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!
Originally Posted by delphine
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 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!
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.
Originally Posted by Justin Cormack
Anáil nathrach, ortha bháis is beatha, do chéal déanaimh.
Originally Posted by 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/
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 catem; 12-03-2007 at 06:44 AM. Click to view previous post history.
"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!
Consider this: Most lenses are better than most photographers...
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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 !
Originally Posted by A.C.
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.
As a matter of interest there are many more regular contributors here that are members of the RPS than the responses suggests.
Originally Posted by lesd
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.
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 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 ?