Royal Photographic Society 2021 Award Winners

The recipients of the 143rd Royal Photographic Society Prize just announced. These prizes, the oldest in photography, are a little different from most of the photography competitions we are featured on. Pop Photo. The RPS Awards celebrate photographers and their works and contributions to photography as a whole, rather than single, top-of-a-category images.

In addition, photographers do not enter themselves, they must be nominated by their peers. With that said, let’s look at some winners.

The price categories

New York, from East 100th Street, 1966. © Bruce Davidson / Magnum Photos

In keeping with the Royal Photographic Society‘s approach of celebrating photographers, not photographs, the categories are broader, more global and, dare I say it, prestigious. Here, no submarine or insect category, but the Lumière Award and the Centenary Medal.

The 18 categories are:

  • The Progress Medal (Prize for the scientific or technological advancement of photography)
  • The Centenary Medal (Award for a sustained and significant contribution to the art of photography)
  • The Exceptional Service Medal (Award for sustained, exceptional and influential advancement in photography)
  • RPS Honorary Scholarship Award
  • RPS Award for Film Production
  • The Combined Royal Colleges Award
  • RPS Award for Photographic Conservation
  • RPS Award for Editorial, Advertising and Fashion Photography
  • RPS Award for Photographic Education
  • The Fenton Medals (award for outstanding contributions to the work of society)
  • The Hood Medal (Prize for a group of works promoting or raising awareness of current issues)
  • The J Dudley Johnston Medal (Award for Achievement in Photographic Criticism or Photographic History)
  • The Lumière Prize (Cinematography, Video and Animation Prize)
  • Member’s award (award for extraordinary and sustained support from society)
  • RPS Award for Photographic Editing
  • The Royal Photographic Society Prize for Scientific Imaging.
  • The Selwyn Prize (Scientific Imaging Research Prize)
  • The Vic Odden Award (Award for Excellence in the Art of Photography for those 35 and under)

As you can see, that’s a hell of a list. And if you want to see each recipient, we suggest you check out the latest edition of RPS Journal (available online for free). We’re just going to pull off a few of the winners that we’ve found to be the most interesting or inspiring.

RPS Award for Editorial, Advertising and Fashion Photography: Tyler Mitchell

Tyler Mitchell, Butterfly, 2019.
Tyler Mitchell, Butterfly, 2019. © Tyler Mitchell. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

Tyler mitchell, according to the RPS, “transforms the way black culture is represented, from the art world to the cover of Vogue. ”

This Beyoncé cover photo made history in 2018 because it was the first Vogue cover taken by a black photographer. The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery even has acquired an image from the series for its permanent collection.

The Progress Medal: Katie Bouman

Katie Bouman © Collaboration with the Event Horizon telescope
Black hole, 2019. Katie Bouman © Collaboration with the Event Horizon telescope

Katie Bouman was one of the main members of the team that produced the first image of a black hole in 2019. Not surprisingly, given the RPS’s emphasis on the scientific side of things. , whether it won the award for “scientific or technological advancement.” photography.

The Hood Medal: Dexter McLean

Dexter McLean, Jay Jay
Dexter McLean, Jay Jay. © The artist

Dexter McLean, a photographer with cerebral palsy, won the Body of Work Promoting or Raising Awareness of Current Issues award for his documentary and portrait work in support of the disabled community.

Vic Odden Prize: Silvia Rosi

Silvia Rosi, Self-Portrait as my Father, 2019, from the Encounter series.
Silvia Rosi, Self-Portrait as my Father, 2019, from the Encounter series. © Silvia Rosi

Silvia Rosi, a photographer of West African descent, won the “Achievement in the Art of Photography for 35 and Under” award for her “self-portrait photography that explores personal history, heritage and origins “.

(Yes, we are delighted to see such a fascinating self-portrait recognized like that).

RPS Prize for Photographic Conservation: Azu Nwagbogu

Azu Nwagbogu, Home Museum Landing Page, 2020.
Azu Nwagbogu, Home Museum Landing Page, 2020. © Lagos Photo Festival

Azu Nwagbogu won the award for his work in setting up the African Artists Foundation, a Nigeria-based non-profit organization that promotes and develops contemporary African art.

How to participate in the RPS Awards

Dana Lixenberg, Puff Daddy.
Dana Lixenberg, Puff Daddy. © Dana Lixenberg

Although you cannot participate in the RPS Awards yourself, you can try to convince your friends to nominate you for free. on the RPS website. They will need to describe your contributions to photography and explain why you deserve such a prestigious award, so make sure they know the merits of your work. All applicants are reviewed annually in January, and an application is valid for three years.

If you don’t win within three years, you’ll need to convince your friends to come forward again (and you’ll need to have done something new and worthy of a prize in the meantime).



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