My Key Tips
- Whilst my images were taken over a period of time, when assembled as a panel, my aim was to give the impression that they had been captured in a single shoot.
- I chose a subject matter that was close to where I reside giving me the opportunity to connect to my theme on sometimes a daily basis.
Development of the “Blue Lagoon” Panel
This was my second Associateship submission, and I was determined to learn and move on from failure in 2016.
Therefore, an understanding of my previous shortcomings plus a clear realisation of the RPS’s required standard were essential.
After my failure in 2016, I decided that I needed more critical analysis of my work at the time. Therefore, I submitted associateship panels to both the Welsh and Irish Federations. I was successful twice, but more importantly, I began to understand the quality of the images that I was creating. In addition, I developed a strategic approach identifying key stages in the ongoing development of my work. I could then apply this to the RPS target.
I thought it appropriate at first to work on several potential panel ideas. Over a period, these were eventually distilled down to two. To give the two ideas more identity I gave them titles which informed the creative process. I named my successful ARPS panel “The Blue Lagoon.”
In reality the “The Blue Lagoon” is a children’s paddling pool on the promenade at Llandudno in North Wales. Crucially, it lies approximately 3 miles from where I live. I was able to visit the pool daily if I so wished throughout the year. This enabled me to really understand the subject matter, and eventually to create my panel from the landscape. Early in the project, that working close to home on a project with personal and emotional impact had much merit compared to focusing on a far away location. It is always difficult to get an emotional fix in unfamiliar surroundings.
The pool measures approximately 200 yards by 50 yards, and so is a confined space. Fascinated by the impact of the blueness, I started by capturing the wider landscape. I was constantly concerned about repetition, design and variety.
Having also studied successful Associateship panels on the Society’s website and in the Journal, I observed, rightly or wrongly, that several panels contained images that appeared to have been taken in one shoot. They had homogeneity of design, colour and texture. I surmised that whilst this may have been the case, they were in every likelihood captured over a period. As a consequence, I started to put this theory into practice. Whilst my images were taken over a period of time, when assembled as a panel they looked to the eye as if they were captured in one day. I realised that the same blue background to each image enhanced the concept.
Importantly, from the outset I decided to take the advice of the RPS Distinctions Department. I tried to remain in contact to understand the criteria and requirements needed. With my panel at the stage when I was capturing the wider landscape of the “Blue Lagoon,” I identified 3 key stages:
- Advice and Guidance
- One to One Advice
- Advisory Day
Within a period of one year, I submitted and received two separate Advice and Guidance instructions. The second one proved very constructive, as my project had advanced becoming clearer over the year. Importantly, the advice drew my attention to the positive aspects of my images, but also identified the all-important failings. This enabled me to move away from the wider landscape to an inner and more abstract theme.
Having learnt from my study of macro photography, I also changed to a square paper format. This enabled me to remove unwanted space, and to develop impact in the design and composition. I realised that I was moving into territory where photographically I was at my strongest and creative.
Again, I consulted with the Distinctions Department, I discovered the availability of One-to-One sessions at the RPS stand at the Photography Show 2018. This was probably the single most important decision that I made on this journey. I attended with my 2 selected panel options. “The Blue Lagoon” in its near final form was well received, and I was advised that I had strong panel but I needed 3 or 4 new images. In the end I replaced 5 before considering the final design of my final panel. The second panel did not fare as well, and I was advised that whilst the concept was good it needed more work from the design and technical perspectives.
After another quick consultation with the Distinctions Department, I elected not to attend an Advisory Day. It was time to take the plunge. In developing a panel, you will always end up having to decide should I or should I not submit. I found that passing through all the key stages made this decision a little easier.