The agony and the ecstasy!

On Thursday 9th June three intrepid club members set off for their LRPS Assessment day at the Royal Photographic Society in Bath. Michelle Howell, Trevor Bottomley and Steve Wright set off early in the morning with their portfolios containing their panels of ten prints each in the hope of being assessed to have reached the standard for the award of LRPS. Fortunately the weather was good and the roads reasonably clear so Michelle driving made good time and we all arrived by 11:00 a.m. Fortunately it was just in time to see the start of the print assessments. There were about 25 people in the room, most of the applicants, and 4 judges, plus a chairman, so it was going to be some time before the panels of our members came up. For each applicant, RPS staff in white gloves carefully placed the prints on a wall as per the applicants hanging plan. The lighting was intense so any little flaw would show up. The tension in the room has very high as the judges got up, looked at the prints, took some down to examine them at (very!) close range and point things out to each other. This was all done in almost total silence adding to the tension. Eventually the judges sat down and began to write their comments. These were then handed to the chairman and, after checking them all, he announced “I’m sorry but we cannot recommend this panel for the distinction” so great disappointment for somebody. There was a little feedback but most of the feedback to unsuccessful applicants would come in written form in the next 28 days. That panel was taken down and the next put up and the whole procedure was repeated – with the same result. In actual fact the first 6 panels were all rejected.  Michelle, Trevor and myself (Steve) were now getting very worried about whether anyone would pass today. The seventh panel passed to great applause, probably of relief. However the next two were rejected so the tally for the morning session was 1 pass and 9 rejections. It was a tough day.

We moved to the pub at lunchtime for some food and a calming drink – it didn’t work! One more rejection then a second pass and, before I knew it my panel was up and the nerves really kicked in. Lots of close examination and conferral by the judges followed by lots of writing before eventually the chairman could announce the result. It seemed an eternity before I heard “I’m sorry but we cannot recommend this panel for the distinction” so my panel was not quite up to standard. A further panel was put up which was also rejected and then it as Trevor’s turn. Yet again the same procedure and the same nerves waiting for the chairman. Then the words “Is Trevor Bottomley here” which could only mean that he had passed, CONGRATULATIONS TREVOR. One of the judges then gave feedback to everyone as to why they thought that the panel was of the right standard and how they all liked it. Trevor couldn’t really believe it, but he had done it. Then quickly onto another panel which was rejected before Michelle’s panel. Unfortunately she heard the same fateful words I heard and she too needed to do some more work. In the end there were 17 panel assessed and only 3 passed so especially well done to Trevor. There were pleasant and helpful words from the chairman after the assessments had finished and Michelle and myself found that we had been referred – hopefully just having to improve a few faults and resubmit those improved prints. It was a rather long drive home for Michelle (thanks for driving) and I but, Trevor was still pinching himself.

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