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THE DECISIVE MOMENT

Quarterly journal from the Documentary Group

January 2020 Edition 18

Photo: Lina Geoushy


Contents

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A Word From Our Chair

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The Documentary Group Team

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The Documentary Group Goals 2020-2021

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DPOTY 2019 Winner - Lina Geoushy - Breadwinners

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DPOTY 2019 Prize - A Day with Simon Roberts HonFRPS

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DPOTY 2019 Finalists

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Robert K Hughes LRPS - The Shoot

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Hil Van Der Waal ARPS - Camel Ardha

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A J Wood ARPS - Punters

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Paul Lanigan FRPS - Pairc Life

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Judging Process

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DPOTY 2019 Awards Event


DPOTY 2019 Shortlisted Entries

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Steve Reynolds ARPS - An illustration of the difficult

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Rachel Wallace ARPS - Nothing Gold Can Stay

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Chris Jennings ARPS - A Day At The Dogs

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Graham Land ARPS - Enterprising Croydon

manual labour working conditions in Bangladesh

102 Paul Sansome - The Last Generation

110 The Documentary Group Plans 2020-2021 112 Winner of the August 2019 Bi-Monthly Competition 114 Events 116 The Documentary Group Online 118 Winner of the October 2019 Bi-Monthly Competition

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A Word From Our Chair This is our first edition of 2020 which promises to be an interesting year in many ways. We kick off with a celebration of the ‘Best of 2019’ with our shortlisted, finalists and winner of Documentary Photographer of the Year. Congratulations to all our successful entrants. We celebrated their success at RPS HQ, with our Awards Event. I also have to say a big thank you to the judges: Steve Kingswell and Alys Tomlinson. Most of this edition is dedicated to the work of those shortlisted entries including insights about the projects. We already have exhibitions of DPOTY lined up in North Wales, South Wales and Newcastle and are planning some talks and opening events. We also hope to find locations in the Midlands and nearer London or Bristol to maximise the opportunity for people to see the work. This year was our biggest entry to date with many excellent entries. We had a lot of good work that did not quite make it to the shortlist, and in my view the most common reasons were - lack of a strong narrative, a lack of impact or engaging images, and some unnecessary repetition. What made the winning entries stand out was clear evidence of in-depth research, a real engagement with the subject and in developing a story, and of course excellent images! It was often so much more than just documenting an event on a day. In February, we are hosting our first Advisory Day for Associateship and Fellowship in Documentary Photography at RPS HQ. This will be a great opportunity to understand what is needed to succeed in the documentary distinctions. We plan to have more, later in the year, depending on interest and demand. We are also working on developing a new Workshop series dedicated to documentary. It is not focussed on distinctions, but on wider aspects of undertaking a documentary project. Having said that I am hoping it will provide insights to help people with their potential distinction panels. It is still very early days and we will update you in a future issue. I really hope we can develop something that helps throughout the

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entire lifecycle, from conception, through planning to execution, editing and final dissemination. We have summed up many of these ideas in a new Plan for 2020-2021 which is in this edition. We are also using this to engage RPS Regions and RPS staff with the intent of putting on more joint events. Finally, our newsletter. For now, we have decided to interrupt our routine newsletter service and review its design, content and objectives. The reason for doing this is a combination of the volunteer time taken to produce it and the apparent low engagement from our readers. I know some members have expressed disappointment. So, we plan to conduct a members’ survey and to look to revamping this in due course, but realistically we probably need some additional volunteer help to deliver a revamped Newsletter. So, if any of you have an interest and are willing, please let me know. We are still working to improve our RPS website content (and getting to grips with the new website itself) and our social media. So, keep an eye out for new postings over the coming weeks.

