Congratulations to Richard who recently gained his Licentiateship of the Royal Photographic Society. The successful panel of ten photographs is featured below, along with Richard’s summary of the whole experience:
I joined the RPS back in November as it seems to be much more receptive to the type of photography I want to do than the typical camera club judge. As soon as I joined I decided to have a bash at their entry-level, licentiate distinction and quickly assembled a panel of ten prints from existing images for an advisory day I attended in Manchester in February while still hobbling around on crutches after fracturing my hip.
At that, a panel of RPS judges give you advice about your work in front of an audience of other members, telling you the good, the bad and the ugly. They also pick through the best of your spare images to make a panel that they feel would improve your chance of success. For an LRPS you need to demonstrate competence across a range of different techniques, show good control of the camera and produce finished prints. And although the panel does not need to have a theme running through it, it should be balanced and pleasing to the eye. One of the best bits of advice from that day was not to print any larger than A4 unless you want to show up your flaws.
I reworked my panel in line with their advice and entered myself for assessment at the RPS offices down in Bath in early April as soon as I could safely drive again. These are pretty stressful events as again the assessment is done by a panel of five RPS judges in front of a public audience. However although everyone can hear their commentary, the judges sit with their backs to the audience and their voting is done by discretely flashing green or red cards that only the coordinating judge can see.
Also only the names of those who the judges recommend for the distinction are announced to the audience with the majority of applicants appearing to wait for a suitable time before quietly slipping out of the auditorium to collect their rejected portfolios. I was one of the lucky ones but I suspect I scraped by on a majority rather a unanimous verdict, I’m busy writing another book at the moment but am already exploring some ideas for compiling a portfolio for the Associate distinction which requires 15 images around a theme. So I guess I’ll take a bash at that sometime in the next couple of years.
It’s not cheap – £130 annual membership, plus £20 for an advisory day and £65 for an assessment, but you do get the monthly RPS magazine which I think is exceptional, and discounted fees to courses and workshops. I also pay extra to participate in the North West Region Landscape Group and Contemporary group, where the only rule is your image has to be about something, not just of something.