(Polish acronym: SPFL)
From My Point of View of course
[PRZEŁĄCZ NA WERSJĘ POLSKĄ]
It was five years ago, November 29th 2009, in Warsaw, when the Air-Action Polish Association of Aviation Photographers has been founded (gallery). I am the man who stood behind the idea, one of the founders and the (proud!) president at the same time :)
It was an awesome feeling. I was observing the process, in which my ideas were planted like a seed and then they started to grow. It took a lot of hard-work, both on my side, as well as on side of many people who were close to me, but we’ve made it – AIR-ACTION became a unique place in the world of aviation-photography.
Its uniqueness comes from the fact that the whole initiative is based on a few principles, which are of paramount importance to me. Without these principles neither SPFL nor aviation photography would have any sense.
First and foremost, photography itself, in order to be effective, needs to be fun! If you are to have fun, then you need a good comradeship, hence everything needs to be based on friendship, mutual and close relationships, mutual help, smiles and a bit of “madness”! The two sentences above limit, or should limit the group of people who may join SPFL. There is no room here for the serious ones, sad ones, egoists, lonely shooters and for people who treat photography and taking photos with the highest priority. “If it was just about photography – then what is it all for?” This is our basic tag-line, which perfectly describes the SPFL’s mission. Or – to be more precise – this sentence describes distribution of the priorities. Fun is not everything. Fun is as much, and as little as a state of soul (and body?), which is the basic building block for our aviation photography.
And the photography itself – what is it like? Well, it is certainly different from typical aircraft spotting. We take photos in the first place, and the aircraft, helicopters or other aviation-related accents are of secondary importance. We are photographers who take aviation photos, not aviation freaks who record aviation with photography. You get the difference? For us it is more important to have a nice light, good background, perfect composition or good photographing technique than to take care about the model of the aircraft, its side-number, history, or technical parameters. Photography comes first, before aviation does. But do not get me wrong – that does not mean that we do not know anything about aviation. These things are not contradictory. I only want to stress the distribution of the priorities, which often has an impact on our actions related to selection of the place to shoot the photos, and our behavior throughout the shooting process itself.
SPFL aims at achieving as high photographic level of skills as it is possible. We polish our skills constantly. High level of skills is not required in case of people who have just joined us. It is important that they know the basics and that they are motivated – the rest is just a steep learning curve! Smile on your face is the basic priority – you can’t learn that!
We achieved many things throughout the last five years! We have achieved some significant successes, and some that are not visible externally, even though these are more important that the spectacular ones. For me, the greatest success of them all is the fact, that I have created an organization which is close to being perfect. All those cogs and cogwheels, which work together in order to make SPFL successful. Cogwheels which have their everyday work and obligations beyond the Air-Action Association!
Since many years we have been working together with airbases of the Polish Air Force. The cooperation, simply put, means that the Air Force lets us take pictures at the bases, and we provide the photos to them. The armed forces use our photos in return. It’s a perfect relationship. At many bases it turned out that just by getting us inside, the army gets the best photographic material possible. Not only do they get it in a form of the files published on the websites or facebook, but also in a form of small and large format printouts. We have many friends at the bases, and we take a great care of these relationships. We are proud of them. Thanks to these friendships we are able to further pursue our passion! Not only did the air bases find out that working together with SPFL may be profitable, it was also similar in case of many serious aviation events, not only in our country but also abroad. This gets us more photo passes and more opportunities, since the organizers know that our photos would prove to be a great promotional material for the given event. For me the greatest success of our Association is proven by the fact that we have become a reputable brand, both in Poland, as well as abroad. Brand which is associated with high level of photographic skills, and...with our approach towards photography as well.
It is a great feeling to be known both in Moscow, as well as in Las Vegas. To have fans in Japan, UK, Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy and so on. I am proud when our foreign friends ask us for advice and when they create their own associations, based on the principles which govern the SPFL AIR-ACTION association. And we have been active for only 5 years now! Bravo! ;)
Alright, and now is the time to celebrate! :)