R-E-D-U-X: RPS 00

Hangin’ With The R.P.S.

As I started trawling through the archives of skate stuff that I’ve shot during this last year, I came across my portfolio that I submitted to The Royal Photographic Society in April….

The Royal Photographic Society is a unique organisation, not only for its long history – founded in 1853 to ‘promote the art and science of photography’ this has remained its mission up to the present day – but also because it embraces all aspects and genres of photography.

The only requirement for becoming a member of The Royal Photographic Society is an interest in photography. However, to be awarded one of The Society’s prestigious Distinctions, you need to prove your abilities as a photographer.

You might be thinking that the RPS is about as ‘establishment’ as it gets. That’s probably a fair observation – it’s not ‘rad’, or ‘gnarly’, and it’s certainly not ‘sick’. But, to a photographer, they represent the history, heritage and the future of photography as an art form which, after all, is exactly what it is.

As a photographer with many years of experience, shooting just about every subject you can imagine….well everything except weddings (!) …..I thought that it was about time that I pulled my finger out, got off my ass and applied for an RPS Distinction.

As with any kind of photography, it’s always going to be something different or out-of-the-norm that grabs your attention, holds your interest, and gives you something to think about. So I thought the best way to achieve this was to submit a portfolio of skate ‘portraits’ – something that the RPS wouldn’t see every day of the week!

There are 3 levels of Distinction within the RPS: the first being ‘Licentiate’, the second being ‘Associate’, and the highest being ‘Fellowship’ – awarded to those who have made a significant contribution to the art and progression of photography.

I obviously didn’t, still don’t, and probably never will, feel worthy enough to go for a Fellowship – only a very small number of photographers are awarded this level of Distinction – so, I thought I’d give the ‘Associate’ level a shot.

There are several categories for each level – applied, visual, natural history, etc – I opted for the ‘Contemporary’ category as I didn’t think that my stuff would comfortably sit anywhere else. For the ‘Associate’ level in this category, you must submit a panel / portfolio of 15 images and a 150 word ‘Statement Of Intent’.

This Statement must ‘set the scene’ of what you are attempting to portray / message you want to communicate, through your portfolio. A great emphasis is placed on the congruence between the photographs and the Statement, ie. one has to reinforce, and add strength to, the other. (My ‘Statement’ is later in this feature.)

REDUX - Harvey Mills by Skateboarding Photo

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