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Steve Mcqueen Lovers Rock By Parisa Taghizadeh BBC Mcqueen Limited (1)

RPS Awards 2020 Recipients Announced

We are delighted to announce the 2020 recipients of the Royal Photographic Society Awards, celebrating excellence and innovation in photography. 

Now in its 142nd year, the eighteen categories recognise those individuals who have made outstanding contributions in their fields which cover art, science, education, curation, film and publishing. 

“The RPS Awards are unique in recognising individuals across the breadth of the photographic medium. They acknowledge significant contributions from established women and men as well as showcasing a new generation of image-makers using photography as a vehicle for activism, engagement and change.”

– Dr Michael Pritchard FRPS, Director of Education and Public Affairs

Congratulations to all the recipients. Read a special edition of the RPS Journal, explore our new series of events with past and present recipients beginning January 2021, and find out more about the Awards here

Sally Mann Georgia, Untitled (Kudzu), 1996

The Centenary Medal: Sally Mann

Sally Mann HonFRPS, the acclaimed American photographer, is awarded the prestigious Centenary Medal for her sustained contribution to photography spanning five decades. Mann is known for her exploration of  the complexities of the American South and the nature of intimate human relationships. 

Photo: Sally Mann, Georgia, Untitled (Kudzu), 1996. Courtesy Gagosian

Copy Of Steve Mcqueen Bbcmcqueen Limited Des Willie From Small Axe Mangrove

Cinematic Production Award: Steve McQueen

The Cinematic Production Award is presented to British artist and filmmaker, Sir Steve McQueen CBE for his achievements directing and producing critically acclaimed films including ‘Hunger’ (2008), ’Shame’ (2011) and BAFTA and Academy Award-winning ‘12 Years a Slave’ (2013).

Photo: Steve McQueen, Mangrove from Small Axe by Des Willie/BBC/McQueen Limited

Chuck Hull 3D Systems Inventors Hall Of Fame

Progress Medal: Chuck Hull

The Progress Medal is given to Charles (Chuck) Hull, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of 3D Systems in recognition of his invention of stereolithography, the first commercial 3D printing technology. Hull’s engineering expertise has radically transformed the manufacturing industry enabling the production of precision healthcare, medical 3D solutions, on-demand services and digital design tools.

Photo: Chuck Hull, 3D Systems Inventors Hall of Fame

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Honorary Fellowships:

Nine Honorary Fellowships are awarded to James Barnor, Edward Burtynsky, Sunil Gupta, Rut Blees Luxemburg, Melanie Manchot, Gideon Mendel, Tracey Moffatt, Richard Mosse and Shirin Neshat. These leading photographic artists are recognised for their innovative work of the highest calibre.

Photo: Shirin Neshat, Rebellious Silence, 1994. Copyright Shirin Neshat. Courtesy the artist and Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels.


Vic Odden Award: Daniel Castro Garcia

Daniel Castro Garcia, a Sicily and UK-based artist, receives the Vic Odden Award for significant achievement in the art of photography by a photographer aged 35 or under. Garcia’s work is centred upon the unfolding European humanitarian crisis, documenting the lives and impact of trauma on individuals and families migrating to Europe.

Photo: Daniel Castro Garcia, Kolda, Senegal, February 2018

Deborah Willis Beauty Shop Mrs Brown Press N Curl

Award for Outstanding Service: Professor Deborah Willis

The Award for Outstanding Service is given to Professor Deborah Willis, for her sustained research into photography’s multifaceted histories, specifically iconicity and cultural histories visualising the black body, women and gender, which she teaches as university Professor and Chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.

Photo: Deborah Willis, Beauty Shop Mrs Brown Press n Curl

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Lumière Award: Linus Sandgren

Linus Sandgren picks up the Lumière Award for his accomplishments in cinematography, including his highly rated work with directors David O Russell on ‘American Hustle’ (2013) and ‘Joy’ (2018), and with Damien Chazelle on ‘First Man’ (2018) and ‘La La Land’ (2016), for which he was honoured with a BAFTA and Academy Award. His most recent work will be seen in ‘No Time to Die’ (April 2021).

Photo: From No Time to Die, Nicola Dove

Poulomi Basu From The Series Blood Speaks

Hood Medal: Poulomi Basu

The Hood Medal, which recognises a specific photographic project that promotes awareness of current public and social affairs, is awarded to Poulomi Basu who advocates for the rights of marginalised women around the world through photographic and transmedia storytelling. She has become highly regarded for ‘Blood Speaks’, a powerful body of work that has activated policy change.

Photo: Poulomi Basu, from the series Blood Speaks

Igor Siwanowicz Bruhomorpha Gears

Scientific Imaging Award: Igor Siwanowicz

Igor Siwanowicz, biochemist and neurobiologist, is awarded the Scientific Imaging Award for his macrophotography images that accentuate the beauty and intricacies of natural forms.

Photo: Igor Siwanowicz, Bruhomorpha gears

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Editorial, Advertising and Fashion Photography Award: Ellen von Unwerth

The Editorial, Advertising and Fashion Photography Award is presented to Ellen von Unwerth. Unwerth’s work is renowned for its vibrant aesthetic, fusing a playful eroticism with feminine sensibilities, making her one of the most in-demand fashion photographers.

Photo: Ellen von Unwerth, Warriors, New York, 2016


Aïda Muluneh, contemporary artist and photographer, receives the award for Curatorship and Lesley A Martin, creative director of the Aperture Foundation, is presented with the award for Photographic Publishing.

Photo: Aïda Muluneh, Nobel Peace Center Exhibition, Image by Mulugeta Ayene


Awards have also been bestowed upon Professor Andrea Liggins, Professor Emerita of Photography at University of Wales Trinity Saint David; Professor Elizabeth Edwards, visual and historical anthropologist and Professor Emerita of Photographic History at De Montfort University, Leicester; Dr Maria Castaneyra-Ruiz, anthropologist and postdoctoral researcher, and transplant surgeon, Pankaj Chandak.

Photo: Professor Andrea Liggins, Uncertain Terrain

008 © Armando Jongejan Xi'an China

The Members’ Award is given to Judy Buckley-Sharp LRPS and this year’s Fenton Medals are awarded to Dr Tony Kaye ASIS FRPS, Armando Jongejan FRPS and David Osborn FRPS in recognition of their extraordinary support and contributions to the Society. These awards carry with them Honorary Life Memberships.

The Cinematography Award is presented as part of DepicT! Encounters Film Festival, selected by Annemarie Lean-Vercoe on behalf of the RPS. The recipient is Farideh Naderi, an Iranian filmmaker and director of ‘The Wall’.

In addition to the awards, we are delighted to confirm Ngadi Smart as the 2020/21 recipient of The Photographic Angle / RPS Environmental Bursary and Brook Andrew as the 2020/21 recipient of the RPS Postgraduate Bursary, supported by MPB. The Joan Wakelin Bursary will be announced in late 2020.

Photo: Armando Jongejan, Xi'an, China

Lead Photo: Steve McQueen, Lovers Rock from Small Axe by Parisa Taghizadeh/BBC/McQueen Limited