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LRPS Survivor

Discussion in 'Talking Pictures' started by George W Johnson, Oct 25, 2013.

  1. George W Johnson

    George W Johnson Well-Known Member

    I recently attended my first LRPS assessment and lived to tell the tale! It was the most nerve racking thing I think I have ever done and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Sadly I made some very poor choices for my "portfolio", the judges called me out on them and I didn't pass but it was such a great experience to be involved in the whole process on the day. To be able to sit and listen to the judges discussing various aspects of the huge variety of subjects in the prints and images that were on display. Seeing just a small sample of the stunning photographic talent we have in this country was an experience in itself. I now have some thinking to do, start taking a good hard objective look at my work then when I'm ready I'll get back in the ring for another round!

    For anyone who takes their photography even remotely seriously and is thinking about doing it, I cannot recommend the experience highly enough.
     
    Jan Ellen likes this.
  2. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    Well said sir! I am sometimes mistaken for an RPS stooge here, but I do believe it is a challenge most would benefit from. If they don't get too daunted by it. We've done quite a bit of LRPS and ARPS coaching through the AP columns and on PM.
     
  3. IvorCamera

    IvorCamera Well-Known Member

    Ah an honest person! I can still remember getting my LRPS over 30 years ago, what a wonderfull experiance, I worked so hard getting that collection of pictures to-gether then taking them down to Bath, and then waiting for about 6 weeks for the results, then I went for my ARPS by then I had no fingernails left! Well I could not stop there could I, now for the FRPS,but it took me another couple of years to get a good selection of prints to-gether to make my final choice, and remember all my pictures was printed by me in my own small darkroom (the small bedroom) then down to Bath with my collection carefully wrapped in cotton wool and newspaper! Then another 6 weeks wait but the news from The Royal was good.......Ivorcamera FRPS....
     
  4. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    I've never been brave enough to try. Then again, I've never felt that much need to try either. But how far is the latter a consequence of the former? The question is, would it make me a better photographer? Who knows? I'm unlikely to try now.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  5. IvorCamera

    IvorCamera Well-Known Member

    Having letters behind your name does not make you a better photographer! neither does having the most expensive camera hanging around your neck! Getting a Distinction from the Royal Photographic Society is an achievement! it is something to aim for, it says for a photographer that he or she has set a high standard in photography for her/himself, those letters are recognized in most photographic circles around the world indeed when I got mine which was a long time ago this was my greatest achievement and still is! and at the end of the day I have something to show for all my efforts in photography.......
     
  6. George W Johnson

    George W Johnson Well-Known Member

    More or less the reason for me trying to do it. It's all very well uploading to various websites and a few people saying they like your images but you get to a point where you feel you want some validation for your hard work from people who themselves have proved that they understand the art of photography. People who will judge you on set of very critical set of criteria, not just take a glance and say they like it or not. I appreciate it's very much a subjective discipline and with images "one man's wine is another's poison" but there are certain core aspects that almost always contribute to set snapshots apart from well thought out and executed photographs.

    Mistakes were made this time, harsh lessons were learned from the brutally honest feedback and as I said to someone who asked me, I went along to the RPS assessment to get myself a little "hubris-ectomy"! Ha ha!
     
  7. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Fair enough but I think I'll just fall back on my books and magazine articles.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  8. IvorCamera

    IvorCamera Well-Known Member

    I still enjoy reading books and articles about photography the older books I find more interesting now that I have reached a certain age, what I sometimes cant get to grips with is computer jargon and that's when the book comes in handy,thanks for the conversation! best wishes......
     
  9. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    Short answers: 1)Yes and 2) many people. If not at LRPS (basic competence), then A will teach an ability that relatively few have to follow a theme and maintain standards and differentiation. Through that and unless you are a natural genius (you would know by now) the process of getting an F would make you reach higher than you ever thought you could. More people alive today have climbed Everest. Think scratch handicap in golf.
     
  10. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Mike,

    Hardly. You seem to be assuming that the RPS is the *only* route to improvement, which is clearly not the case. College? Apprenticeship? Practice?

    You also didn't read the question very carefully. It was, "Will it make ME a better photographer?" No, I don't believe that "many people" (or indeed anyone) can answer that for me. If I can't, I'm pretty sure that others can't.

