I started my ARPS journey in March 2021, I had presented images I’d made of Chernobyl and Pripyat from 2019 at a monthly meeting of our RPS group. Following the presentation it was suggested I look at pursuing an ARPS distinction. I had considered working on a distinction but didn’t think at that time my work was good enough. Seeking advice from the RPS Facebook distinctions forum I clarified whether the panel would be suitable for documentary.
Now, this is where it could have done drastically wrong. I worked through my panel and thought that was really great and had planned to submit this in November 2021. I had a nagging doubt and decided to get some 1-2-1 advice. The RPS allows you to book 1-2-1 sessions for both your statement of intent (SOI) and panel of images at a small cost but very well worth it.
My panel submission was further along than a lot of others at the time I had my 1-2-1 advice. If you’re going to get the most benefit then seek to have these sessions early on when you’re formulating your SOI and collecting images.
I did revise my SOI, image selection and editing of images following my 1-2-1 sessions. It’s also a really good idea to physically print your images, I printed multiple images at 4x6 size, and then lay them out or hang them on your wall in the layout you plan to use. This allows you to ‘live’ with them and by doing so you’ll go back and edit those images or re-order. I re-printed images numerous times before I was happy with the final edits.
There also comes a point where I needed to draw a line under tweaking and finally print the images for display. I use my own printer rather than a commercial lab, I have an Epson SC-P800 at my disposal. For the paper choice I decided to use Marrutt 312gsm Smooth Fine Art production paper.
As the old adage goes, measure twice and cut once is critical. I had decided to purchase my mounts pre-cut from Cotswold Mounts. White Core Single Mount 20x16 with an Image Size aperture 16x12 inches. I could have done these at home myself but it was quicker to just order them in like that. Once printed they images were mounted and then packaged. I used a Nomad box with an additional layer of foam padding for protection. My final images were posted at the end of February in good time for RPS House to receive them for the 9th March Deadline. If you’re reading this looking for supplier information I have hyperlinked them above, note I don’t receive any commission when you use these links so click away ;) Don’t forget to check the RPS members page for relevant supplier discounts!
The documentary assessment date of 30 March seemed to take a good while to arrive but arrive it did. On the day itself my panel was first up and I was greeted with a screen of my images.
The panel was introduced by the chair, Simon Leach. Simon also conducted my 1-2-1 sessions. Simon read out my statement of intent and then the panel members looked over my physical prints. The panel members were then asked for their vote and then called upon to comment on my images. Finally they were asked to vote again (voting is only seen by the chair ) and the chair then adds their own comments, finally confirming the vote outcome and announcing my panel had been successful. This process took around 30 minutes and for me watching it felt like a lifetime!