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LRPS Survivor

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

  1. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Mick,

    Except that there ain't no such thing in photography. You're as good as your last picture, or more accurately, as good as your body of work.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  2. MickLL

    MickLL Well-Known Member

    One of the things that I enjoy in our debates is your ability to unexpectedly switch direction and go off onto a complete tangent.

    However I have to take issue with you on your last statement too. If you won't accept the RPS distinctions then what about the various universities and colleges that award photographic qualifications at various levels. You may not think highly of them and they might not guarantee a living but they are qualifications by any definition.

    MickLL
     
  3. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    I read it exactly the way he meant it. Him not mankind generally and I told him if he were to do it, it would make him better than he is now. Unless he is already beyond the required standard. All the stuff about only the judgement of a few people....might not live up to it after etc is pretty standard stuff from those who feel a need to excuse themselves for not doing it by denigrating the thing. No one needs an excuse. It is just there if you want the challenge and to use it as one means amongst several of helping yourself improve. But to use your golf analogy, having a scratch handicap will never prevent you hitting a tee shot into the trees or missing an 18" putt. Just means you are likely to do it less often.
     
  4. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Might. Not necessarily "would". But again, I refer you to my original post, which I reproduce once more:

    ""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.""

    I genuinely don't think you *know* or that you *can* know -- and there's also plenty of room for discussion in "better". Better in what way? In the opinion of some RPS judges... Would I enjoy myself more? Would I earn more money? Would I get more exhibitions? I suspect that the answer to all three questions is "no" -- hence, " I've never felt that much need to try either". What would I be trying to prove, and to whom?

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  5. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Mick,

    What about them? They're meaningless. In other words, they are not qualifications at all. They're only of any use to an employer who can't judge a picture, or to a government that wants to disguise youth unemployment. Would YOU hire a rotten photographer whose only "qualification" was a piece of paper? If you wouldn't, it's not a qualification. His or her pictures: THEY are the only meaningful qualification.

    Nor do I see how my reply is tangential.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  6. MickLL

    MickLL Well-Known Member

    Roger,
    This whole exchange has become tangential.

    The discussion began through wondering if attempting an RPS distinction would improve one's photography.

    I misunderstood who was to make the attempt. Mike says that he didn't.

    You shifted the discussion to whether the RPS distinction was a qualification I suggested that it met the criteria to be one. You ignored that and opined that no qualification existed. I gave examples of photographic qualifications and now you still deny their existence based on your opinion of them. Sorry, Sir, but on this occasion your opinion is irrelevant.

    We have moved, through your replies, from discussing whether attempting an RPS distinction is useful to denying the existence of photographic qualifications. Yes I believe that to be tangential.


    Finally you may care to remember that our own Fen has just proudly been awarded one and he explained why he found it useful. It's rather blinkered of you to dismiss all such qualifications simply because you don't see their value. Not everyone wants to follow your path and so such qualifications have a value that may not be useful to you and that you don't need and therefore don't understand.

    MickLL
     
  7. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Mick,

    No, no. I have great admiration for those who achieve RPS distinctions. All I say is that such distinctions may or may not make any particular person a "better photographer". I am fart from convinced that they necessarily do. No shift there. Nor do I deny that for some people, an RPS distinction is enormously useful in becoming a better photographer. There is no denigration in "for some people." All I'm saying is that it ain't everyone. Once again, no change.

    Likewise "qualifications". It's not my opinion. It's simple fact. Anyone who is good enough will get the job, or will get the exhibition, pseudo-qualifications or RPS distinctions or not. Unless, of course, the person doing the hiring or picture selection would rather rely on a meaningless piece of paper than on a portfolio/body of work/individual picture or set (depending on the context). Any prospective employer, client or judge who would rely on a written pseudo-qualification, rather than on the pictures, is either a fool or a coward. Do you disagree? Yes, for employment, a piece of paper might tip the balance between two candidates, one of whom has the piece of paper and one of whom doesn't. Does this make it a qualification? Hardly. No shift there either.

