2015 11 - Proving Our Worth

01st November 2015
Retford & District Photographic Society - Press Release - Joy Allison
Images by Stuart Crump

Proving Our Worth

Building on the successes of last year, we have vastly improved our facilities to display members’ work for our club and inter club competitions and acquired equipment to take displays out into the community. We are happy to support other groups with displays at their events to show people what we can achieve, but sometimes it is nice to have something more personal to show that however good we think we are locally, that belief is shared by others with more experience and knowledge.

We welcomed Stuart Crump to help members think about whether they want to work towards photographic qualifications. He brought his talk 'Broadening Your Horizons' and spoke about the requirements for the Royal Photographic Society (RPS) and the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain (PAGB), combining entertainment with solid information and guidance. Stuart has always had an interest in photography but, in 2009, after taking early retirement, he decided to take his hobby more seriously and joined Beeston Camera Club. Initially he struggled to be competitive, with judges awarding him scores of between 10 and 15 out of 20. However, by reading a lot and going on courses, he improved rapidly and quickly reached the standards required, achieving his qualifications the first time he submitted his work for appraisal.

He started the evening by talking about CPAGB (Credit of the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain) and ARPS (Associateship of the Royal Photographic Society) qualifications saying that success does not only rely on skill but is helped by being well organised and having all the required paperwork correct. It also helps to know what the judging panel are looking for and Stuart said that he went along to venues where work is assessed such as the NEC and in Newark.

Stuart recommended good club photographers try the CPAGB first. Individual images are entered either as prints or digitally (DPIs). They do not have to relate to each other. Ten images in total are submitted to the six judges, who each score between 2 and 5. The image requires a score of 20 to pass. The PAGB also offer a higher qualification, DPAGB (Distinction of the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain), which follows a similar format.

Stuart is clearly a photographer who loves to produce prints so his talk centred on how best to succeed with them. He feels that prints were more likely to succeed than DPIs, with a 70% chance of prints being successful compared to 20% for DPIs when working towards the RPS qualifications. To illustrate his talk he showed us some of his panels of prints and some from other photographers too. Judging is carried out by a panel of 5 Fellows of the RPS and a chairman who hold up green or red flags to signify a pass or a fail.

The first level of qualification is LRPS (Licentiate of the Royal Photographic Society) for which the author is expected to produce a hanging plan for the ten prints. Monochrome can be mixed with colour prints but in a tasteful way. The ten prints required for the LRPS will consist of two rows of five and should be arranged with ‘stopper’ prints at each end. The most colourful print needs to be in a central position, perhaps balanced by the print above or below it. Successful applicants can succeed if they have two out of these attributes: Enthusiasm, Talent, Hard Work, but usually only if one of the two is Enthusiasm!

The next step up in the RPS is the Associateship (ARPS) where fifteen entries rather than ten are assessed. The images can be from different categories and the most popular are Natural History, Travel, Creative and Pictorial. Entrants have to submit a Statement of Intent with their work and their panel is judged in the light of this.

Stuart has clearly worked out how to succeed in meeting the required standards. In 2011 he was awarded an LRPS followed in 2012 an ARPS and CPAGB. In 2013 he obtained his DPAGB and was awarded the Best Projected Colour Award in the NEMPF Annual Exhibition. Two of his images were accepted for the prestigious London Salon exhibition.

Photographic success has continued into the international field and Stuart was awarded his AFIAP in 2013 and EFIAP in 2014 by the Fédération Internationale de l’Art Photographique. He has now had over 500 images accepted into international salons.

In 2015 one of his images was chosen, by the PAGB Great Britain team, to be used as one of a panel of ten prints with a theme of: “People in their Environment” to compete in the FIAP 26th International Colour Print Biennial against twenty-five other nations. Great Britain eventually came second to Argentina, by only one point. Stuart’s print was awarded a PAGB Gold Medal as a result of their success.