For many of us, our photography will have progressed over several decades. This evening Lawrence presented his personal photographic journey over a relatively short time span by most standards. I’m guessing that by ‘Access’ he means the routes of access to photography that have worked for him and perhaps could work for us.

He bought his first DSLR in 2014, a Nikon D3200 with a couple of zoom lenses, to take on holiday in Turkey. Soon realising that there is more to taking good photos than holiday snapping, he joined East Grinstead Camera Club. Bravely, he showed us some of these early pictures and told us about how his faltering steps on the learning curve were helped by the feedback from judges in their internal competitions.

Clearly a fast learner, by 2015 he had developed some understanding of Photoshop, good technique, composition etc., to the extent that he had his first image Cappadocia Fairy Chimneys accepted by a foreign salon and won an FIAP Silver Medal for a monochrome image Life in Old Marrakesh.

In 2016 he upgraded to a full frame Nikon D750 and began working as a freelance press photographer. We saw a number of his press photos many of which covered newsworthy events in his neighbourhood. Around this time, he also developed an interest in photographing studio models, wildlife and composites. He showed us many examples of his excellent work in a variety of different genres, a few of which you will find at the end of this blog and many more on his website www.kitsch.co.uk.

By 2017, he had moved to the advanced group at his camera club and began to enter his work to gain distinctions in the various established photographic organisations.

Many of us I’m sure have little understanding of the bewildering array of letters they see stringed out after the names of photographers we come across, less still of what is involved in getting them. Having been through the mill himself, Lawrence gave us an interesting summary of what is involved should any member feel tempted to give it a try.

FIAP (The International Federation of Photographic Art)

To gain distinctions, images have to be entered into international salons of which there are hundreds. Acceptance of an image gains you one point and, as an example, you would need 250 points in at least 20 different countries to be awarded an EFIAP. The rules of entry are quite complicated and it is expensive to enter.

BPE (British Photographic Exhibitions)

This organisation has just one event a year and there are 19 salons to enter. Examples of the number of accepted images you would need for the qualifications are BPE*1 – 25 acceptances, BPE*2 – 50, and BPE*5 – 300 acceptances. After which you become eligible for the ABPE and FBPE awards, a long and time-consuming process.

PAGB (The Photographic Alliance of Great Britain)

As I’m sure you know, this is the umbrella organisation that Photocraft belongs to through its affiliation with the Surrey Photographic Association (SPA) so we are entitled to enter. There are three levels (with entry fees): Credit CPAGB (£60), Distinction DPAGB (£90) and Master MPAGB (£120), requiring submission of 10, 15 or 20 images, respectively. These awards allow you to use the letters for life without having to shell out an annual fee, unlike the…

RPS (Royal Photographic Society)

who insist on you paying your annual membership subscription to keep using the letters you earned.

The RPS have three levels of Distinctions: Licentiate LRPS (10 images), Associate ARPS (15 images), and Fellowship FRPS (20 or 21 images). Submissions have to be entered as panels of set numbers of images so consideration of theme and arrangement of the panel can be important.

So, anyone out there chewing at the bit? Not for me though I think. Too much effort for a hobby I do for fun, and with some of the photographers we come across, I find a mismatch between their awarded credits and any convincing creative or aesthetic sense. In some ways its better not to worry about keeping up standards and reputation amongst our peers because when you start to slip, everyone notices!

A lively and entertaining evening, so thank you Lawrence.

Three times a lady
Hanging on the telephone
Feel the Pain, Slam Wrestling Birmingham
Kyrenia Harbour, North Cyprus

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