Are you an RPS member?

Discussion in 'UK All Regions' started by delphine, Nov 30, 2007.

  1. delphine

    delphine Member

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    I am based in the East end of London and I am considering joining the RPS, mostly because I have not found a local camera club in my borough.

    When I flicked through their website, I noticed that a lot of the workshops were geared towards digi. Also, in the special interest section, apart from the historian one, I did not see any that I felt I would fit in as no one is targeted at the art of wet printing & film photography in particular.

    Are some of you members of the RPS? what is your experience of it?
     
  2. Justin Cormack

    Justin Cormack Member

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    No, not a member. But I havent found any camera clubs in London either apart from www.thecameraclub.co.uk - are there any? Which borough are you? I live in Camden, work in Hackney, would join an east end camera club if it was film centric...
     
  3. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    Google "camera clubs" this will give you quite a few leads, as in:

    http://cameraclubs.photopro.co.uk/PostCodeSearch.asp

    If there are less than 20 within 10 miles of you I will be surprised.:smile:

    It is true that the has been a headlong rush into digital within camera clubs and therefore the RPS, but that's the same the world over, so don't expect to find a club specialising in wet work.:sad: That doesn't mean to say that there isn't anyone within the RPS doing wet work of course, just that there isn't many of them.

    You could easily start one though.:wink:
     
  4. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    I am a member (Associate) of the RPS (ARPS), a distinction which I obtained by exemption (I already had a degree in photography). I joined because it seemed like the only national organization that even came close to covering some of my interests. I have been infuriated by the RPS on many occasions, I now tell myself to regard it as the "camera club of camera clubs" and not worry about it.

    There are many special interest groups, which vary very widely in quality - the photojournalism group, for example, I understand has a very high proportion of members who are practising in the industry, unfortunately the meetings are in Central London so I never go. The scientific and alternative-process people are also good (people such as Tim Rudman and Mike Ware). There is also a group called visual art, it used to be called pictorial which was an accurate description since it contains people who are dedicated to achieving technical excellence in the pictorial style which has developed over the last 100 years or more - their understanding of the cutting-edge art photography you will find in the trendy galleries is zero.

    In my view the contemporary group is the worst by far - it is based on devotees of the English photographer Ray Moore, a god to some for his work in the 1970s, to me the most depressed man who ever pressed a shutter release, and someone whose work is largely forgotten (I think rightly) and totally out of line with the real contemporary work being done today. The contemporary group members are by and large totally undistinguished and their claim to spearhead today's art photography can only be described as laughable. Sadly, from your point of view, I would say that the most creative group by far is the digital imaging group!

    In short, I find enough in the RPS to justify a subscription of over £100, but the decision to renew is always a close call!

    YMMV!

    Regards,

    David
     
  5. roy

    roy Member

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    I do not know in which part of the East End you live but after reading your posting, I "googled" the area in which I used to live in my youth, Wanstead. The result indicated the Woodford and Wanstead Photographic Society. I had no idea that it existed so I would suggest that you 'target' some of the districts within your reach to see what is out there.
     
  6. catem

    catem Member

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    Like David I am an ARPS (also by exemption) and like David I have mixed feelings about renewing my subscription (now due). I think it excels through their Distinctions at encouraging people starting out in photography, and encouraging people on their photographic journey who want set goals & recognition of achieving them, but who aren't able to or don't wish to do it in a more mainstream way. I feel it also lets a lot of people down. There is very little indeed happening in London, and yes, the workshops appear to be totally digitally-oriented - certainly ones I have any chance of getting to. For these reasons I think it very unlikely I will renew my subscription. £90 is a lot to find. I could have investigated the Special Interest Groups more (but it costs extra to join each group for a year, so you can't really explore many different ones) but I was also surprised when I joined that the RPS to discover that it is, in fact, a glorified camera club, with some of the implied connotations - I thought it would offer a lot more than that. I still think it possibly does but if so it is painfully hard to tap into it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 1, 2007
  7. Sandeha Lynch

    Sandeha Lynch Member

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    Delphine, I met a whole bunch of photographers in my area by checking through the Flickr groups. I joined one group with a geographic focus and for the past year a bunch of members have gone out shooting together every month. 99% of them (some 370 members now) are digicam operators, but they are a keen and lively bunch and several are published.

    There is also a famously old camera club in the area ... but I can't bring myself to comment on that.
     
  8. delphine

    delphine Member

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    Thank you

    Thank you all for your comprehensive input.

    Sandeha - I am already a member of lpmg, which is a social photographic group here in London. 98% of the members use digi. That's why I am wanting to make additional connections, if possible film focused, to help me process on my "photographic journey", using Catem's words.
    Therefore I am not sure flicker is the answer.

    Dave - I had already tried that camera club search that you referred to. None of the camera club are locals as such. And if I was to travel, then I'd do so for a film centric group only.

    David - Honest and entertaining note. Interesting. I think that I will give myself time to think about registering. I like the structured approach to demonstrating/validating acquired skills.
    As Catem pointed out, this seem to be the best benefit of the registration.

