Today I went to Photo Marketing Australia (PMA) in Melbourne, there were a few interesting things I saw and heard about.

Firstly something that came as a complete surprise was the news that Kentmere paper and Rollei films have a new distributor in Australia. Rollei products as far as I knew, had been imported by Vanbar. I was told that Rollei film is manufactured by Maco, I was unsure of this having only read different things on the web, but I received this verbally from a newly appointed distributor, so I assume it’s correct. Pricing of both Kentmere paper and Rollei film and its associated products, hasn’t been finalised. I have been assured that pricing would be keener than previous. I understand that this means pricing will be under what Vanbar have been charging, we will see.

I was given a test pack of Kentmere 8x10” VC Select, Fine Lustre medium weight paper. This product was a surprise to me, I didn’t realise until I was home, that it is an RC paper! I was under the impression that it was a non-plastic coated paper, could be an interesting paper in the future. The one thing I’m kicking myself for, is not getting the name of the new distributor, so I don’t know whom it is, there is nothing at all on the test sample packaging to indicate this information.

I made my way to the CR Kennedy stand, had a chat with Marc Payet who is National Sales Manager-consumer (that is what his card says) which takes in Ilford products. After talking only a short time with him, it appears that the distributor of Ilford products in this country is having a bit of an uphill battle in getting their range of products available known.

For instance; I found out that llford in Australia has 8x10” and 11x14” film, ex-stock, sitting in their warehouse. I think there are quite a few photographers using 8x10” who would be interested to know of the availability of this product locally.

This film is available in both FP4+ and HP5+ in both sizes. I have not seen this film on any Australian dealers website, which begs the question, why not if it’s available ex-stock from the distributor. Surely it doesn’t cost them too much product adding time, to list an item for sale.

The MGIV RC paper promotion in 8x10” sheets should still run for some months as there is a fair amount of stock in the country. This paper is available in the 100 sheet boxes and you get 20 sheets as a bonus, effectively a 20% discount is one way of looking at it. I haven’t seen or heard anything about this from photo shops, I only found out about it after purchasing at Vanbar and finding the promotional info on the outside of the box, I bought six boxes on the spot. This offer is also available in 25 sheet packets, but I don’t know the amount of free sheets you get.

Coming to Australia will be the 8x10” 100 sheet RC paper promo with the multigrade filters attached. So anyone in Australia who wishes to get a new set of MG filters, virtually for free, hang out for it and ask repeatedly when it’s coming at your local photoshop (if you have one).

I don’t envisage being able to purchase 4x5” Ilford film in 100 sheet packets, seems our market is probably too small, so 25 sheet packets or purchase overseas, which is what I will do, unfortunately.

I saw the Daylesford Foto Biennale stand and picked up their excellent 48 page programme guide. It appears that there will be some very interesting photographic exhibitions, which are, as far as I can see, free.

The main exhibition I wish to see is the Charlie Waite (UK) “Landscape” one. Hopefully I’ll get to see original prints, instead of magazine reproductions. This is in the town of Daylesford.

Steph Tout, in the town of Clunes, has “Ensemble Place By Pinhole”.

Kay Mack, in the town of Daylesford, has “Chasing Shadows”. In recent years Kay has been focusing on shadows, making them the main feature of her images. Kay works in B&W silver gelatin and I have seen her work over the last 20 years or so, it should be thought provoking and interesting.

Jeff Moorfoot, in the town of Smeaton, has “Turn me off – Turn me on” Large format images of electrical components. Not sure whether these are silver gelatin prints, we’ll see.

There are literally about 50 free exhibitions of various things photographic, some film based, some electronic, happening over the entire month of June and finishing on July the first.

I think, after seeing the actual programme of events, exhibitions and workshops, there is real value in passing through the Daylesford and district area sometime during June, if you are able.

Mick.