IMAGO: Marking a bright new era

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IMAGO: Marking a bright new era

By Mustapha Barat ABC

In his first dispatch since becoming president – following a period as interim president in 2021 – Mustapha Barat ABC lays out his vision for IMAGO as it aims to position itself at the centre of international cinematography.  

As my first column as IMAGO president, I feel humbled and daunted not only by the road ahead but also by the prospect of having to regularly fill this space with meaningful content about IMAGO. I am aware that most readers do not follow the intricacies of the international federation of cinematographers, and I will endeavour to shine a light on our work and our plans for the future as they are relevant to you, the cinematographer. 

The IEGA, the Imago Extraordinary General Assembly, turned out to be a very positive and uplifting exercise in international democracy. Considering that since the time I was briefly interim president in 2021, the federation had wrestled with the thorny question of statutory term limit. However, the Gordian knot was broken when the IEGA overwhelmingly voted to uphold the statutes concerning eligibility and I was elected as a fully legitimate candidate, enabling IMAGO to move forward. 

It is very important to the worldwide image community, both sponsors and members, that our legitimacy as an organisation is accepted and respected and we can prove that we take our own rules and regulations seriously. We need to get our own house in order before asking others to do the same. I therefore thank the IEGA by having done the right thing and putting IMAGO back on track as a proper, open democracy.  

As the first IMAGO president originating from a Latin American society, it is an opportunity to pursue the steps taken by some of my predecessors to aggregate more non-European societies, furthering the transition from a European to an International federation, without neglecting the fundamental European base on which it was built, and bringing back societies that have left.  

I would like to pay tribute to the two vice-presidents, Adriana Bernal ADFC and Bojana Andric SAS who, while both busy filming, managed to act as interim president and bring us successfully towards the IEGA. The IEGA also elected further board members Denis Lenoir AFC ASC ASK and the ex-president Nigel Waters BSC who both have much to contribute along with the other members, the full list is now available on the IMAGO website, In the board meeting following the IEGA, which was live streamed on YouTube as all board meetings are since 2021, Aleksej Bercovitch RGC very graciously handed his role as General Secretary back to Alex Linden FSF who was originally elected to the post at the 2021 IEGA. I want to use this opportunity to thank Aleksej for all the hard work he has put into the post, and also look forward to working closely with Alex, and Hannah Phillipson, IMAGO’s dedicated administrative assistant. 

Finally, the IEGA was also an opportunity for Roger Simonsz BSC to present his last accounts to the assembly. I took over from Roger as treasurer at the beginning of the year and we worked closely together to make the handover as smooth as possible. In the two years Roger was treasurer he brought transparency and accountability to the fore as well as restructuring the membership fee to a proportional system, allowing IMAGO to become a truly international federation where even the smallest societies can afford to join. Having now become president, we are actively looking for someone to fill this important role and hopefully I shall have more news on that in future columns.  

Like any voluntary organisation, IMAGO is only as efficient and effective as its members. We have some very hard working and dedicated committees that are always looking for people to get involved if their particular subject interests you. The IMAGO website carries full information on all the committees and their work and if anyone feels motivated, please get in touch with the relevant chairs. Needless to say, you need to be a member of an IMAGO member society, but if you’re reading this from a country whose society is not yet a member of IMAGO, please get in touch so we can set your society’s application in motion.  

I look forward to working with this new team and to put IMAGO at the centre of worldwide cinematography. I would like IMAGO to become the hub of communication and interaction on all subjects related to cinematography so there is one point of reference where anyone can find the right information and feel a part of the international federation of like-minded people. We exercise a fantastic craft that often gets undervalued and at IMAGO we are uniquely placed to lift the art of cinematography from irrelevance and back into the projector spotlight where it should be. Only by working openly, democratically, and fairly together can we achieve that, and I strongly believe we will. 

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