VIGEX

History 2009 to 2018

Background

In 1978 a Past-President of the Geelong Camera Club, Leslie James (Jim) Abrahams (1922-  1987), proposed that Geelong should conduct an international exhibition.  Jim was a man of vision and determination, so he gathered a group of (then) present and past Geelong Camera Club members to work with him- so VIGEX was born. For VIGEX though, like most organisations, things did not always run smoothly.  In the Corio Bay Camera Club minutes of 26/5/1988, just after the 1988 salon it was reported that a committee for the 1990 VIGEX salon had not yet been formed and that a meeting was to be held "probably to wind up VIGEX" on June 21 of that year. Thankfully, that did not happen and VIGEX continues to be a highly regarded international salon.

The name ''VIGEX" is derived from Victoria Geelong Exhibition.  The exhibition  is currently the only international photographic exhibition  conducted in Victoria under the patronage of European based Federation  Intemationale de I'Art Photographique (FlAP), Photographic Society of America (PSA) and the Australian Photographic Society Inc.  (APS).

2009-2018

VIGEX  has conducted  international photographic salons in Geelong since 1980.  Until 2015, these were exclusively  print salons that were run every second year (except in 2012 when the salon was postponed until 2013 due to unexpected delays in obtaining the appropriate patronage approvals).  The biggest print salon ever conducted had occurred  in 2008 when more than 3900 entries were received from 43 countries.      The 2010 salon attracted a good entry but since

then, entries in the print salons have declined markedly - a common  issue with print salons everywhere because of the increasing number  of digital salons emerging  around the world. These have made it easier (and cheaper) for entrants pursuing  photographic honours to achieve them.

The financial management of any salon is a key responsibility of the organising committee.  In this, VIGEX has for many years been assisted by its formal network of supporters, the "Friends of VIGEX", who provide financial support through membership donations and volunteer labour at the judging and exhibitions.  Nevertheless, in 2014 the committee was concerned that the 2010 and 2013 salons had each run at a loss, thereby eroding its limited reserves. To alleviate this problem, the committee applied for a Community  Arts Grant from the City of Greater Geelong

to help fund VIGEX 2015 and was delighted  to receive a grant of $5,000.

In 2015 the VIGEX  committee, in an effort to increase revenue to support its ongoing commitment to the print salons, decided to run a digital salon in the year between the print salons.

The first of these was conducted  in 2016. 392 entrants from fifty countries submitted over 4800 images.   As well as being a very successful salon in its own right, the revenue raised gave the VIGEX  committee a solid base from which to continue its print salons into the foreseeable future.

The first digital salon exhibition was screened in the old council chamber of Osborne House. Osborne House is an 1850's, heritage listed, bluestone mansion overlooking Corio Bay in North

Geelong.  In 2010 the  Osborne Park Association (OPA) had obtained a lease for the East Wing of Osborne House.VIGEX became a member of the OPA and moved its base to Osborne House prior to the 2013 salon when the use of the ceiling storage space at the Geelong Camera Club rooms, its long term base, was found to be unsafe. Prior to the OPA taking out its lease,

Osborne House's most recent use had been as the headquarters of the Shire of Corio.   From

1993, when nine local Geelong councils were amalgamated into the City of Greater Geelong

(CoGG), until2010 the site had been virtually unused.

The first salon in 1980 was exhibited at the State Government Offices in Little Malop Street, Geelong (known locally as the "upside down building").    All subsequent exhibitions until 2015 were held at the Geelong Gallery (and for a period also at venues in Melbourne  viz; 1988- 1996 at the Westpac Gallery, Victorian Arts Centre and in 1998 at the Waverley City Gallery).  In 2017 however, the VIGEX committee  was unable to secure the Geelong Gallery for its print exhibition.

During 2016 CoGG provided funding for the restoration of a large former ballroom at Osborne House (part of a 1910 extension carried out when the property was occupied by the Geelong Harbour Trust). This renovated space was seen to be ideal for the VIGEX print exhibition and the loss of the Geelong Gallery, while disappointing, was not seen to be a major threat to the exhibition. Unfortunately in April 2017, just before the judging of that year's salon and only about three months before the planned exhibition, CoGG locked all Osborne House user groups out of the building due to the discovery of mould across the precinct.  This placed the committee under a lot

of pressure to find an alternate venue in a very short time.  The search proved successful when

Sacred Heart College in Newtown agreed to house the 2017 VIGEX Exhibition in their gallery space. While this venue was quite suitable, its location was less than ideal for people wishing to attend from outside Geelong. In early 2018 therefore, the committee secured the Geelong Library and Heritage Centre (adjacent to the Geelong Gallery) for its 2019 print exhibition.

After the "lock-out" at Osborne House, VIGEX needed a new (temporary) base. The committee resumed its monthly meetings at the Geelong Camera Club rooms and CoGG offered the use of Centenary Hall in Norlane for the judging and exhibition of the 2018 digital salon at no cost for which the committee was very grateful.

Technology

In April 2014 the committee decided to purchase a new UK computer software suite called 'K-Salon' to.  streamline all the back-office administration for VIGEX 2015 and future salons.  Prior to this all the data relating to entrants, images, scores etc. had to be input manually into home grown database applications. K• Salon features include user-friendly online entry, payment via PayPal and computer-generated, bar coded labels to identify and track all entries. K-Salon was already in use at Bristol, Oxford and Solway salons in the UK and had been endorsed by the PSA for salons in the USA.  With K-Salon, VIGEX now had a sophisticated integrated management system which significantly enhanced the efficient running of its salons.

In June 2016 VIGEX was very pleased to receive a grant of $2,300 from Geelong Connected Communities (GCC), a community support initiative of Bendigo Bank. The grant was used to purchase a new high definition projector and a screen to view entries for the judging and the public exhibition of award and accepted images for the initial and future digital salons.

The Committee

Over the years, many people have served as office bearers or as general committee members of VIGEX.  These people along with the many judges and volunteers at the judging weekends and exhibitions in the twenty-one salons run since 1980 have made VIGEX what it is today.

Below is a table of committee members since the 2010 salon.

Salon

President

V-President

Secretary

Treasurer

General Committee

2010

D.  Bufton

J.  Thyer              

G. Robson

K.  Steel

C.  Spence, B.  Spence, B. Hoveling,B. Cohn, S. Gray, C.  Klein, Tuck Leong, N. Griffin.

2013

D.  Bufton

K.  Steel

D.  Bridge

C.Klein

C.  Spence, B. Spence, B. Hoveling, B. Cohn, J.  Thyer,K.  Organ

2015

B.  Cohn

B.  Spence

D.  Bridge

C.  Klein

C.  Spence.   M.  Stokie, J.Thyer, Gerry van der Meer, Gloria van der

2016

B.  Cohn

B.  Spence

D.  Bridge

C.Klein

C.   Spence, M.  Stokie, J. Thyer, Gerry van der Meer, Gloria van der Meer, A. Cerasuolo, J.  Jansen, F.Kennedy, C. Reichl

2017

B.  Cohn

Gloria van der

Meer

J.Jansen

C.  Klein

C.  Spence, M.  Stokie, J.  Thyer, Gerry van der Meer, A.  Cerasuolo, F.Kennedy C.  Reichl, D. Bridge, B.  Spence, S. Whitson

2018

B.  Cohn

Gloria van der

Meer

J.  Jansen

C.  Klein

C.  Spence, M.  Stokie, J Thyer, Gerry van der Meer, A.  Cerasuolo, C.  Reichl, D. Bridge, B.  Spence, S. Whitson, B.

Murray


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