Your web browser is out of date. Update your browser for more security, speed and the best experience on this site.
Find out more

Please note: RPS House is closed for our exhibition install. We will be open again from 10am on Friday 9th August 2024.

Pairc Life by Paul Lanigan FRPS
CREDIT: Paul Lanigan FRPS

Documentary Distinctions

You can now apply for the ARPS and FRPS Documentary Distinctions.
Assessments typically take place twice per year, and are run by RPS Distinctions.

Applying for our Distinctions takes you on a personal journey, exploring not just “technical competence” but how you want to develop as a photographer, how others react to our work, and what we want to say as a photographer. Therefore, we ask for a body of work that shows not just the content of the images but also the intent of the photographer. Essentially, photography has a purpose, and that is to explain, challenge, inspire and tell stories. Our distinctions make us better photographers in that sense, telling our own stories.

The July 2024 edition of The Decisive Moment features a discussion between Mark Phillips FRPS, Chair of the Documentary Group, and Simon Leach FRPS, Chair of the Distinctions Panel for the Documentary genre, about the distinctions process. It is an essential read for anyone considering a distinction in the genre. In Focus: the Distinctions process for Associate and Fellowship

We regularly showcase successful Associate and Fellowship panels for the Documentary Genre in The Decisive Moment. These are listed in the Documentary > Resources section of our website

The Royal Photographic Society launched its new Documentary genre distinction at the end of 2019, defined as ‘Photography which communicates a clear narrative through visual literacy’. The May 2020 edition of Decisive Moment featured a report based aims to expand on the key points raised during the first dedicated Advisory day in February 2020. Report from a Documentary Distinctions Advisory Day

You can read more about the Distinctions here:

RPS Distinctions