Two already powerful associations have teamed up to tackle issues photographers face. The Evidence Photographers International Council (EPIC), the premier association for evidence and forensic photography, recently joined forces with the Alliance of Visual Artists (AVA), the world's largest umbrella group of professional photography associations. Now the already influential AVA has an even more unified front and greater impact on issues concerning photographers' livelihoods.

"This is a significant step because, in the past, the photography industry has suffered most from a lack of unity," says AVA CEO David Trust. "Now that photographers are banding together, we have much greater influence on issues such as copyright, health insurance, and other legal concerns that are being dealt with on Capitol Hill."

EPIC's mission is similar to the other photography associations under AVA—but in a vastly different industry: the forensic photography of civil evidence and law enforcement. And no, it is not just CSI. It is so much more. EPIC focuses on the advancement of forensic photography, while serving professionals in medical photography, crime scene photography, forensic evidence, civil evidence, insurance analysis, and video documentation, among others.

Although EPIC serves a specialized group, its members share similar needs for benefits and protection with the entire photographic community. Their decision to team up with the larger AVA aligns diverse areas of photography and focuses on what can help the industry in general.

"EPIC's Board of Management agreed 100 percent to merge with AVA," says Robert Jennings, EPIC's president and executive director. "The field of digital imaging is an exploding market, and this partnership will increase the benefits and educational opportunities for law enforcement and civilian evidence photographers."

What's the first step in running such a diverse group of photographers? "Our first task will be to talk to the members and find out what they need, and then use that information to build valuable resources and benefits for EPIC members," promises Trust. "AVA has a proven track record of listening to our members and providing them real-world services and benefits that help them be successful. Our commitment to EPIC is no different."

AVA is currently developing some new and revamped resources for EPIC. The annual conference, EPIC School, will now be co-located with Imaging USA, an event drawing almost 8,000 attendees ( Members of EPIC will be eligible for other AVA discounts and services, too.

EPIC was founded in 1968 as a non-profit educational and scientific organization with the primary purpose of advancing forensic photography and videography in civil evidence and law enforcement. In 1984, EPIC began to host an annual conference, providing awareness and education of evidence photography. Their seminars and workshops are now held internationally and throughout the U.S. For more information, visit

Better known for its largest association, Professional Photographers of America (PPA), AVA also holds the Society of Sport and Event Photographers (SEP), Commercial Photographers International (CPI), and the Student Photographic Society (SPS). AVA exists to increase the benefits and services to professional photographers through the professional and efficient administration of photographic and other visually-oriented associations. For more information, visit