Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones

The Final Bend was part of Bill Terrance’s submission for his DPAGB award.

A number of newer members have asked what all the various acronyms and organisations are that are regularly mentioned in bulletins and at the AGM, and in particular how they all relate to each other. When I re-read this article, the various bits that connect to other organisations made it sound a little like that old song Dem Bones Dem Bones Dem Dry Bones. So hear the word of the not quite lord:

As a club, Kilmaurs PC is affiliated to several organisations, in particular the GDPU and the SPF.

The GDPU is the Glasgow and District Photographic Union and is a fully convened body. With a history spanning over 50 years, the body has evolved into a progressive organisation promoting the highest standards of photography within clubs whilst serving the needs of the individual.   It has a clear objective which is:

“Photography is about vision, the vision to not only see a photograph but to interpret and record what we see into an image that can be enjoyed by all. To promote this concept and photography in general, the GDPU organises events such as competitions, exhibitions, workshops and practical events. These events provide clubs and individuals with a means to improve their own standards.”

The GDPU also offers affiliated clubs services such as judges and lecturers lists and the hire of exhibition boards. We are involved with the GDPU through exhibitions such as the GDPU Digital Portfolio, and also through our part in the leagues.  Kilmaurs is in League B along with Beith CC and Armadale CC.    Additionally, at the end of every season (usually the April of a year) the league winners from all six leagues are pitted against each other in a sort of champions’ league.  Kilmaurs regularly does well in this and as you may have noticed in the last Big Bulletin, in 2019 we came 3rd in this event, having already won our individual league.


So, Kilmaurs PC is connected to the GDPU. Then we have the next dry bone – our connection to the SPF. Cue key change.

The SPF is the Scottish Photographic Federation and it is the national association for photographic clubs and societies in Scotland. It is a non-profit making network of almost 100 clubs and societies the length and breadth of Scotland. The size and involvement of each club within the SPF varies widely. Founded in 1903, the SPF’s remit is to promote the art and science of photography through interaction, and this is achieved by the organisation a diary of events annually, mainly in the form of competitions and workshops. It also maintains a mailing list and supplies various services, including an e-newsletter, an SPF Directory which contains all SPF Clubs and a register of SPF Judges and Lecturers.  The aim of the SPF is “to promote co-operation between, and organise activities for the mutual benefit of, affiliated societies as well as promoting the general advancement of photography”.

Jim Stevenson’s “Hamnoy Morning” picked up an SPF Gold medal and Overall Best Print in the SPF Portfolio in 2017.

Competitions run by SPF are notably the SPF Digital Image Championship which are held annually in the November of each year (the next event is November 17th  in Stirling); the SPF Print Championship, again held annually in the February of each year, and the APF Portfolio often referred to as the Annual Portfolio and held in the early summer of each year.   All of these championships are open to clubs and to individuals who are members of affiliated clubs. In the case of the Digital Championships, each club enters a pool of up to 40 images, and a representative has to be in attendance, in order to select images for the second and third rounds.  Our own Martin Clark earned the accolade of Best Portrait Projected Image with his image of Harper.

Moving slightly along a bone spur, the SPF also hosts the Scottish Salon. Salons are international competitions that can be entered by any member of an affiliated club from any country.  Their importance lies in not just the prestige of having an image accepted (only 20-30% of entries are accepted)  or awarded, but in the way that awards and acceptances allow individuals to work towards the various FIAP (more on FIAP later) distinction levels.


Phew! Key change please

Moving up the body and one further key we have PAGB – the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain. PAGB is a membership organisation that co-ordinates activities for photographic clubs in England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland, and includes the Channel Islands and Isle of Man. It does this through 15 geographical Federations, of which the SPF is one.   Between them, PAGB affiliated federations have approximately 1000 affiliated member clubs, and those clubs have about 40,000 individual members.

The PAGB organises photographic events for its federations and clubs. It offers services such as recorded lectures and its own photographic distinctions, known as Awards for Photographic Merit.

Similar to the FIAP distinctions, PAGB also offers a system of awards known as the Awards for Photographic Merit, and some of our members hold these too. The Awards for Photographic Merit (APM) are open only to members of Clubs affiliated to the PAGB through their Federations and are at three levels

  • Credit (CPAGB) – Blue badge and certificate.       The standard for this is: Good Club Photography
  • Distinction (DPAGB) – Red badge and certificate. The standard reflected here is Open Exhibition Photography
  • Master (MPAGB) – Yellow badge and certificate.       This is the pinnacle and the standard is that of Highest Standard of UK Amateur Photography

The awards are held for life without any annual fee and holders are entitled to use the designated letters after their name.   Adjudications for awards are held at least twice a year, and there may be catch-up sessions. The aim is that nobody has to wait for more than a year from the time of application. Upcoming dates and Federation hosts are advertised in PAGB’s  Awards Leaflet-5.

 Change key again and shift to next bone.

And way up at the head of all these dry bones is The Federation Internationale de L’Art Photographique. FIAP is an international organisation, formed in 1950 and now based in Luxembourg, whose members are national associations of photographic societies. FIAP has approximately 86 member countries at present and the Scottish Photographic Federation is one of them.  This means that  SPF clubs and their members are affiliated to FIAP.     PAGB and the Welsh Federation are also members.   Individuals cannot join FIAP but  must join a Federation or a national association such as the SPF, through one of its clubs.

FIAP co-ordinate a range of activities and services between the National Federations or Countries throughout the year. FIAP’s Activities include – Distinctions both Photographic and Service Awards – FIAP Biennials – FIAP Patronages for Salons and Exhibitions – FIAP World Cup Competition for Clubs – Photographer’s Card – Audio Visual – FIAP Collections.

Osprey with Brown Trout has won Bill a few awards in different Countries, (eg Gold medal in USA and Silver medal in Saudi Arabia would you believe)

And as mentioned earlier, FIAP also run a highly prestigious distinction level system. These go from the initial two levels – Artist FIAP, Excellence FIAP – through seven advanced levels of Excellence – Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond 1,2, and 3. From Bronze to Platinum, the applicant must have achieved specified numbers of acceptances and awards since their first acceptance in a FIAP patronised Salon.   Right at the pinnacle of the FIAP awards is MFIAP. Several of our members, have achieved MFIAP or are progressing up through the distinction levels.

Segué to another key, another organisation and a veritable crescendo.

The Scottish Photographic Circle, known affectionately as “The Circle”, is one of the most fascinating of the Scottish photographic organisations, and has a number of Kilmaurs members in its ranks.
It was founded in 1907 at a meeting by a group of enthusiastic artists. At that historic meeting it was agreed that a society be formed to promote Pictorial Photography in Scotland by means of lectures and discussions on art, and this is precisely what the Circle has done now for over 100 years. Indeed, in October 2007 the Circle celebrated its Centenary with a range of exhibitions showing members work. A civic reception was also held in the organisation’s honour by Glasgow City Council.
Restricted to 40 members by its constitution, this prestigious print-only organisation is by invitation and sponsorship of an existing member.


And there we have it.   An added metatarsal is the Ayrshire Federation of Photographic Societies. The AFPS is a one-off not-for-profit body that has one sole purpose and that is to run the Inter-Ayrshire competition – an annual get-together of the “affiliated” clubs in the area to live judge the images they have submitted.  Kilmaurs has won this event for the past two years, and we hope to make it a hat-trick on October 16th at the 2019 event.


What is clear is that we have a number of members within Kilmaurs Photographic Club who have submitted images to several prestigious competitions and been very successful. Hats off to you all – you are an inspiration.

For those who haven’t had enough:


And just for fun:

Get dem phalanges a-tappin’.