Mark A Phillips ARPS Chair, Documentary Group

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The Documentary Group Team Documentary Group Committee: Chair:

Mark A Phillips ARPS

doc@rps.org

Secretary:

David Barnes LRPS

docsecretary@rps.org

Treasurer:

Justin Cliffe ARPS

doctreasurer@rps.org

Members:

Harry Hall FRPS

Patricia Hilbert Dave Thorp Sub-Group Organisers: East Midlands:

Volunteer Required

docem@rps.org

South East:

Jeff Owen LRPS

docse@rps.org

Northern:

Peter Dixon ARPS

docnorthern@rps.org

Southern:

Christopher Morris ARPS docsouthern@rps.org

Thames Valley:

Philip Joyce ARPS

doctv@rps.org

East Anglia:

Malcolm English ARPS

docea@rps.org

Yorkshire:

Graham Evans LRPS

docyork@rps.org

The Decisive Moment: Editor: Dave Thorp decisive@rps.org Sub-Editors:

Dr Graham Wilson

Lyn Newton LRPS Editorial:

Steven Powell

Gerry Phillipson LRPS And the rest of the team: Bi-Monthly Competition Manager: Patricia Hilbert dgcompetitions@rps.org

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Social Media:

Patricia Hilbert

Flickr:

Chris Barbara ARPS

docweb@rps.org


The Documentary Group Goals for 2020 - 2021 Overall Objective To help support the RPS Strategic Plan and specifically increase the relevance of the RPS for Documentary Photography (especially for younger photographers) and engage wider audiences. We have decided to focus our goals under the three headings of promote, educate, and encourage:

Promote - the highest standards of achievement in photography These activities are focussed around showcasing and celebrating high quality photographic work and thinking, which is fundamental to the RPS’s purpose.

Educate - members of the public by increasing their knowledge and understanding of photography As an educational charity, it is important we continue to develop the range and reach of our educational work. We want to help photographers develop their practice, and also educate nonphotographers about what is current in documentary photography.

Encourage - the public appreciation of photography We want to engage with more people, including those who are not photographers, to appreciate the value of documentary photography so that it is enjoyed by as many people as possible. Full details of The Documentary Group Plans for 2020-2021 can be found on page 110-111.

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DPOTY 2019 - Winning Entry - Lina Geoushy

Documentary Photographer of the Year 2019 Lina Geoushy Breadwinners

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DPOTY 2019 - Winning Entry - Lina Geoushy

Mark Phillips announces Lina Geoushy as the Winner of DPOTY 2019 - Image: Graham Land ARPS

In a patriarchal society where men can expect to control their wives’ career choices and have a final say over all household matters, a woman may go out into the world, find a job as a housekeeper, earn money, and support her whole family. However, her power and status at home may not change at all, so she ends up carrying the burden, rather than the privilege of being the sole provider. ‘Breadwinners’ is a record of female housekeepers who are overlooked and relegated to the fringes of Egyptian society. In this personal project, I took a documentary and portrait approach to produce a series of portraits shedding light on and representing female housekeepers employed in homes in Cairo, Egypt. It is also a series of self-education and investigation into the impact of Egyptian culture and the prevailing power of patriarchy on these women’s lives.

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DPOTY 2019 - Winning Entry - Lina Geoushy


