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Tracey Lund LRPS
CREDIT: Tracey Lund LRPS

Distinctions Newsletter January 2020

We are often asked about what it takes to get a distinction from RPS, so for those of you who have embraced the challenge of working towards our internationally recognised Distinctions, then this is for you…. for those of you who are thinking about going for distinction in 2020, we welcome you!

There have been a few changes to Distinctions, so please read on to discover more:

Ria Mishaal Cooke Snaddon FRPS
CREDIT: Ria Mishaal Cooke Snaddon FRPS


We have removed the need to be an Associate before applying for Fellowship with immediate effect. Our intention is to break down barriers wherever possible. Many people outside the RPS are already working at Fellowship standard and do not want to apply to become an Associate first. This is a way of bringing new photographers into the Society.


Certificate Presentations
All successful applications for the LRPS and ARPS Distinctions may now have their certificates presented on the day of assessment in Bristol without having to wait for approval from the Board of Trustees.
Images for Screen
The resolution for images for screen submissions is now a maximum of 4096 x 2400.

Sarah Townley ARPS
CREDIT: Sarah Townley ARPS

Documentary Genre
The new Documentary panel has had its first assessment, with successes in all three formats: print, book and Images For Screen (IFS). The definition is: “photography which communicates a clear narrative through visual literacy”.

Panel chair, Simon Leach FRPS, authored an article in the December edition of the Journal which you may have spotted. Assessment dates for 2020 are 19/20 February and 11/12 November.

Tony Cowburn ARPS
CREDIT: Tony Cowburn ARPS

Landscape Genre
The new Landscape panel has now been established with Joe Cornish Hon FRPS as chair. Joe has an article January's Journal explaining his approach to landscape photography. The definition is: “photography that illustrates and interprets earth’s habitats, from the remotest wilderness to urban environs”. Watch out for a video interview with Joe appearing on our YouTube and RPS website in the new year.

Film Genre
The new Film panel will be chaired by Max Robinson FRPS. We hope to offer assessments from the autumn of 2020. Definition: “work can be created in any moving image format including film, video and digital media”. Please keep an eye on the website for more details as they emerge.

Philip Butler ARPS
CREDIT: Philip Butler ARPS

The other genres are as follows:

Chair: Trevor Yerbury FRPS. Definition: “photography which has been produced for a specific end purpose”.
Contemporary (Formerly Conceptual and Contemporary)
Chair: Tessa Mills FRPS. Definition: “photography that communicates a visual realisation of a stated argument, idea or concept”.
Fine Art
Chair: Sue Brown FRPS. Definition: “photography which communicates a creative vision”.
Natural History
Interim Chair Mick Durham FRPS: Definition: “photography which illustrates an element of the natural world within an unrestricted, uncultivated and untamed environment”.
Chair: Hazel Mason FRPS. Definition: “photography which communicates a sense of place”.

We are hoping to establish a Photobooks panel by mid-2020.  

Richard Broomfield LRPS
CREDIT: Richard Broomfield LRPS

Specialist Advisory Days

We are starting specialist Advisory Days next year, which will be held under the auspices of the relevant Special Interest Group. This means that the entire day will be devoted to a particular genre. The first will be a Documentary Advisory Day, to be held at RPS House on 22nd February 2020. Other specialist Advisory Days are planned for Landscape, Travel, Applied and Fine Art. Dates to be announced later.

Distinctions Committee

The new Distinctions Committee has been approved by the Board of Trustees and meets for the first time in January. Members appointed so far:

Peter Hayes FRPS (chair)
Anne Williams
Paul Mitchell FRPS
Stewart Wall ARPS


What are Distinctions?
We are often asked whether people need a Distinction to become a better photographer. The answer is no, but if you do apply for a Distinction your photography will undoubtedly improve. Here is our definition:
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 your work, and what you want to say as an image maker. We ask for a body of work that shows not just the content of the images but also the intent of the photographer. Photography has a purpose, and that is to explain, challenge, inspire and tell stories.
A Happy New Year to all!
Andy Moore LRPS
Ben Fox ARPS
Simon Vercoe LRPS
Peter Hayes FRPS