On Monday I achieved my LRPS. What the hell is that, I hear you ask! Very good question, I shall explain; L stands for Licentiateship, RPS, the Royal Photographic Society. The Licentiateship is the first level of distinction that the RPS award and is based on a panel of ten images that the society recognise as being of a specified standard judged on a wide variety of criteria. It has taken me a year to get here and it has been worth every second.
But why? Quite simply I wanted feedback and constructive criticism about my photography. I needed to know what I was doing right and more importantly wrong. I also wanted recognition for what I had achieved. Who doesn’t!
So with a lot of hard work I put together a panel of images and headed off to Bath for an advisory day. I had checked and rechecked the criteria, reviewed all the example panels available online, read through the forums and done my homework. I was confident. Over confident! It’s not that easy. The panel members are harsh critics and rightly so. They inspected every aspect of my images, I will spare you all the details and their comments. However I had the basis of a panel.
Now, probably a little prematurely, I had already booked an assessment. Thinking of course that to gain the entry level distinction was a mere stepping stone on the road to higher achievements. It didn’t take long to realise the error of my ways. I set about addressing each and every comment from the advisory day, and one image at a time, rebuilt my panel of images. With limited time and access to another advisory day, I submitted my new panel online. I eagerly awaited the good news that I had a panel of images worthy of assessment.
How disappointed I was. Again I had underestimated what was required. Some of the feedback contradicted that of the advisory day as well as highlighting other possible problem areas. The key to success was slowly becoming clear, I must leave no doubt in the mind of the judges. A difficult think to achieve when working with in a subjective creative medium. After some more revisions to my panel I posted it to the RPS forum and was surprised to get a lot of very helpful comments and feedback from other RPS members that had recently taken their LPRS. Of course, their experience is limited and their views could differ wildly from that of the final panel.
Now at this point it was clear what I should do. Start afresh. By happy coincidence I came in to contact with Peter Hayes a Fellow of the RPS. He offered to help. He reviewed my previous panels, and a new one I had painstakingly pulled together. Very kindly he gave me the benefit of his experience, pointed out some weak areas and suggested some helpful changes to the arrangement of my submission.
Assessment day. Sitting at the back of the room, I was watching the panels go up and their assessments. My panel wasn’t due until the afternoon session, so I was enjoying the work, successes and insight to what I would be going through later on. Then, I was asked if it would be ok to bring my panel forward. Now this happened on my advisory day, slipped in right before lunch. The panel sitting there probably weary and in desperate need of food and a pee. Was this a bad omen? What the hell. “Of course”, I answered. And there it was, my panel going up one by one. It was like time standing still. As with all the previous panels, the panel members all stood up and started to inspect every minute detail. My eyes darted from one person to the next as each one surveyed and pointed to different points on each and every print. One by one they sat down until the final judge gave her view of the panel to everyone in the room. I don’t remember the details, but there were no negative comments. She sat down. Then for what seemed like a lifetime the chair person reviewed each of the panel forms before finally standing up and announcing that the panel of images would be recommend for an LPRS.
Relief and joy finally hit me. I had done it. And here they are, the ten images that make up my successful LRPS panel.
You can see more of my photography on my Flickr photostream here or on my website jhyturey.com