DPOTY 2019 - Winning Entry - Lina Geoushy


DPOTY 2019 - Winning Entry - Lina Geoushy


DPOTY 2019 - Winning Entry - Lina Geoushy


DPOTY 2019 - Winning Entry - Lina Geoushy


DPOTY 2019 - Winning Entry - Lina Geoushy

Lina Geoushy on ‘Breadwinners’ As an Egyptian woman and documentary photographer, I grew up seeing female housekeepers in the houses of friends and relatives. I always felt that they didn’t receive the status and rights that they deserved in their community and in Egyptian society as a whole. It was Alfonso Cuaron’s film, Roma, that was a catalyst for my project and was my lightbulb moment. The devotion of the main character, the family’s housekeeper Cleo, the class structure, and other themes in the film were echoes of events and people I have encountered in my hometown, Cairo. I think I am only driven to work on projects that I have an emotional connection with, so I follow an emotional approach. The next day I started the online research about the legal and social status of housekeepers. I started getting in touch with friends and acquaintances to fix me up with my collaborators and plan initial meetings in Cairo. The process was quite intuitive and smooth after meeting two collaborators. A lot of unexpected layers to the story emerged and that gave me the confidence to continue what I was doing. Almost all Egyptian housekeepers have never been photographed before, unless it was for an ID photo, so getting access and gaining their trust took time. Additionally, I had to get the consent of employers for interacting and doing the shoots during the housekeepers’ working hours. Some of the housekeepers who initially wanted to take part, refused to collaborate later on, in fear that the man in their family would object to them being photographed. I had to accept and respect their choices of course. My DPOTY entry is part of an ongoing long term project in which I strive to initiate/ stir up a conversation about how Egyptian society perceives, treats, and rewards these dignified female housekeepers in Cairo. It aims to be a catalyst for social and legal change. It aims to prompt viewers to reconsider their perceptions and behaviours towards these women and the work they do in their communities. I am an Egyptian social documentary and portrait photographer based in London. My portraiture is about real people and real places. While studying photography at London College of Communication, I started combining my experience in communication and psychology with my passion for telling stories that deconstruct and question the public’s perception of the prevailing power of patriarchy. I believe as a photographer and storyteller, that my role is to connect with my collaborators and provide an intimate and enticing visual invite to the viewer.


DPOTY 2019 - Prizes

A Day with Simon Roberts HonFRPS The top prize in the Documentary Photographer of the Year 2019 competition is a day with Simon Roberts HonFRPS and is an opportunity for the winner, Lina Geoushy, to work with him on an aspect of her photographic practice. Simon Roberts is a British artist-photographer whose work deals with notions of identity and belonging and our relationship to the landscape. He has published and exhibited widely, and his photographs reside in major public and private collections such as the Deutsche Bรถrse Art Collection, George Eastman House and the V&A. In 2010, he was commissioned as the official British Election Artist, by the House of Commons Works of Art Committee, to produce a record of the General Election on behalf of the UK Parliamentary Art Collection; and in 2013 was made anโ€ฏHonorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society. His recent published work includes We English, Merrie Albion exploring events in Britain over the last decade, and Green Lungs of the City, exploring urban green spaces. He was interviewed in the December 2018 edition of The Decisive Moment. All five finalists were presented with a copy of Documentary Photography Reconsidered. Documentary photography is undergoing an unprecedented transformation as it adapts to the impact of digital technology, social media and new distribution methods. In this book, photographer and educator Michelle Bogre contextualizes these changes by offering a historical, theoretical and practical perspective on documentary photography from its inception to the present day.

Simon Roberts - from the project Merrie Albion 22


DPOTY 2021

Feeling Inspired? Documentary Photographer of the Year 2021 Check out the website for project advice and information www.rpsdpoty.com

Contact: dpoty@rps.org 23


DPOTY 2019 - Finalists

DPOTY 2019 Robert K Hughes LRPS

A J Wood ARPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Finalists

Finalists Hil Van Der Waal ARPS

Paul Lanigan FRPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Finalist - Robert K Hughes LRPS

The Shoot Robert K Hughes LRPS This is a picture story of a Pheasant Shoot from the hatching to the actual shoot. These images are taken from a wider selection which has been produced as a Blurb book for the shoot Syndicate.

This project stems from a photo story about the closure of the Abergavenny Livestock Market which evolved into a book. I realised that other stories needed to be told about the rural community in which I live. To that end I started taking pictures of rural pursuits and so on, and this set of images is part of that process. This wider project which will culminate in my next book, hopefully to be published next spring by “Country Books�. The photos in this project could easily be misconstrued, but I feel the rural community needs to have a voice. Through my photography, I hope to show exactly what goes on in the broader countryside. My aim is to show the rural communities in a sympathetic light without being political. The most challenging aspect of this set of images was the weather; some days were particularly dull. It is often hard to get close enough to the subject to make an impact. This set of pictures was taken over a two-year period and the project continues to evolve. I tend to research other photographers in the same genre particularly Chris Chapman and the late James Ravilious. This gives me the inspiration to go out and capture what is going on in the rural environment. I edit my pictures in Lightroom and Silver Efex as all my images are in monochrome. Photography has always been my main hobby, but I have only really taken it seriously over the last ten years. I have always had a love of the countryside and it is fitting that I now live in a county where I can record rural life. My equipment of choice is a Leica M with a small range of lenses so that I can travel light and not look too imposing. Over the last six years, I have built up a good rapport with the farming community and am in the process of putting together a second book on Rural Life in and around Raglan, Monmouthshire. While this is currently my main project, I have also started another recording a year in the life of the local estate, of which the pictures for this competition form a part. Like all these projects, they need a lot of patience and time which could well be protracted due to the weather and other factors. 26