    Publishers don't take it kindly if you can't stick to a theme and maintain standards (I'm not sure what "and differentiation" might mean). Nor do clients if you're a professional.

    "Natural genius" is completely irrelevant. Hard work is far from irrelevant, but as I say, the RPS is hardly the only incentive to hard work.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  11. MickLL

    MickLL Well-Known Member

    Dear Roger,

    Forgive me weighing in on Mike's side (with one exception that I'll come to).

    I've read this thread carefully and with interest because I can relate to several of the posts having been through the same process.

    Nowhere in the thread can I find anything that suggests that the RPS route is the only way so where you formed that opinion I'm not sure. Then you suggest a number of routes to 'improvement' and list practice. I'm suggesting that practice, without guidance, criticism and advice simply ingrains possibly bad habits. You need to show your work to someone for practice to help. Obviously I'm being simplistic and there will be exceptions but I have Mr/Mrs/Mz Average in mind.

    Would it make you, Roger Hicks, a better photographer? Maybe, as charged, Mike didn't read the question carefully but I too believed that you were generalizing and asking the question from the point of view of someone considering the RPS route and not necessarily as RH. You are right nobody can really answer that question. It doesn't really matter anyway because you get your feedback from other sources - lots of it - and whether you eat or not depends on it being favourable. Most of us (however hard we work ;)) will never be in that position and therefore going the RPS route (as ONE possibility) would lead to improvement.

    Finally 'natural genius'. Maybe a whisker overstated but with more than a grain of truth. As Mike said more people have climbed Everest than have been awarded an 'F'. You do need something special to achieve it. You certainly need some sort of talent that all the hard work in the world won't create. It may even be that if you went along the 'F' route then achieving the 'F' style (note that I avoided the word 'standard' and forgive me if I don't try to define that) may possibly make your pictures less useful in your field of endeavour. Who knows?

    Finally a golfing analogy first personal and then general. When I was about 30 I decided that I wanted to become a 'good' golfer. I'd never played the game before. I worked incredibly hard (looking back my marriage was lucky to survive). I practised until my hands bled and I achieved a pretty low handicap. You will realise that golf has inbuilt feedback - the ball does as you wanted or it doesn't. Unfortunately I didn't seek outside 'appraisal' and so, having achieved a low handicap, I got stuck. My hard work had ingrained bad habits that I never break (I have them still) and that prevented me improving even more. If only I had used the golfing equivalent of the RPS I might, just might, have become properly good!

    Now generalising - still golf. Promise I'll be quick. Nick Faldo - manufactured golfer steady, reliable etc. Great? Probably not - a very high standard ARPS!!! Severiano Ballasteros (?spelling). The touch of genius that Mike wants. A certain 'F'

    Sorry to have been so long winded. As some one famous once said - I didn't have time to write a shorter one.

    MickLL
     
  12. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    So clearly not the case that I am wondering what made you think I thought it was? The question was whether IT would help you improve, not whether other things would also do so as well or even better. Unless you are already F standard, I repeat that going for it and getting it WOULD help you improve.
     
  13. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    The misunderstanding here is simply that I literally did mean me, personally -- as I'd have thought my post made clear: re-read the first two sentences, reproduced below.

    "I've never been brave enough to try. Then again, I've never felt that much need to try either. But how far is the latter a consequence of the former? The question is, would it make me a better photographer? Who knows? I'm unlikely to try now."

    Even if I were speaking generally, though, I'd still query "Yes, it will make one [= me] a better photographer." I know many more good photographers who are not LRPS/ARPS than who are, and I have seen the work of many more again, especially at Arles.

    There is absolutely no doubt that showing your work to others is a very, very important part of getting better. Indeed, if no-one else ever sees your photography, no-one will ever know how good or how bad you are. Even so, without wishing to imply any disrespect to the RPS, a body for which I have the highest regard, their "distinctions" are at best the opinions of a few judges, limited in time and space. There are always fashions in RPS judging: the pictures that get you a distinction today would not necessarily have done so 50 years ago, and vice versa. In other words, an RPS distinction is not even necessarily a particularly good way for anyone to improve their photography.