    This said, I feel that photography is like a big sea, it can be a big journey too, and I am sorry if the RPS is not able to cater for all its fishes.

    Justin - Hola ! *Delphine waves her flag* I am based in Limehouse, so not far at all from Camden and even closer to Hackney.

    Best

    Delphine
     
  9. Justin Cormack

    Justin Cormack Member

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    Hola! I like to visit Limehouse in my wanderings around London, its just down the canal...

    There really dont appear to be any camera clubs in east London...

    I go to some London flickr meetups and there are some film users. There are a few uk based film groups eg http://www.flickr.com/groups/ishootfilmuk/ and there seems to be quite a bit of interest, not entirely drowned by digital.
     
  10. delphine

    delphine Member

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    I did not know of the UKfilm flicker group. Thank you Justin.
     
  11. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    In all fairness, I should add this: Of all the things that infuriated me abut the RPS, the worst was my last submission for an FRPS. I am a trained professional, have had many solo and group exhibitions and thousands of press publications, have sold work to numerous clients and magazines and even had an image used as set dressing on the Oscar-winning movie "The Hours" - none of this guarantees that particular individuals will like my work, but it does perhaps indicate that I am not totally incompetent!

    The submission was 20 of my sepia beach series, some examples of which are in the APUG gallery. The submission was unsuccessful, which of course I have to accept can happen, but was returned WITHOUT A SINGLE WORD OF COMMENT, which made the whole process pointless and could only mean one of two things:
    a) The work was so incompetent that comment was pointless (for reasons given above, I don't think it was:wink: or
    b) The submissions panel simply didn't understand the work and were incompetent to express an opinion.

    I complained vehemently to the RPS and eventually got an opinon based on someone's viewing of a photocopy of a thumbnail sheet of images approx. 24 x 16 mm! The comment was that the composition was not geometrically stunning - in other words, what they were looking for was the kind of "killer" shots you would enter in a camera club composition.

    The reason I mention this is: Approach RPS distinctions with caution. It can be said that all the work which is successful in the process is of a good standard of which the successful applicants can be proud, but the reasons why submissions fail can be very strange indeed!

    Regards,

    David
     
  12. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    What a good idea! I just did a group search on Flickr and found a heap of groups about my home town and the surrounding region.
     
  13. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

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    Hi Delphine,

    I'm an RPS member (currently a Licentiate, putting the finishing touches to my Associateship submission). Whilst there is a lot of truth in what has been said about the digital bias in the RPS, I believe this is a perfectly reasonable response by the RPS to its members, most of whom (rightly or wrongly) elect to use digital as their preferred medium. That said, there is no problem with anyone who wishes to use analogue and the over-riding factor with the RPS is always the end product, not how it was achieved. I say this partly because in camera clubs there is so often a large element of camera snobbery but in my four years' membership of the RPS I have never been asked (nor heard anyone else ask) what equipment I have used.
    As for value for money, yes £100 is perhaps a lot to find but it's in keeping with other bodies of similar standing. The magazine is excellent, both in content and quality (the fact that I choose to skip the digital bits - no pun intended! - is up to me). The South West region runs many events and it is much to my regret that I don't have time to attend more than the occasional one. As with many clubs and societies these days, the average age of the RPS is probably higher than one would like, largely due, I suspect, to the increasing tendency of the "yoof" culture to prefer to interact with Zena the Tomb Raider rather than Fred at the Camera Club. As a bit of an aside, the distinctions workshop I attended in November 2003 had twenty-something prospective panels of which two were digital. At the workshop I attended two weeks ago I was the only analogue exhibitor amongst a similar number!
    The distinctions are hard work and, as has been said, some of the passes and failures that I've seen have been beyond me, but ultimately, like any examination, it's to a certain extent a matter of coming up with what the examiner thinks is right rather than what you think is right.
    The RPS Website is at: http://www.rps.org/

    Best wishes,

    Steve
     
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  15. catem

    catem Member

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    Delphine,

    My feeling about value for money re the RPS is that it's a bit of a hit and miss affair, depending largely on geographic location. Which is understandable as it's up to interested members in any location to organise events.

    I think it's also a bit hit and miss whether you discover an Interest Group that you like, they all operate independently and appear to be completely autonomous, which again can make it a bit of a struggle to get information. My info on groups is a bit different from what's been mentioned above, I've heard some good things about the Contemporary group (maybe again it depends on area?), and have never heard of an Alternative Processes group, as far as I know it's not listed anywhere, so maybe it's not an 'open' group.

    I don't have personal experience of the distinctions but I think it's like going for any organisation or body's awards or qualifications - they are right for some people and not for others. The distinctions do seem to work in a very particular way with so it's definitely worth establishing that they are right for you, otherwise it could be an undermining process. That can be true of any assessment process, I think.

    The magazine has certainly improved dramatically over the past year or so (before that it was, not to put too fine a point on it, dreadful) but if that is all you are getting for your subscription for whatever reason, then personally I think there are other magazines that are better value for money. Although quite good, it's not yet one I would choose to buy every month from the news-stand in preference to others that are available. (Although that's not really it's purpose so possibly not altogether a fair comparison).

