Clinton Road, London 1977 © Thomas Struth
This year’s Progress Medal was awarded to Palmer Luckey (pictured below), the 24-year-old inventor of the head-mounted virtual reality device, Oculus Rift.
German photographer Thomas Struth, renowned for his 1970s street shots of Dusseldorf and New York, received the Centenary gong in recognition of ‘a sustained, significant contribution to the art of photography’.
Struth is also known for his Museum Photographs, showing people looking at iconic works of art.
Broadway at 22nd Street, Flatiron District, New York 1978 © Thomas Struth
Meanwhile, curator and writer William A Ewing was presented with the Outstanding Service Award. He also won an honourary fellowship as did photographers David Hurn, Adam Fuss, Hellen van Meene, Mert and Marcus, and Ingrid Pollard. Filmmaker Emmanuel Lubezki won The Lumière Award for his achievements in British cinematography.
This year’s winners also included Paul Hill MBE for his services to photographic education (Education Award); Nick Hedges for raising awareness of social issues through his work for groups such as Shelter and Mencap (The Hood Medal); and Chloe Dewe Mathews, a photographic artist who won The Vic Odden Award for achievement in the art of photography by a British photographer aged 35 and under.
RPS director general Michael Pritchard said: ‘Every year The Society’s Awards recognise exceptional photographers and influencers across all areas of imaging art and science.
‘We are delighted to introduce new categories this year, allowing us to acknowledge the outstanding work of individuals in additional fields.’
A 70-year ‘obsession’ with microscopes, microscopy and photomicrography led the RPS to award Spike Walker the Scientific Imaging Award, a new award category for 2016.
Also new is the Curatorship Award, won by Diane Dufour; the Photographic Publishing Award, won by Benedikt Taschen; and the Editorial, Advertising & Fashion Photography Award, which went to David Stewart.
The winners were announced at a ceremony in central London, hosted by former NATO secretary general Lord Robertson of Port Ellen who is a keen photographer.