    I might even go so far as to say that it can be quite a dangerous route. What does a distinction actually mean? Only that you once got a distinction. What does it say about your photography since? Nothing. At worst, it may say. "I am now resting on my laurels". Of course there are countless holders of RPS distinctions who do not rest on their laurels, but it would be foolish to pretend that there are none who do: they've "proved" they're photographers, and regard that as an end on't.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  14. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    Well, Seve Ballesteros couldn't usually find a fairway unless it was 500 yards across!
    Then again, perhaps 'going down the fairway' isn't the pathway for a genius in any skill. I'd rather get inspiration from the ones who excite me and make me wish to follow their path. I sometimes think judges can't see the wood for the trees.

    Kate
     
  15. MickLL

    MickLL Well-Known Member

    Roger (sorry to be petty now) the first misunderstanding was the one that you chose to ignore - that the RPS was being suggested as the ONLY route. We all know that it wasn't and we all know that it's not.

    I agree with your first three paragraphs.

    Surprisingly I agree with the last few paragraphs too - but point out that what you wrote applies to any qualification, however gained, from any organization at any time. My degrees (Maths and Physics) were obsolete on the day that they were awarded. Only those who undergo CPD (continued professional development - doctors and the like) could claim that their qualification was' current'. But knowing, as I do, the tricks played to get CPD points I'd question even that.

    MickLL
     
  16. MickLL

    MickLL Well-Known Member

    ;)

    But he was world number one for a period and he did win more than 90 tournaments including 5 'majors'. My point, though, was that some of his shots were exciting beyond belief, a touch of genius - even from the car park (remember that one?). Faldo was just boring.

    MickLL

    IMHO of course!
     
  17. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Mick,

    Dear Mick,

    No, I didn't choose to ignore it. I freely admit I misunderstood -- but I misunderstood because of the previous misunderstanding, i.e. your thinking I was speaking generally, not personally.

    As for "qualifications" this is precisely my point. An RPS distinction is NOT a qualification. It's a distinction. We may learn more about (for example) medicine, architecture or mathematics, but this is an enlargement of technical knowledge, not a shift in artistic taste. As far as I recall there are RPS technical distinctions too, but artistic distinctions can only ever be matters of fashion and taste. Medicine and mathematics also have their fashions, but to a far smaller extent.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  18. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    You missed my point! Faldo was obsessed with technique. Seve had flair and won by unconventional genius.
     
  19. MickLL

    MickLL Well-Known Member

    I did miss your point - sorry. A lot of it going on in this thread.;);)

    We seem to have the same opinion.

    MickLL
     
  20. MickLL

    MickLL Well-Known Member

    Not me guv! Although I admit that I read it the same way as RMike and so guilty by implication. I also admit that I seem to have taken up his cudgels - but that's because I enjoy a debate with you.
    Quite right but in this case I see little difference. Here's the OED definition of a qualification:

    "a pass of an examination or an official completion of a course, especially one conferring status as a recognized practitioner of a profession or activity:"

    In other words one needs to prove knowledge and competence - and that's what an 'A' does. In my eyes the difference between sitting in a room and writing (then waiting for exam results) is little different from sitting in a room while a panel of judges (examiners?) minutely discuss one's submission of a panel of pictures. The judges (at 'A' ) are looking for technical competence, ability to present a theme and a variety of approach (MIke's differentiation that you questioned early on). The RPS is not an academic body and can't award qualifications but it seems to me that the definition that I've quoted covers the RPS 'distinctions' quite neatly.
    Then we move to 'F'. I'm not going to quote the words (anyone interested can read them themselves) but we would now be in a whole new ball game and the concept of originality/pushing the boundaries/style is introduced and that raises the bar by several notches. Technical competence is a given (although is still part of the assessment).
    There's no way that I want you to take the following analogy too seriously but if an 'A' is like a BSc then an 'F' is more like a PhD. I repeat I'm NOT pushing that too far so don't go along that line too far please.
    You are right but maybe quoting my own degrees was a mistake. Maybe I should have used literature or art or fashion itself (all degree subjects) that most certainly are subject to the changing whim of opinion.

    MickLL
     

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