DPOTY 2019 - Finalist - Robert K Hughes LRPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Finalist - Robert K Hughes LRPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Finalist - Robert K Hughes LRPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Finalist - Robert K Hughes LRPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Finalist - Robert K Hughes LRPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Finalist - Robert K Hughes LRPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Finalist - Robert K Hughes LRPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Finalist - Robert K Hughes LRPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Finalist - Robert K Hughes LRPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Finalist - Hil Van Der Waal ARPS

Camel Ardha A camel showcasing event in Oman Hil Van Der Waal ARPS The Camel Ardha is a frequent event in the Sultanate of Oman, a peaceful country in the Middle-East. The tribal communities, mostly Bedouins, meet regularly, bringing their camels to participate in this particular race over several days. The tradition goes back centuries. The main purpose of Ardha is to showcase the beauty and strength of the Arabian camel, riding them side by side in a straight track. However, these camels don’t race but instead, the main goal is for them to run as a pair, perfectly in tandem, thus demonstrating their obedience and control by the riders. In this fast changing modern country, the Omani Government encourages that this old tradition is retained and such events held regularly, offering large prizes to the winners. This Omani tradition has recently been added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List.

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DPOTY 2019 - Finalist - Hil Van Der Waal ARPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Finalist - Hil Van Der Waal ARPS

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DPOTY 2019- Finalist - Hil Van Der Waal ARPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Finalist - Hil Van Der Waal ARPS

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DPOTY 2019- Finalist - Hil Van Der Waal ARPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Finalist - Hil Van Der Waal ARPS

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DPOTY 2019- Finalist - Hil Van Der Waal ARPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Finalist - Hil Van Der Waal ARPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Finalist - Hil Van Der Waal ARPS

Privileged to live in the Sultanate of Oman for more than six years, I discovered this yearly multiday event, Camel Ardha, that captivated me from the first moment I witnessed it. I knew immediately this was something unique and versatile, and I realised that it would take me several return visits to understand what was going on, to visualise the various aspects, and to really immerse myself. I had seen a few single photographs of Camel Ardha before, but as far as I know, there is no extended imagery on the subject. Last year I exhibited my images and was the first photographer to have brought this tradition to many Omanis from the capital who had not seen it before. I’ve been working on this project for almost four years. The first four day event that I attended was in February 2016. I returned every year, most recently in November 2019. The six images I submitted for the DPOTY are part of a series of some 40 to 50 photographs that tell the story of the tradition of Camel Ardha in various details, zoomed in and out. It was literally challenging being close, and I mean very close, to the action of riders and camels. I was allowed to make my shots where and how I wanted, choosing interesting points of view, provided I didn’t get in the way of anyone, of course. I always had eyes in front and back to monitor what happened around me. A camel can be unpredictable, and on several occasions, I had to run to avoid a collision with this dangerously heavy animal. I want to pass on the message that old traditions can still be alive and are important for people in this world. They connect people and encourage respect for each other’s ancient cultures. Among them are the Bedouins who have a high regard for and owe a lot to the camel, dating from the time they lived a nomadic life. Camel Ardha was recently added to UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. It is good to know that an organisation such as UNESCO deals with the protection of vulnerable cultures. Last but not least, I hope that people in the West become acquainted with the most friendly people of a peaceful Arab country, the Sultanate of Oman. Depending on the country I live in (I’ve been living abroad for the last 20 years, due to the international career of my wife), I focus on the subjects that are most appealing to me. I try to find an angle or a statement that makes it attractive to repeatedly go back to places. I have a weakness for vanishing cultures. I read what’s available on my subject. I approach people. I check dates of events. I set my alarm clock and set off, day after day. Each day I check my shots to see if I have to improve some aspects of my story. Next day I go on. For this project, on the tradition of Camel Ardha, I decided to show the story in a rich black and white, just to be able to focus better on the essence of the image. It helped that the white dishdashes worn by the men form a nice contrast in these black and white images. I am Dutch-born (1959), currently living between the Sultanate of Oman, The Netherlands and France. I gained my Associate distinction in 2011 and am also a member of the Photographic Society of Oman. I have travelled a lot and lived in various countries of the world. This has given me the opportunity to immerse myself in communities like semi-nomadic tribal life in remote Borneo, Bedouins in Oman’s desert, Buddhist temple life in North-East Thailand, family life behind the walls of a traditional Moroccan village, small scale farm life in Scotland, street life and labourers in mega cities in India, or aboard a wooden dhow with Iranian seafarers in Dubai’s Creek. I am a keen landscape and street photographer using both digital, and medium format analogue. I organise photo workshops for beginners and advanced photographers in the French Dordogne.

