Taking over the reins as BIPP President from Saraya Cortaville in November is Jon Cohen, formerly longserving business group manager at FujiFilm. We thought it’d be a good opportunity to delve into Jon’s background and talk a bit about how he sees today’s Institute taking an active and essential role in the professional industry.
Jon retired from FujiFilm UK Ltd in March this year, just a couple of months ahead of his 34th anniversary at the company. But how did it all begin? Jon tells us: ‘My father was a research scientist at ICI working with Ilford on colour emulsions – that meant there were often test batches for me to try, some better than others! I quickly realised I loved photography but also that I’m a really bad photographer! But the encouragement was there to find a job in that world. I stopped studying biochemistry after a couple of years and started packing boxes for Foxall and Chapman, a professional photo dealer in Manchester, becoming their manager before being invited by Graham Rutherford to join Fujimex, FujiFilm’s film distributor. In the 1990s FujiFilm absorbed Fujimex into the main business – at first I managed the northern area and then dealt with the UK social photography market.
‘The Industry was populated by so many iconic names: Bernard WilsonJones and Ruhy Shakibai running the big E6 powehouses servicing Manchester’s mail order industry and in London Joe’s Basement, a great trailblazer in the industry and the first to offer 24/7 processing. At the camera end of the business brilliant press photographers like The Guardian’s Denis Thorpe and Don McPhee were pushing topquality photography to the front pages and getting to know some of the social photography greats like George Dawber was just a real pleasure. That’s not, of course, to say this was a thing of the past – one of the appeals of this industry is that it is still populated by amazing photographers and imaging labs.’
He continues: ‘Within FujiFilm of course photography and imaging are individual parts of a much wider business. If I told colleagues from other sectors that big names in the photography world would train entrants to the industry and share expertise and knowledge they just couldn’t believe it. To me, this is a great and vital part of our unique industry – and made it somewhere I really wanted to be. And I do think it remains true today – though the challenges have become more clearly focused.’