IPE 157 selected

26 June 2014

Exhibitions, Society news

Media Release:  The RPS International Print Exhibition 157 selected

Bath, 27 June 2014 - The selection for the world’s oldest photography exhibition has been made and the exhibition of 100 prints will open in London on 31 July 2014. The winners, who come from Germany, USA and the UK, will be announced at a reception the same evening.

Now in its 157th year, The Royal Photographic Society’s annual International Print Exhibition is the longest standing exhibition of its kind in the world, dating back to 1854. During its long history it has gained a reputation for showcasing a wide range of genres and styles of photography.

Student, amateur and professional photographers from around the world submitted their images to the competition.  Over 6,600 images were entered from 1,727 photographers in 72 countries. From the shortlisted prints, just 100 were selected for the exhibition and the selected photographers represent 23 countries worldwide.

This year’s five award winners come from Germany, USA and the UK and their work together with the other selected prints will be shown in the opening exhibition at Berkeley Gallery, Greenwich Heritage Centre, Woolwich, from 31 July to 28 August 2014.

All the selected images will be posted on the RPS website at the beginning of August. For information about venues and the exhibition, visit the RPS website: www.rps.org/157

This year’s selectors were:

  • Paul Seawright - Photographer & Professor of Photography at the University of Ulster
  • Anne McNeill - Director of Impressions Gallery, Bradford
  • Jordi Ruiz Cirera - Documentary Photographer & Winner of 2013 Taylor Wessing Photographic Prize
  • Marc Aspland FRPS * - Chief Sports Photographer for The Times newspaper
  • Tim Rudman FRPS (Chairman of Selectors) – Fine Art Photographer

* Marc Aspland participated in the shortlisting process but, due to a serious accident, was unable to participate in the final selection. 

A fully illustrated catalogue of all 100 images plus selector’s comments will be available through The Society’s web shop from  1 August. 

For high-res or further images and for more information contact: Lesley Goode, Exhibitions Manager, on +44 (0)1225 325720 or email: exhibitions@rps.org   or

Dr Michael Pritchard, Director-General, on +44(0)1225 325730, email: michael@rps.org. An embargoed press release announcing the winners’ names is available on request and will be sent out closer to the exhibition.

Image: Marco Casino (Italy), Train Surfing Action.

The train surfing phenomenon is widespread in South Africa. The majority of surfers are children under 25 and amputations and death are very common. This photograph is part of a long term project about the daily life in the township, 20 years after the struggle against apartheid.

Selector’s comments:

Paul Seawright:

I'd prefer to say that we selected work for the RPS International Print Exhibition rather than judged the entries. I’ve always struggled with the culture of judging in photographic clubs and societies because it stifles an environment where people feel free to experiment and challenge longstanding photographic conventions. We saw the results of this often during selection - photographers attempting to replicate award winning images by choosing identical subjects and techniques with the misapprehension that a technical mastery of the craft is enough to win. My selection skipped over subjects and techniques that are established photographic clichés, searching instead for images that took risks, surprised me or summed up something relevant or profound about the world we inhabit.

For me the work that stands out on this show marries excellent photographic skill with ideas, producing prints rich in meaning message and technique. The subject matter ranges from the sublime and unusual to the everyday. Content wasn't always a deciding factor. Some images just impressed every judge. Sometimes the energy and uniqueness of an image is something difficult to describe. If we approached every image with an empirical check list of the things that we expect in a good photograph we would have an exhibition that surprised no one and challenged little about how we might push the boundaries of our discipline. For generations artists have repainted the works of the masters to learn technique and develop skills, but mimicry and pastiche isn't ever enough if you want to stand out and succeed in a very crowded market.

My selection skipped over subjects and techniques that are established photographic clichés, searching instead for images that took risks, surprised me or summed up something relevant or profound about the world we inhabit. The debate among the selectors was lively and full of good humour. We didn’t agree on everything but I think we selected a surprising show and an exhibition that genuinely feels curated and not judged.

Anne McNeill:

‘Photography may be a complex medium but an excellent photograph is an excellent photograph, no matter what equipment or techniques are used to make it.  A strong single image should be able to convey a message or elicit an emotional response. Sergey Kiselev’s Masks with its certain Diane Arbus like quality particularly caught my imagination.  I believe that we have selected images that embrace creativity and presents the best in a wide range of photographic genres; ranging from documentary, portraiture, landscape through to fine art. I hope this 157th International Print Exhibition will be enjoyed and talked about by visitors throughout its tour.  Congratulations to the winners and all those selected.’

Jordi Ruiz Cirera:

‘Each of the selectors had a different background and interest in photography, which was reflected in our selections and preferences.  The way I see photography is as a means of telling stories. I am interested in an image conveying a message. The technical quality is important but equally, it is the ability to work with the style that fits better the story. That is why I am always drawn to a photograph that makes me wonder what else is there, rather than a perfectly composed and executed image.  I think that the winning images match that balance between a strong story and a visual quality.   Being asked to be a selector for the RPS International Print Exhibition was an honour and an inspiring experience and I feel happy that we have produced a varied and high quality exhibition.

Tim Rudman FRPS:

‘The RPS International Print Exhibition is always an inspirational exhibition of excellence and has a different character to that of many other exhibitions of photography. This character is of course very much a reflection of the background of the selectors, who are carefully chosen by the RPS.  The selectors discuss, debate, negotiate and exchange prints until final agreement is reached.  There is much excellent work on show here with a diversity that should ensure some resonance with the very mixed audiences it will receive as it tours. It was very encouraging to see some strong work in the under-30s age group. With so many entries it is also true that a 'Salon des Refusés' would make a very strong show, so my congratulations go to the selected photographers and my encouragement to those who didn't quite make it with this year's selectors.’

Marc Aspland FRPS:

‘The exhibition’s long and prestigious history ensures that this competition is held in such high regard and esteem.  My congratulations to all selected entrants, especially the award winners.’