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DPOTY 2019 - Finalist - A J Wood ARPS

Punters A J Wood ARPS What makes going round the racecourses of the UK so interesting is the people who attend race meetings: the punters. It is a subsection of British society that is difficult to define: men and women, old and young, from different social backgrounds and walks of life. To my way of thinking what they have in common is an entrepreneurial spirit: they study ‘The Racing Post’, the race card and of course their smartphones, looking for opportunities that others might have missed, trying to pick a winner. Of all the tribes in Britain, which is surely one of the most tribal places in the world, racegoers are a different breed.

I’ve been photographing full time for seven or eight years now and photographing people is what I love to do best, especially the people who live in Britain, which is why I started this project: a book or a series of photozines on racegoers. The first photozine, entitled ‘Punters’ was published in October 2019. These photos document the people who attend the racecourses every day in this country. I have been engaged in this project for about a year and I am going to produce a book when it is finished which contains at least one photo from every racecourse in mainland Britain. The most challenging aspect of the project has been the weather. As an outdoors activity, racing is subject to the vagaries of the British weather which can ruin a day’s shooting. Race meetings are sometimes cancelled at short notice. When I start a new project, I typically look for large gatherings of people to photograph. As I go along, I develop ways of shooting and interacting with people and make mental lists of the types of images that I want. Before long I begin to develop theories about what sort of stories the images are telling and this influences the sort of pictures I make. The editing stage usually only involves conversion to black and white. Occasionally a small crop is necessary but as I only shoot with a 28mm prime lens and want all the images to have a similar feel, I try to avoid this as much as possible.

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DPOTY 2019 - Finalist - A J Wood ARPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Finalist - A J Wood ARPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Finalist - A J Wood ARPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Finalist - A J Wood ARPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Finalist - A J Wood ARPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Finalist - A J Wood ARPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Finalist - A J Wood ARPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Finalist - A J Wood ARPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Finalist - A J Wood ARPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Finalist - Paul Lanigan FRPS

Pairc Life Paul Lanigan FRPS Hurling is an Irish field game that is older than the recorded history of Ireland. It is thought to predate Christianity, having come to Ireland with the Celts. It is also widely regarded to be the fastest most skilful field game in the world. The Celtic legal system, the Brehon Laws, provided for compensation for hurling accidents and provisions were also made for cases of deliberate injury, or even death, as a result of Hurling. The game was outlawed in the 12th century after the occupation by the Normans. It survives today as a 100% amateur sport where traditional values of honesty of effort and sportsmanship form a symbiotic connection with fans. Players only line out for the ‘County’ they were raised in. Playing for your ‘County’ is regarded as the pinnacle of sporting achievement.

