benefits of the IPPVA’s membership and its 70 years-old mission, while also improving certain aspects. There was so much we wanted to do at first, it was difficult at first to know what to prioritise and focus on.
Kevin Kheffache was elected as IPPVA President in January 2020, in February we represented the IPPVA at ProFoto and one month later, we faced a pandemic! Talk about a time to “settle in” the role. The last year has been a really difficult one for our industry. It also did give us more time to work on the IPPVA, so we did invest quite a bit of it.
What has/have been your role/s with the council up until now?
One of the big projects we took on as a new council, was the rebranding of the IPPVA website. Professional videographers had become a part of the association in 2018, but the previous website didn’t allow them to showcase their work. We also wanted the new website to raise the profile of the association and its members. We know how important it is right now to emphasize the standards of our members to members of the public.
The website has been the project I invested most of my time on, but I think I was pretty much involved in everything the council has done in the last year and a half. And when I say “the council”, I also include all the volunteers who work alongside the council on specific projects. We never have too many helping hands!
The projects included Covid-19 related supports, Lobbying, Education, Sponsorship, Awards, PR, Blogging, Community, Marketing… and I’m probably forgetting some!
I have learned A LOT during my time on council, in very diverse areas and it’s definitely something I would recommend everyone does at some stage.
What are your thoughts on being elected Council President?
I certainly never imagined I would ever call myself the IPPVA President when I joined the association or even when I joined the council. When Kevin Kheffache expressed his intent to step down after more than one year on the job, it’s like everyone turned around to look at me – except it was on Zoom 😀
When Kevin took on the role of president, we all agreed that it was to remain a largely ceremonial role. Our constitution says that the president shall act as a public figure of the IPPVA as appropriate. The role would include activities as giving speeches, presenting awards, promoting the IPPVA via goodwill, and offering support and advice to the council and CEO. And the truth is that I’m not big on being in the spotlight, so the idea of giving speeches or speaking in public isn’t really something that appeals to me. But a part of me wanted to use this opportunity to overcome those fears. I channeled Elaine Barker and the girls from the Female Photographers Network (A community to promote female representation in the photography industry.) and said “let’s do this”.
What you hope to achieve as President.
Honestly, my goal is just to continue what we’ve been doing so far as a team.
I will personally keep caring and make sure that we are representing the best interests of our members in everything we do. I hope that my “term” will see the return of in-person events so we can connect with each other again.
Have you any interesting photography projects currently in the pipeline?
I’m just happy to be back out there photographing families! I’ve really missed photographing other children than my own 😀
As far as personal projects go, I self-published my first photobook (‘Balance’) at the end of 2020 and I can’t wait to be able to go back out there to show it, in person, to the volunteers of the Santry Community Garden who are the subject of the book. I’ve also been working on a personal project since early 2020 and it’s still ongoing. I’ve basically been photographing the “same” scene all throughout the year. And while things are the same, things are also very different, and I’m fascinated with the passage of time. At the moment, I’m wondering whether it’ll ever be published and in which form. But there is no rush!
Behind The Image — Elaine Barker, First Place in IPPVA Classic Wedding Photographer of The Year 2021