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Finally, after three years of preparation, many workshops and negotiations, on 24 February 2023 the representatives of the SBF Section Zurich Central Switzerland (SBF ZZCH) and the vfg in Zurich took the first of two necessary steps towards the merger of the three Swiss photographers' associations and signed a merger agreement.
This first step marks a milestone on the way to a nationwide association for Swiss photographers, to which the aforementioned SBF and vfg as well as the USPP, which is mainly anchored in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, want to merge.
The integration of the USPP is planned in a second and final step in the autumn. Only then will the goal be achieved: to create a single Swiss professional association from the former three with similar offers and goals.
This "new beginning" will be visualised on the one hand with a new name and logo, and on the other hand with revised and updated statutes and a renewed structure. The new association will live up to the claim of having combined the best offers for members from all three predecessor associations, so that it will be equally attractive for photographers from all parts of the country. The merger offers many advantages: concentrated representation of interests is possible with combined forces, the network of members will be multiplied by the combined forces and more resources can be generated for events and platforms for creative photography. Targeted promotion and support of young professionals and access to a sustainable pension solution make membership attractive for professional photographers.
Three years of preparation
As early as 2020, representatives of the SER, vfg and USPP began to analyse the current situation of professional photographers in Switzerland and to explore the possibilities for a single, nationally active association. The many commonalities form the basis, but it is also important to deal with the equally existing differences with a great deal of respect. In regular meetings, workshops and negotiations, the profile of the future federation was and is being refined in the interest of all those involved. Support was obtained from an experienced team of lawyers who have been comprehensively accompanying the process for several months. Organisationally and legally, the matter is complex - deadlines have to be observed and correct steps have to be taken step by step. The resulting procedure is that all three associations will be brought together under the umbrella of SER (Switzerland), which has a sustainable federal structure, and then formally complete the merger with a new name and renewed statutes and structures.
Those responsible for the merger of the SER, the vfg and the USPP agree that they have made the right decision with regard to the future of the professional field of photography: Thanks to the new supra-regional offers and events, it will certainly be easier for members throughout Switzerland to enter into fruitful mutual exchange. And one is also convinced that the now initiated moving together will trigger a positive dynamic - it is to be hoped that those members who will vote on the merger agreement at the AGMs on 31.3.23 will also see it that way.