My project, Pairc Life, started out as a Fellowship panel. I wanted to capture the essence of Hurling, a uniquely Irish sport. Even after the success of my panel in 2018 I still wasn’t satisfied that I was telling the story that I wanted to tell. In my Fellowship panel, you get a sense of what the game is about, but the game for me is far more significant than what happens during 70 minutes of action. The game of hurling is deeply embedded in (especially rural) Irish culture. It’s part of our identity. So I wanted to explore the game and associated rituals from the fans’ perspective. There is a natural symbiotic relationship between players and fans. As an amateur sport, players are all ordinary members of the community (teachers, soldiers, salesmen, bank clerks, etc.). When their playing days are over, they blend back into the crowd, so taking a fan’s perspective seemed like a natural place to start. That’s the larger project and will comprise of 40 images. My DPOTY submission is an extract from this project. I wanted to maintain a tight narrative, so I choose 6 images designed to pique the interest of those unfamiliar with the game, or fans used to only seeing a series of peak action shots in their newspaper or sports feed. By doing so I hope they will want to explore and engage with the larger project. The hardest part of telling any story is putting your own ego to one side and walking in the shoes of the viewers in order to see the story from their perspective. We shoot for our pleasure, but we must tell the story for the pleasure of the audience.

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DPOTY 2019 - Finalist - Paul Lanigan FRPS

Deciding what to exclude is a challenge. The temptation is to include the ‘best’ shots or those shots that, as a fan and photographer, you are emotionally attached to. The story must trump the ego. I started shooting for the project in the summer of 2014, but only from the stands, having no sideline pass. In addition, the Hurling season is short. Perhaps eight games in total. It wasn’t until 2016 that I had any sense of what I was looking for. In 2019 I decided to change the scope of the project and I plan to have a book ready for publishing in mid-2020. My usual way of working is to have a ‘that would make a great project’ thought triggered by some experience. For example, I was in London recently, making my way from my hotel to where I was working, and I noticed how zombie like everyone was. Nobody was paying any attention to what was going on around them. I remember thinking that the ‘commuter experience’ is a rather interesting one. So I am now working on a project that tells the story of the commuter experience from my own, rather biased, perspective. My journey into photography is very familiar. I was interested in photography as a teenager. I did a bit of everything (including my brother’s wedding) but completely lacked direction. Then college, career and family took over and before I knew it 25 years had passed. In 2009, I was heading to the US for an extended holiday and the time seemed right to invest in a DSLR. I was hooked. I currently have a backlog of documentary projects that will keep me busy for the foreseeable future. 57


DPOTY 2019 - Finalist - Paul Lanigan FRPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Finalist - Paul Lanigan FRPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Finalist - Paul Lanigan FRPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Finalist - Paul Lanigan FRPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Finalist - Paul Lanigan FRPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Finalist - Paul Lanigan FRPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Finalist - Paul Lanigan FRPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Finalist - Paul Lanigan FRPS

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The Judging Process

The Judging Process Mark Phillips APRS Anyone entering a competition, even a free one like the DPOTY, would like to think the judging process is fair. Few competitions provide any real insight into how judging is undertaken. To improve transparency and provide more awareness, we have outlined the process used when selecting DPOTY winners. The rules, in terms of entry requirements, were publicised and part of the submission process. Anyone not meeting these rules (e.g. not using the file naming convention or submitting the wrong number of images) was initially rejected and provided with an explanation and opportunity to re-submit. All the entries were downloaded from the printspace hub website and put into a shared Dropbox, allowing all three judges access to the images to conduct their initial review in their own time. Unfortunately, there were some delays in the process caused by availability and technical issues when accessing the images. The actual judging was conducted by the three judges independently and ‘blind’, so that the names of the photographers were not known. The judges only had the images, the sequence, and the photographer’s statement to review. Initial judging was against three criteria: • Intent and Narrative (did the images address the intent and provide a relevant narrative). • Engagement and Impact (did the images engage the viewer and provide impact, visually or emotionally). • Technical and Production (were the images well produced, in focus where necessary, and processed sympathetically with the intent).

