Distinctions – Home and Away
Members and guests of Wakefield Camera Club spent a very interesting and informative evening as four members of the club provided insight into the four most popular ways of receiving awards and recognitions for your photographic work.
First was David Kershaw talking about the Royal Photographic Society (RPS) and their Licentiate of the RPS (LRPS), Associate of the RPS (ARPS) and Fellowship of the RPS (FRPS) distinctions. David had his LRPS and ARPS print panels on hand for people to have a look at, he is working on his FRPS panel. The main difference between the LRPS and ARPS is that the LRPS is a panel of 10 images intended to recognise competent photographic skill. It has nothing to do with exhibition images, or competition winners, but everything to do with understanding technique and photographic ability whereas the ARPS requires a panel of 15 images that represent an in depth study of a specific subject and displays a definite style. You also have to produce a statement (up to 150 words) that explains what you are trying to display with the panel. Unlike PAGB, FIAP or BPEs, discussed below, each of the images is inspected very closely and for as long as the assessors want to. They then discus the panel before making a final decision (this can take up to 20 minutes), image quality is more important than subject matter. You can find out more about the RPS Distinctions on their webpage.
Next up was Nigel Hazell to talk about the awards of the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain (PAGB), they have the Credit (CPAGB), Distinction (DPAGB) and Master (MPAGB). Nigel focused on the CPAGB. Unlike the RPA distinctions the PAGB awards are assessed as individual images by a panel of six judges who only see your image for a few seconds before awarding it a score of between 2 and 5. Your images are judged in the order you specify but they are interspersed with the images of others, they really are judged as individual images. So you have 10 images all with the possibility of scoring 5 points from 6 judges which gives you a maximum score of 300, to achieve your CPAGB award you need to score 200. Nigel has his CPAGB images on hand for the audience to have a closer look at. You can find out more about the PAGB and their awards on their webpage.
The PAGB Awards for Photographic Merit (APM) and RPA distinctions are similar in that you can pay to attend an assessment centre to be given feedback by experienced judges as to the likelihood of success. At these assessment centre they will help you choose your best images from a pool and for the RPS distinctions help you with panel placement.
After the break, Sally Sallett explained all about the British Photographic Exhibitions (BPE) Crown award system whereby a point is earned for having an image accepted into qualifying exhibitions. After 25 points (25 acceptances) you can apply for a BPE1 Crown Award, then 50 for a BPE2, then it is 100, 200 & 300 for BPE3, 4 & 5. One key difference for BPE awards and the FIAP awards below to the RPA and PAGB awards above is that you can enter your images into categories, for example your portrait images may only be judge against other portrait images. To enter these exhibitions you need to go to the BPE website to find a list and entry details of the qualifying exhibitions that are usually hosted by camera clubs and societies. Having identified suitable exhibitions you simply follow the entry details to submit your digital images online or post your prints. It is important to keep accurate records as you will need to submit details of your successes to claim you Crown awards.
Finally, Peter Wells took to the floor to explain all about awards awarded by the International Federation of Photographic Art (FIAP). The FIAP awards are very similar to the BPE awards above with two significant differences. Firstly, BPE awards are limited to British exhibitions whereas the FIAP exhibitions are truly international and secondly there are rules about how you collect your acceptance points. For an Artiste (AFIAP) you need 40 Acceptances, from 15 Different Images, from 15 Different Salons, in 8 countries and must include the acceptances of 4 prints. For the E and M FIAP awards the criteria gets much harder and also starts to include the need for awards in addition to acceptances. For more details look at the PAGB FIAP site and the FIAP salons site. Peter could not stress enough about the need to also keep accurate records to help you claim your award but also as your images are successful you will learn which images do best in which type of exhibition so you can start to target certain images at certain exhibitions or categories.
Each of the speakers were enthusiastic about how working towards a distinction or an award gave them a purpose and helped them improve their photography. If you wish to consider working towards any of the above schemes then speak to any of the above members on a Monday evening at camera club or come along to one of the Wednesday workshops where there will be people who have worked towards and been successful in one or more of the above and would be very happy to help.