Juan Varela, Founder member of TIPA and Chairman until 2008
Why did you decide, 25 years ago, to create a new photographic association called “TIPA”?
During Photokina 1990, there were several meetings of editors and publishers interested in founding and becoming members of a new association of photo magazines. Francisco Torres, editor of the now disappeared “Foto Ventas” magazine was very active and he took care of the organisation at the founding meeting in Paris, in April 1991. Twelve magazines attended this meeting from several countries, including France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the UK. In Paris, we agreed, in addition to the official name, on three important principles of the Technical Image Press Association:
1 - TIPA would be open to all European photo magazines in print, which are independent of the product manufacturers.
2 - The association would be a non-profit institution that would spend any income collected on promoting photography, the photo industry and the value of the TIPA awards.
3 - The editors, representing their magazines in TIPA, would vote each year for the best products launched into the market in the last twelve months.
You were chairman of the association for many years. Why do you think TIPA was a success and is still a success?
The TIPA annual awards were going to be done in a totally independent way. Then, slowly but surely, year after year, the companies and retailers started to use the TIPA awards logo for their advertising and promotions. From its side, TIPA did more and more activities, such as the readers’ surveys, non-sponsored manufacturing site and cultural visits, product tests, advertising campaigns, photo contests, etc.
During these years, we saw many photo companies either disappear, after being taking over by others, while many companies new to us, mainly from the consumer electronics and the software markets came to play a more and more important role in our industry. I think that TIPA understood the changes well and took the right decisions to adapt to the times. Later on, under the new chairman, TIPA became a worldwide organisation, as the geographical frontiers no longer made sense in a connected world.
Which is your best personal memory?
My best memory from TIPA is the relations with members. TIPA also opened for me, as well as for other members, the chance to meet many European and worldwide colleagues, and also to visit their countries and to know first-hand their countries and their local markets. Now that I am no longer involved in the running of the association, I feel proud to see TIPA as a worldwide, leading media association in the imaging business.