Royal Photographic Society

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In the winter months of 1851/1852, a provisional committee was formed with a view to organising a photographic society in London. A catalyst to the project was an exhibition of over seven hundred photographs in the gallery of the Society of Arts, which was of great general interest.

A public meeting was held on Thursday 20 January 1853 and The Photographic Society was formed using mainly the Society of Arts for its meetings. In 1874 the name was changed to the Photographic Society of Great Britain to reflect its growing importance and twenty years later it became The Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain with the permission of Queen Victoria, which was maintained by subsequent Monarchs. The Society was granted a Royal Charter in July 2004.

The Royal Photographic Society is an Educational Charity promoting both the art and science of photography. Membership is open to all, whatever level of experience or knowledge. No qualifications are required to join, just a passion and love for one or more of photography’s myriad of genres, technologies and applications.

Most of our members join to further their own photography and to embrace the challenge of working towards our world recognized Distinctions (LRPS, ARPS and FRPS) and Imaging Science Qualifications (QIS, GIS, AIS and ASIS).

By attending Society National, Regional and Group events, our members enjoy unparalleled opportunities to share knowledge, meet and learn from other photographers and to develop their photographic interests and skills.

Open International Print and Projected Image Exhibitions are held annually alongside an Audio Visual Festival and members’ exhibitions.

The Royal Photographic Society is well respected for its outstanding achievement in Education. Although the majority of its work focuses on supporting and organising practical workshop and lectures it also organises community projects and work in schools and colleges.

Our internationally renowned Awards are presented annually, recognising the highest achievements in all fields of photography - Albert Watson HonFRPS and Annie Liebovitz HonFRPS being recent Centenary Medal recipients.

The Society has a long and proud History, established as The Photographic Society in 1853 in the pioneering days of photography, it became Royal by decree in 1894 and in 2004 it was presented with a Royal Charter. The Society’s Collection of priceless photographs and historical items is now housed at the National Media Museum, for the Nation.

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