The Association of Photographers was originally formed in 1968 as the Association of Fashion & Advertising Photographers (AFAP, although it later became AFAEP when editorial photographers were embraced). In 1993 the Association changed its name to The Association of Photographers.
It was initially formed by a number of leading professionals joining together to take on Model Agencies, after they demanded unworkable terms that including a 17% rise in rates almost overnight and across the board. Together they co-ordinated a campaign which took 12 years to finalise, and culminated in a lasting agreement with the Association of Model Agents.
The AOP has always recognised the many pressures photographers face and over the years it has seen the effects of the three-day week on members; fought attempts by the unions in the 1970's, to introduce a "closed shop"; launched the Photographers Awards in 1984 and purchased premises in Domingo Street, where its first public gallery opened.
It saw successes and expansion in the 1980's during which it started to fight for another cause, and 8 years later was rewarded with, the passing of the Copyright Designs & Patents Act 1988. In the early 1990's the Association saw its member's weather the recession and in 1994 published the first edition of Beyond the Lens, now in its 4th edition.
In 1997 the AOP launched its first web site, following the trends introduced by the digital age, which had taken a grip on photography as a whole and introduced perhaps the biggest changes since celluloid replaced glass as a medium on which to record images. Since then, technology has totally changed the manner in which people now interact with photography and images, the AOP's site was upgraded in 2013 and Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, YouTube and Google+ have become regular forms of communication.
Today, the Association continues its mission to promote, protect and fight for the rights of individuals to protect their rights by submitting responses to Government consultations on changes to copyright legislation; participating in the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) governmental working groups; working closely with other visual arts organisations; and being part of the British Photographic Council and British Copyright Council.