    "It's rather blinkered of you to dismiss all such qualifications simply because you don't see their value. Not everyone wants to follow your path and so such qualifications have a value that may not be useful to you and that you don't need and therefore don't understand." It's not a question of understanding. Pseudo-qualifications, yes, I dismiss. Distinctions, no, I don't: I have a very much higher regard for them than for pseudo-qualifications, because they are done out of passion and an eagerness to learn. Pseudo-qualifications are goal-oriented, not process-oriented. Again, no shift.

    Frances and I discussed this over dinner (yet another of the countless advantages of being married to her). She reminded me of something I had forgotten. In the 1990s she considered trying for an RPS distinction. We looked at the sort of B+W prints they considered "suitable". She said, "If that's what they regard as adequate, let alone good, I am not interested. That's not the sort of printing I want to do." I had to agree with her. Bear in mind that this is someone who has demonstrated hand-colouring (usually of her own prints) at major and indeed international shows (including photokina) for two of the world's leading manufacturers of materials (SpotPen and Marshall's Oils).

    Unless you *know* what you want to achieve -- partly from looking at world-class exhibitions, but mostly just from knowing what you want to achieve -- then maybe a judge's opinion is of limited value. You have to work on what you believe to be good, not on what a panel of judges defines as good. To be brutal, what is the purpose of an RPS judging panel? To select pictures that suit RPS criteria. And what are RPS criteria? Those that suit judges who have met RPS criteria... Quis custodet ipsos custodies?

    Finally, I refer (yet again) to my original post. "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." Which of the six following sentences, each (I flatter myself) clearly stated, are you having a problem with?

    (1) I've never been brave enough to try.

    (2) Then again, I've never felt that much need to try either.

    (3) But how far is the latter a consequence of the former?

    (4) The question is, would it make me a better photographer?

    (5) Who knows?

    (6) I'm unlikely to try now.

    Actually, I said "finally" above, but there is in effect a postscript. I'd like to thank you very much for the opportunity to dispute, rationally and without personal insult, the subject in question. Such honesty, robustness and gentlemanliness is why I now spend more time on the AP forum than on other forums.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  8. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    I think I would be reluctant to try the LRPS route.

    My reasons are bound up with my reaction to going for Acceptances this year as something to keep me focused.

    So far, I've got a few Acceptances, which has pleased me, although most of the pictures were not exactly current, they were not too long ago. I can live with the current status, but I don't think I could take rejection on the LRPS route.

    This isn't because I think I do fantastic work (although, of course I do! ;) ) it's just that I would feel that I had reached the end of my photographic journey if I got nowhere on that route.

    Cowardice? Yes, of course, but I need to keep thinking I'm not too bad, in order to keep taking and processing images!

    Kate
     
  9. MickLL

    MickLL Well-Known Member

    Dear Roger,

    Thanks for your complete reply . I too enjoy the opportunity to dispute without the rudeness that so often creeps in. It's why I choose to 'dispute' with you more often than with others.

    I think that you may be confusing me (MickLL) with RovingMike when you wrote the words after 'finally'. Again -not me guv !! I have never suggested that trying for an RPS 'F' would improve you personally. I don't know enough about your photography to make a judgement and wouldn't presume anyway. Obviously I completely accept that it's not for everyone but I'm also 'with' Roving MIke that the act of trying would definitely improve the output of most photographers. If nothing else (and quoting you - more or less) it helps to define "what you want" and helps to concentrate the mind on how to get it.

    Then qualifications. I find it very sad that you seem to dismiss all of the available qualifications as you do. Again I have to agree that having a piece of paper doesn't automatically prove anything - but it ought at least to prove competence if not 'flair'.

    Having spent as long as I did (voluntarily) in education it pains me to hear and read of folk with such fixed views about the country's educational output. Please allow a couple of anecdotes.

