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Cover image from Contemporary Photography journal 76, Summer 2019
CREDIT: Andrew Page, Positive View


Contemporary Group ethos - Photography that conveys ideas, stimulates thought and encourages interpretation; photographs 'about' rather than 'of'.

Welcome to the Contemporary Group

The RPS Contemporary Group is about photography which can and often does cross all conventional genres. In 2013 the group committee adopted the following statement describing its objectives:

Photography that conveys ideas, stimulates thought and encourages interpretation; photographs "about" rather than "of".

The Group provides a forum for presentation and encouragement of its members in pursuing production of coherent bodies of work with a specific role.

Emphasis is put on photography based on expressing ideas; on meaning and purpose, with sets of images to a theme rather than individual stand-alone photographs.

It is about the “why” rather that the “what” of the photography. The Group will appeal to amateur members who look to achieve a longer standing value in their work, as an alternative to the well-trodden route of photographic salons, and to professionals pursuing work on personal projects to a theme.

Examples of role models who we see for these types of photography are contemporary Magnum members Martin Parr HonFRPS and Alec Soth, noting that Magnum now believe that much of their member’s personal projects no longer comfortably conform to the original Magnum documentary genre. An earlier role model would be Robert Frank with The Americans. Another example would be the Dutch photographer Ed van der Elsken.

The constitution for the Contemporary SIG is available here.



Find out more about contemporary photography

Contemporary Group Member Benefits

  1. Contemporary Photograpahy Our quarterly full colour print magazine, containing in-depth articles featuring the work of notable photographers from around the world.
  2. Concept Our free bi-monthly e-magazine, keeping group members up-to-date on events and featuring the work of our members, book reviews and reports on regional group meetings. Available by email and on our website.
  3. Postal Portfolios Member postal portfolios circulating in UK and Europe.
  4. Webinars Regular Zoom interviews with notable photographers about their work and practice, open to all.
  5. Regional sub-Groups holding local meetings Sub-groups meeting in the South West, East Anglia, the North West, Yorkshire and Scotland, and the Central Region joint Contemporary/Documentary Group.
  6. Active Facebook Groups The groups "RPS Contemporary" and "RPS Photobooks" are open to all.
  7. Active Instagram Group Instagram page @rpscontemporary open to all.
CREDIT: Ángel Armero
084 Summer 2021

Contemporary Photography Journal

Back issues of the Contemporary Group's high quality journal are available here.

Journal Archive
Bever, Skinningrove, North Yorkshire
CREDIT: Chris Killip


The e-newsletter of the Contemporary Group

e-news archive
Contemporary 585X390

Contemporary Group Meeting Minutes

CG Meeting Minutes
Sarah M. Lee Nighthawks 2
CREDIT: Sarah M. Lee

Contemporary on YouTube

Contemporary YouTube

Contemporary Special Interest Groups Around the UK

The North

Contemporary North Showcase

CN Showcase
Peter Bartlett 2
CREDIT: Peter Bartlett

Contemporary North Newsletters

CN newsletters
Grand Central
CREDIT: Steff Hutchinson

Contemporary Central Newsletters

CC newsletters


Contemporary 585X390

Contemporary Group Exhibition 2020


The COVID-19 Blogs

CREDIT: Ben Dixon
The Covid Pandemic in Hong Kong

Blog by a Head Teacher in the British International School in Hong Kong who uses photography to silently observe and reflect what's going on around him.

Furloughed Andy Thorpe 1
CREDIT: Andy Thorpe
13 Things

Member Andy Thorpe's COVID-19 furlough project.