Presentation by the Society Distinctions and External Exhibitions Sub-Group

On Wednesday 11th December 2019, Dunchurch Photographic Society was entertained by several of its own members who comprise the Distinctions and External Exhibition sub-group. Several presentations were given, not only to introduce members to the idea of aiming to achieve a photography Distinction, but also explain a little bit about their individual journeys, whether already completed or still on the exciting path to glory!

Mike Parmee, ARPS CPAGB, introduced the evening and set the scene for what the audience were to hear about Distinctions and Exhibitions. Prints were on display from members who would be giving presentations. The prints covered a diverse range of subjects, including wildlife, nature, aviation, railways, still life, abstract and portraiture. They also varied in style reflecting the different types of Distinction being aimed for by the respective photographer. There was ‘straight bat’ photography on display as well as much more significantly processed work transforming into digital artworks. The ‘church’ is therefore broad and diverse. 

David Bray was first to present, detailing the progress being made towards the ‘Artist’ award with FIAP, the International Federation of Photographic Art. This process involves entering images into external exhibitions that are supported by FIAP and gaining acceptances sufficient to achieve the award. There are a number of rules and criteria to be met in order to gain the ‘Artist’ award and David took time to explain these rules along with showcasing some of the images being submitted by him to appropriate exhibitions. 

David’s journey so far has taken ten months and he already has sufficient images accepted in exhibitions/salons around the world in both print and projected image format to be able to claim the ‘Artist’ award when it becomes available – which is a minimum of 12 months from the first acceptance being recorded. In these first ten months, some of David’s images have been successful enough to earn a variety of medal awards and honourable mentions, of which he is rightfully proud. 

David is looking ahead to the next level of award with FIAP, that of the ‘Excellence’ award and is already on target to achieve that as well, with two different images having received awards at external exhibitions supported by FIAP in two different countries/events. Good luck to David in that ‘war of attrition’ which it what the process can feel like at times.

Next to present was Tony McMaster who gave an informative and enlightening presentation covering his successful journey towards achieving the LRPS award with the Royal Photographic Society. This is the ‘Licentiate’ and the process for achieving this Distinction award is very different from David’s FIAP journey. 

Tony explained the arrangements for the LRPS award, where applicants must show good quality photography, with a diversity of approach and techniques but not necessarily in subject matter. Instead of entering multiple exhibitions, the LRPS Distinction is earned in what is ostensibly a ‘one off’ assessment event with ten prints arranged in a specific and well thought out ‘hanging plan’ to form a panel of prints that showcase the photographer’s work. 

An interesting aspect to Tony’s presentation was that he demonstrated how some of the photographs that made it into his ‘hanging plan’ submission were actually taken. This was a valuable piece of shared learning that showed the audience a practical approach and inspire them to have a go at something similar whether seeking to gain a Distinction or not. 

Tony had brought along the full complement of ten prints used in his Distinction application, all wonderfully presented to a very high standard. It is understandable that with prints of that quality and with interesting subject matter, the Distinction was duly earned. 

Well done Tony! 

After a short tea break (thanks to Jean and Liz for stepping in), a second half resumption saw Mike Parmee (ARPS CPAGB) take to the floor again and explain more about his journey towards achieving the ARPS Distinction with the Royal Photographic Society, which is the ‘Associate’ award. 

This differs from the LRPS Distinction that Tony spoke about earlier in that it requires applicants to submit a body of work consisting of fifteen prints along with a written Statement of Intent. The images must be of a high standard, as one would expect of the RPS, including a demonstration of good technical ability and artistic presentation. 

Mike had his fifteen prints on display and these were of a very fine standard and all related, in his case, to a serialised project topic focussing on ‘seed heads.’ The detail was fantastic, and the prints themselves looked cohesive and of a very high quality when viewed together. 

Mike also talked through a variety of other images, in both print and projected image format, that have been accepted at various external exhibitions. As with all of us photographers, some images have better results than others and Mike was keen enough to explain which of his images tend to do better than others for one reason or another. 

One of the very useful aspects of Mike’s presentation was an overview of how he created some of the digital art he has in his arsenal of images. The audience was given a brief explanation of the processing techniques used in Photoshop to help create some of the works, and stunning many of them are too. Well done Mike!

Tony Timmins added to the evening’s sequence of presentations by talking through various images that he has been successful with in the different exhibitions and salons that he has entered. Tony also indicated the benefits of entering images into exhibitions; which include many of the exhibitions providing a post exhibition brochure containing all the award winning photographs from each section. 

Tony showcased a brochure from the MidPhot exhibition held earlier this year, making particular reference to the list of available awards that photographers can earn. The point here being that there is a level of professional pride and prestige associated with one’s photography, and showcasing your work in an exhibition also puts you in with a chance of winning one of those awards. 

So why not have a go?

The Chairman would like to thank all of the presenters for their time and effort in creating what was hopefully viewed as an interesting and inspiring evening. And specific thanks to Mike Parmee (ARPS CPAGB) for taking the lead role in organising the evening.    

Report compiled by David J. Bray (Chairman).