One of the things I love  about our Texas Photography Workshops is that we are able to meet people from all walks of life and experiences. One of our class alumni has recently completed an amazing accomplishment and I wanted to share her experience to further inspire others in their photographic journey.

Marea Downey has traveled the world, camera in hand, striving to capture amazing images. She has a passion for teaching photography to youth and has spent many years as a portfolio assessor for the Photographic Society of America and judge for various camera clubs. Marea attended our Rodeo and Western Lifestyle Photography Workshop in 2020 to capture images to complete a  submission for the distinction of Associate with the Royal Photographic Society. Joe and I, recently met up with Marea to see her final project and hear more about the process.

“The distinction process is not a competition between individuals, but an award based on an individual’s portfolio. To be awarded a distinction one must submit a panel of images which is then judged by a group of assessors.  The images are assessed individually and also as a presentation image, as if it is an additional image.

There are 3 levels of distinction to pursue with the Royal Photographic Society. The first distinction (Licentiate) is a panel of 10 images, which do not require a theme. (Marea was awarded Licentiate several years ago.) The next one, Associates, needs 15 images, and a statement of intent must be submitted also.  Fellowship is the final level and requires 20 images. In each case, the panel has to be internally consistent with harmonious colors, and there is a need for images on the left to “look inwards” and the ones on the right to look in towards the center as well.  The layout of the images has to be laid out in a pleasing manner. The key point is that each image must support the statement of intent.

Doing the work for the Associates was hard for me because it was a stretch beyond my usual landscape comfort zone, but that is largely the point of making a submission.  No one would ever say this is easy.  The process of preparing the images for submission helps one to train one’s eye for what works or does not in an image when it is part of a whole panel. “…. Marea Downey

Take a look at the final submission, for which she was awarded the designation of Associate of the Royal Photographic Society:

 If you would like more information about the process of submission, here is a link to what she had to do for the Associates award:  https://rps.org/qualifications/arps/  The Photographic Society of America has a similar distinctions process.
To all of our students, we hope you all continue to follow your passions.  Thanks for sharing your story, Marea!

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