    My son worked abroad for ten years. First teaching and, at the end, running the school. His results and performance were outstanding. Ill health drove him back to the UK. At his first interview they 'ripped his hand off' and made an offer on the spot. Then they 'completed the formalities' , found that he didn't have a degree and withdrew the offer. So no - someone who is good enough will not always get the job. That's a utopian dream.

    Second anecdote. The son of a close friend is a 'big cheese' in the pop music business working for a very well known company. He proudly boasts that he won't even interview a graduate. I find that appalling.

    Both attitudes are completely wrong.

    Now back to photography. I'm interested that you cite "world class exhibitions" as some sort of yardstick. IMHO such exhibitions are much more subject to fashion than any RPS panel. The selection process is still done by, usually, three people viewing the submissions for a few seconds (with no discussion and cross fertilisation of ideas that happens during an RPS panel) and the entrant gets zero useful feedback - just a score if you are lucky. Yes or no. Yes I'm biased but I know which I'd prefer.

    If you want to leave it at that fine but I would appreciate you commenting on some of the points that I've made and not following another tangent. (an attempt at humour - for the avoidance of doubt!).
    MickLL
     
  10. PhilW

    PhilW Well-Known Member

  11. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Mick,

    Utopianism: yes. But we must dream of, and agitate for, and seek out, the best. Otherwise we will be fed only the second rate (or worse). It's much like the sliced bread thread elsewhere on the forum.

    The sort of "world class exhibitions" I am talking about are not the sort you were thinking about. I'm not talking about "juried" exhibitions containing the works of many photographers, where your description is perfectly accurate. I almost never go to such exhibitions; I certainly won't go more than a few yards out of my way for one.

    No: I was talking of single-photographer exhibitions, where you see anything from eight or ten pictures to several hundred (which is usually too many -- a few dozen is usually better). The first I ever saw, in the 1960s, was a Bill Brandt exhibition at Dartington Hall. Since then I've been to hundreds more. I'll go well out of my way for them. For example, when we were visiting my wife's late mother in Alabama, we drove a couple of hours each way to see a Karsh exhibition. In Switzerland once, we went an hour out of our way to see a Drticol exhibition. And every year, we go to Arles to the Rencontres, where we see literally scores of exhibitions: see http://www.rogerandfrances.com/subscription/arles 2008.html (2008), http://www.rogerandfrances.com/subscription/arles 2009.html (2009) and http://www.rogerandfrances.com/subscription/arles 2010.html (2010).

    For becoming a "better photographer", a week at the Rencontres is a far better choice for me than any time I might spend (I could even say "waste") trying to get an RPS distinction, and I strongly suspect that the same is true for many others. Seeing numerous good (and not so good) exhibitions shows you what can be done; gives you ideas; and tells you far more about technique and image quality than anything the RPS could easily do. It also reminds you how much dedication you really need if you want to be a good photographer.

    Compared to quite a few of the people I know from Arles, I am just a dilettante -- and they are to me as I am to someone seeking an RPS distinction. Their whole lives are dedicated to photography: everything else they do is merely a way of getting enough money to feed the photography habit. I do other things as well, mostly reading and writing, but I'd still bet that I spend at least one order of magnitude more time and effort practising and thinking about photography than many on this forum who would call themselves serious photographers.

    This is why I am dismissive of "qualifications" in photography. Some of the very good photographers I know are "qualified". Many more aren't. And it doesn't make a blind bit of difference to the quality of their work. The prospective employer who turned your son down was a fool and a coward, but that's beside the point in the present discussion, because here we're talking about photography.

    When it comes to seriously good photographers, we're almost never talking about employees. NO-ONE cares whether a freelance or fine art photographer is "qualified" at all. All they care about is the pictures -- which is something I said some time ago. It is a view to which I cleave unshakably.

    As for not interviewing graduates, well, that's clearly taking it too far; but when I was an assistant in the 1970s, my "gaffer" would normally take the self-taught over the "qualified", because (as he said) people who go to college tend to have little idea of either urgency or cost. Yes, if a "qualified" photographer was good enough, he'd take him on; but faced with a choice between two assistants, one self-taught and the other qualified, each with the same degree of enthusiasm and a similar standard of portfolio, the self-taught one would get the job.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  12. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    Some good points here. Going after a qualification like this does impose some discipline, can help clarify thinking and makes a body of work at the end of the process which, as time progresses may become increasingly valuable for all sorts of reasons.
     