    I was very pleased to notice recently that they are organising some activities in Bath around getting children involved in photography (so far, I think, digital only but there's always hope!). Those sort of initiatives are excellent I think, it would be good if there could be more of that sort of thing going on.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 3, 2007
  16. A.C.

    A.C. Subscriber

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    "Are you an RPS Member?"

    delphine - in answer to your posted question, Yes.
    The number of responses rather suggests that RPS members are few on APUG, though.

    I find myself largely in agreement with the views of the RPS, its groups and distinctions process expressed here. Having said that, come renewal day I know that I will feel that as an organisation it should be supported, and accordingly I shall continue with my own membership.
    As another example, I feel the same way about professional bodies in general. Most have aspects that one may view as faults, but they may be considered to deserve support.
    The question of value for your own hard earned money may make that choice rather more complicated, though.

    As to the RPS forum, I found myself less inclined towards that, and rarely visit.

    IMHO, camera "clubs" can be difficult places to enjoy.
    If you are fortunate enough to spend time in the company of inspired, skilled image makers, the effect on your own direction can be surprising.

    I find that the hardest thing to actually do, is to go out there and create a body of work. It requires commitment and effort, which is all basically just hard graft. This might also be applied to "clubs" - what you get out may just be proportional to what you put in!

    Have fun:smile:
     
  17. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

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    Perhaps that's in keeping with my observation about the overwhelming proportion of RPS members who apparently choose digital technology. My comment about the average age of RPS members wasn't, by the way, intended as anything more than a statement of fact, lest anyone thinks I'm being "ageist". My impression is that a fair few are of retirement age, have quite a bit of disposable income, lots of time and are keen to learn about the new technology. Perhaps I would label them as the photographic equivalent of silver surfers, and of course there's nothing wrong with anyone wanting to learn. There are also those who seem to have become interested in photography only because it has moved into their world of computers, and thus some who might never have taken up traditional photography seem to have found an aptitude for the subject. Perhaps as time goes by their souls can be saved !

    Steve
     
  18. lesd

    lesd Member

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    I must admit that I have been tempted to join the RPS in order to have a go at the ARPS distinction. Being an amateur I can think of no other way of putting together a coherent body of work and getting it seriously appraised by expert photographers. This certainly never happens in traditional camera clubs.

    However, the posts here have been food for thought.

    Les
     
  19. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    As a matter of interest there are many more regular contributors here that are members of the RPS than the responses suggests.
     
  20. delphine

    delphine Member

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    We share the same motives for considering joining the RPS. And indeed, the posts are being thought provoking.

    Thank you all for participating.

    Any other input will be more than welcome.
     
  21. Akki14

    Akki14 Member

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    Slightly off topic but of some interest to certain members in this thread possibly... Wouldn't it be nice to have a mini-meet in the London area? I don't really go for these big meets in random bits of the country (sorry, nothing against them but I'm not sure if I'd ever go to them), but it'd be nice to, say, meet up in a quiet pub for a pint and natter and possibly show prints etc if we all promise to not spill stuff :wink: I'm thinking somewhere central so no one has to travel a great deal to the opposite side of town. Something to think about for the spring perhaps? Are there any rules on setting up meets, since it seems like Leon and Dave Miller help organise the big meets ?
     
  22. delphine

    delphine Member

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    This is a great idea, I'd welcome meets in London. But this said, this could be co-ordinated with a flickr group. Following Justin and Sandeha's advice, I had a peep (most relunctantly I must say, as I am not a flickr fan).
    I was gobsmacked by the number of existing groups : 120 - Medium format - I shootfilmuk - analog photography - holga group - Ilford - etc etc, with stuff happening in London too.
    So may be, it would be a good idea to push forward for a mini-meet in London, using APUG and other platforms.

    Not sure whether there are any rules about informal gatherings, I suppose you could create your "mini-meet" thread.
    Knowing who is based in or around London would be good.
    But keep the thread to RPS related discussions :smile:

    My 2 cents.

    PS: do consider going to the "big meets". I did participate to the gathering in Kent, it was a great experience that I highly recommend.
     
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  23. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    No rules for setting up meets Heather; get organising. Your suggestion sounds good to me.
     
  24. Akki14

    Akki14 Member

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    Okay, sorry for thread-jacking about it. I shall try to organise something for the new year :D (and oddly I think we have an abnormally high amount of female apuggers around London)
     
  25. Stan160

    Stan160 Member

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    A London meet is a great idea Heather! I'd be interested.

    Ian
     
  26. hectorpaljr

    hectorpaljr Member

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    I can give some facts (without comment) fom a poll taken at our camera club of 40+ members

    Licenciates (1 with another 4 resigned in recent years)
    Associates (None but 2 resigned in recent years)
    All of these particular members have been active club photogrophers for the last 25 years or so, excepting the LRPS who is a more recent entrant to club life and does only digital