UK’s largest photography show cancelled in the wake of global Coronavirus threat
The UK’s biggest photography and video show of the year, set to take place in Birmingham, has been postponed due to the escalation of the virus COVID-19 in Europe.
The Photography Show, co-located with The Video Show, is a 4-day annual event that happens at The NEC in Birmingham, offering patrons the chance to try out the latest kit and hear talks from legendary photographers and filmmakers. Each year, the show attracts thousands of photography and multimedia enthusiasts from across the country and from around the world.
Yet despite only a week ago stating the show would go on in the wake of the Government guidelines allowing the continuation of large gatherings; organisers have today taken a u-turn and postponed the event as a direct response to the”escalation of the COVID-19 Coronavirus in Europe”.
In an official statement posted on Twitter, the team behind The Photography Show announced the postponement, citing public safety as their “utmost concern”.
We have been closely following government advice for the past weeks, yet we recognise the concerns many of you have regarding Coronavirus. Your safety is our utmost concern & as a result we've decided to postpone this year’s events until September. pic.twitter.com/ST52PWP8gC
— The Photography Show (@ukphotoshow) March 9, 2020
An announcement on the event’s website – which has crashed several times today under the weight of public query – reads:
“We are incredibly disappointed that we’ve had to take this action so close to the event opening. However, it became clear that the recent acceleration in Covid19 cases in the UK has led to heightened concerns for all participants and the show would be negatively impacted from all perspectives should we have proceeded.
“We understand how important the show is both from an industry and community point of view so we are pleased that we are able to postpone to September when we are hopeful that the threat of Covid19 will have significantly rescinded. Please bear with us while we make all the necessary arrangements to facilitate this move and contact all participants.”
Organisers clarified that the cancellation was not a result of a Government order, but was taken as a result of serious deliberations with several agencies involved in the planning of the event:
“To date, The Photography Show & The Video Show has been following Government guidelines regarding the continuation of our event surrounding the outbreak of Coronavirus. However, as the news has been progressing we have listened to the concerns, from all parties, around the health and welfare of their staff.
“The wellbeing of our visitors, exhibitors and staff is of the utmost importance, we have therefore taken the extremely difficult decision to postpone The Photography Show & The Video Show until later in the year, when we will be able to deliver the show you deserve. We are now working through the ramifications of this unprecedented situation.
The COVID-19 Coronavirus is spreading globally at an alarming rate, with concerns heightened due to the lack of vaccine for the virus’ current strain, which can be lethal to those with weakened immune systems.
Last week, a patient at the Royal Berkshire Hospital who tested positive for coronavirus was confirmed as the UK’s first Coronvirus related fatality. This came on the same day an individual in Birmingham tested positive for coronavirus, becoming the city’s first patient with the infection.
Five people have since died in the UK from the virus, with the UK government’s chief medical adviser suggesting people who show “even minor” signs of respiratory tract infections or a fever could soon be told to self-isolate in an effort to tackle the outbreak.
Twitter users have taken to the news as largely positive, with many expressing their relief that the precautionary measure is a sensible decision. However, the decision has angered some who had forked out for travel to the event:
Michael Rhodes tweeted: “I was due to visit the Photography Show in Birmingham this weekend. I have booked train tickets which are not refundable. I assume you will reimburse for such costs, given that the Photography Show decided to make this decision?”
@ukphotoshow I was due to visit the Photography Show in Birmingham this weekend. I have booked train tickets which are not refundable. I assume you will reimburse for such costs, given that the Photography Show decided to make this decision?
— Michael Rhodes (@mike6480) March 9, 2020
Award-winning photographer Karen Brammer excitedly tweeted: “Tickets have arrived for The Photography Show at NEC Birmingham. So looking forward to this!” an hour before discovering the show had been mothballed.
@AvantiWestCoast How do I cancel my assisted travel, your website won't allow me to Live Chat or complete the form as it doesn't recognise either Milton Keynes Central or Birmingham International. Photography Show has just been cancelled and I no longer need the help
— KarenBrammerPhotography&DigitalArt (@KBPhoto247) March 9, 2020
Following the postponement of the Photography Show, Fujifilm Statement issued a statement revealing that they have been developing a “contingency plan” in case of cancellation.
“The coronavirus epidemic is a unique situation – and from both a staff and an audience perspective, the decision to postpone The Photography Show is the most responsible decision and one that we fully support.
“Through this evolving situation, the health of Fujifilm employees, partners and customers is our primary concern.
“While we understand, that the photography community will be disappointed, we have been developing our contingency plan for several weeks and we look forward to bringing all of the elements of The Photography Show experience to life over the coming weeks, the schedule of which will be announced shortly.”
The statement appears to suggest the global photography and imaging company has a plan in place to hold some kind of similar but smaller event experience.
Fujifilm is one of several international big brands to exhibit at the show, alongside the likes of Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, Sennheiser, RODE and Sony.
Although, this month’s highly anticipated showcase has been cancelled, organisers have now rearranged the event to be held in September instead. There will no change from the NEC venue in Birmingham.
It is not known how this will affect the hundreds of exhibitors who bring, demonstrate and trade their high-tech photography cameras, equipment and accessories; but huge losses are predicted for many who had already planned, prepped and recruited for the show, which was due to start in a mere 5 days.
Scheduled travel plans for the thousands of people who were expected to descend on the West Midlands will have fallen into disarray too, resulting into a dent in the local economy where tourism and visitors to the National Exhibition Centre ripples into the hospitality and transport sectors.
There has been no announcement from the NEC regarding a possible replacement to fill the gap now left by the absence of The Photography Show between March 14 – 17.
The #UKPhotoShow & #UKVideoShow is the largest UK event in the #photography and #movingimage industries. We will welcome over 30,000 visitors to the NEC in Birmingham this March and you could be amongst them. Don’t miss out and register NOW: https://t.co/KFh37nHdvX pic.twitter.com/nsO62LjyYc
— The Photography Show (@ukphotoshow) January 31, 2020
For updates on the situation and details about new dates, visit: www.photographyshow.com