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Jo Shepherd ARPS
CREDIT: Jo Shepherd ARPS

My Photography Journey

Ahead of our AGM, we asked RPS member Jo Shepherd ARPS to share her personal journey

The theme for our AGM this year is The Photographer’s Journey.

Whether you use a smartphone camera or have an arsenal of sophisticated lenses, we can support you on your personal journey in photography through our courses, events, and much more.

Jo Shepherd ARPS is an RPS member and a former student on our OCA short course, who will be presenting her experiences of the course at the AGM.

Ahead of the day, we asked Jo to tell us how she got to where she is today. It is an inspirational personal journey that shows how getting involved with different activities has a huge impact on your work, wellbeing, and confidence.

I don’t know where my photography will take me next, but the journey so far is exhilarating.

"If someone had told me last December that I would be speaking at the Royal Photographic Society’s AGM and studying for a Master’s Degree in Photography by this September I wouldn’t have thought it possible.

My RPS photographic journey started in 2014 as I looked to broaden my photography beyond the camera club environment. I took a three-day RPS course From Reality to Realisation: looking, seeing, taking and making photographs. Applying the learning from this course together with two RPS advisory days I gained my Licentiateship (LRPS) award in 2017.

I started working towards an Associateship and in 2019 I submitted a panel - and failed. The assessors encouraged me to continue, giving excellent advice on how to improve and I approached this failure as an opportunity to make new work and improve my proficiency at printing. In 2020 my revised panel was successful. 

During the pandemic I continued my learning with RPS online workshops and talks and this January I enrolled on the Open College of the Arts’ ten-week, online coursePhotography As Language, advertised in the RPS Journal. No previous qualifications were needed. The syllabus demonstrated methods to create meaning within photographs and the visual literacy to understand, and therefore enjoy, images."

Jo Shepherd ARPS
CREDIT: Jo Shepherd ARPS

"At its conclusion our tutor, Ariadne Xenou, introduced further opportunities including Falmouth University’s online part-time MA programme, explaining how a portfolio submission could be successful without the need for formal academic qualifications.

My application to Falmouth was successful and I started in May. I have just passed my first module and commenced the second, a photographic research project in three strands about Bristol Airport and the rural landscape and diverse habitats at the end of Runway 27W:

Plunder Street | Below Ground. The historic limestone and iron ore extraction;

Within Bounds | On the Ground: Markings of ownership and the land in the present day; and,

Lines of Flight | Above Ground: A depiction of flight data and the potential future of the area.

I don’t know where my photography will take me next, but the journey so far is exhilarating."

To begin your own photographic journey with the RPS, register for your FREE place today →