  13. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    Sorry, but it wasn't clear to me whether you were at the preparation day or the actual panel assessment for the qualification. Whatever, well done for having a go. Hang in there if it was the latter.

    It is a great learning process (haven't done a RPS qual myself - nearly became an LBIPP but that's another long story) but have helped fellow club members prepare and the boost it gives them when they pass is amazing & also reflects around the rest of the group. :)
     
  14. MickLL

    MickLL Well-Known Member

    Dear Roger,

    I wondered whether to reply because I rather suspect that most denizens are more interested in sliced bread.;)

    I'll be brief. In my book improvement comes from seeking advice, getting feedback and then setting out to learn what's needed to act on that advice. Looking at pictures helps and may motivate provided one has the right mentality to analyse. Looking at pictures won't teach about exposure or any of the other technicalities.

    I accept that you are different - plainly so - but I'm trying not to talk about you but about the average contributor here.

    Any improvement that I achieved was through friends, judges and, yes, the RPS setting me a 'target'.

    That's it. I suspect that we will never agree fully.

    MickLL
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2013
  15. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Mick,

    But exposure and other technicalities are trivial and quickly learned from books and experience. Advice is another matter. If you ask the right questions of the right people, it is invaluable. Even if you don't ask the questions in the usual sense -- in other words, if you read a book or AP -- you should be able to find the answers to many of the questions you want to ask. But there is plenty of bad advice about too, or for that matter, advice that would be perfectly good for someone else but is worthless, or worse than worthless, to you. "Worse than worthless" advice often includes the word "ought": you ought to do this, the picture ought to be cropped like this, pictures ought never to be cropped.

    Quite often, in any case, contrarianism is valuable for its own sake. It may be that 9 people out of 10 will benefit from attempting an RPS distinction. But what of the tenth? We are all familiar with the sigh of relief that comes from "Thank God! It's not just me!" Also, even if someone does decide that an RPS distinction is the route they want to take, it is useful to have a discussion about what it can and cannot help them to achieve.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  16. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    LOLLOLOLLOLLOLOLOLLLOL :D

    Chuckle of The Week Award and it's only Wednesday!

    :)
     
  17. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath


    Hi Roger,
    Which is normally what a post-graduate Photographic qualification, such as LRPS, covers. Fascinating Thread, hope you don't mind me barging in. :)
    Regards,
    Oly
     
  18. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Oly,

    Hardly. First, it ain't post-graduate: many LRPS are not graduates to begin with (probably the vast majority, historically), so there's nothing for it to be "post". Second, how is it a "qualification"? What does it qualify you to do?

    There are many things an RPS distinction can be, but basically it's something you do for yourself, for your own personal reasons. In that sense, it's rather like the *best* reasons for attending university. But that still doesn't make it any kind of qualification.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  19. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Phil,

    Well, it *is* about qualifications to some extent. As he says, "They award distinctions for photographers rather than notional and misleading qualifications."

    To all those who haven't pursued this link yet: you should, if this thread has interested you at all.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  20. MickLL

    MickLL Well-Known Member

    Oly,

    Roger is right. None of the RPS qualifications could in any way be considered postgraduate.

    Roger,

    I quite deliberately used the word qualification because I believe that the definition of a qualification is met by the RPS process. I made that point in a post in this thread some time ago but you chose not to answer. Sorry to ask you to go round in a circle but I would be very interested to know why you seem to reject my logic.

    If you choose to ignore me again I promise that I'll keep quiet from now on.

    MickLL

    PS None of my (real) qualifications actually qualify me to do anything. My one distinction (not counting RPS) qualifies me to get married, christened or hold a funeral service (at great cost) in St. Paul's. ;);)
     

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