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The Judging Process

Using this criteria, all competition entries were marked from one to three in each category, giving a maximum potential score of nine. From each judge, their highest scoring entries (typically around eight to ten) were selected for further review. The judges then held a series of reviews (via Skype) to work towards a final shortlist. Initially entries which were selected by all three judges were included, being considered as shortlisted and potential finalists. Those selected by two judges were then reviewed. Finally, those selected by only one judge were discussed in order to understand that judge’s view, and then considered for shortlisting. Factors that influenced selection included the original judging criteria, considered now in more depth. Focus was given to factors like: whether the subject had been addressed in a way consistent with the statement; whether the image sequencing really worked; whether there were repetitious images or images that did not seem to add to the narrative; whether there were technical issues, like focus and framing or over-processing. The process helped develop a rough shortlist of around fifteen entries. The judges then met in person to review projected images of all potential shortlisted entries All fifteen were reviewed again, but the focus now was to re-consider the narrative. There was discussion on the extent to which there was evidence of research and a considered body of work, rather than just an opportunistic set of images. The other key factors were whether the series had impact and offered something a little different or interesting which helped differentiate it from other entries. During this meeting, ten shortlisted entries were selected, from which the five finalists were agreed as those having the strongest and most coherent sets. Finally, one overall winner was chosen, unanimously.

Judges: Alys Tomlinson - an award-winning editorial and fine art photographer based in London. Alys was named Sony World Photography Awards, Photographer of the Year 2018 and Winner of the Public Prize, Rencontres d’Arles, Discovery Award 2019. Steve Kingswell - a photographer and photography judge. Steve has judged the DPOTY on previous occasions and has exhibited internationally. Mark Phillips - is Chair of the Documentary Group in the RPS and a documentary photographer, with work published in the Independent newspaper and various magazines.

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DPOTY 2019 Awards Event

In January 2020 the Royal Photographic Society hosted the Documentary Photographer of the Year 2019 awards event at RPS HQ, Bristol. The shortlisted entries had been announced in November 2019 and all had been invited to the event where the five finalists and the overall winner were to be announced. The afternoon opened with a few words of welcome from the Documentary Group Chair, Mark Phillips, followed by a drinks reception in the foyer where all images from the ten shortlisted entries were being displayed on the main screen. The doors to the auditorium were opened to reveal the printed images from the five finalists. The attendees took their seats for the presentation of certificates to the shortlisted entrants, and the finalists (who also received a copy of Michelle Borge’s book Documentary Photography Reconsidered). Mark Phillips then announced Lina Geoushy as the overall winner. Mark and fellow judge Steve Kingswell discussed the judging process and the competition in more detail before bringing the formal part of the event to a close. Mark, Steve and Peter Haynes FRPS (Chair, Royal Photographic Society Distinctions Committee) were on hand to discuss the projects in more detail.

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Documentary Group Chair and Judge Mark Phillips

Graham Land ARPS

Rachel Wallace ARPS

DPOTY Judge Steve Kingswell

Steve Reynolds ARPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Shortlist - Steve Reynolds ARPS

Steve Reynolds ARPS An illustration of the difficult manual labour working conditions in Bangladesh Child labour in Bangladesh is common, with 4.8 million or 12.6% of children aged 5 to 14 in the work force. Furthermore, an Overseas Development Institute survey found that 15% of six- to 14-year-olds living in poorest households work an average of 64 hours a week. Moreover, manual labour working conditions in a number of industries across Bangladesh are difficult and have very little safety procedures in place. And not just in the garment industries, but in other workplaces too, such as quarries, shipbuilding and heavy industry. This project focuses on the latter from the back streets of Dhaka, a tries to capture a sense of what working life is like for both young and old in this local, back street, factory.

On previous trips to India, doing street and festival photography, I’d seen the harsh conditions that people live in and endure. I had also seen Steve McCurry’s photographs of Bangladesh. So, when a trip with other photographers was advertised, I jumped at the opportunity. Most of my work has involved photographing people, whether portraits, travel and more recently documentary, so it was an ideal location for me. In the future, I would like to do more documentary work and photojournalism, and have recently joined the ‘Photographers Without Borders’ network, but this isn’t part of a larger project for me. The main message of this project is for viewers to see what is happening regarding adult and child labour in South East Asia (and probably other countries too). I know cultures can vary considerably but surely in the 21st century children, especially, should be spared these harsh conditions? The photographs I took near the shipyards show conditions that are also typical of the stone quarries and rubbish tips, where young children (maybe 4 or 5 years old) were working all day. There are no safety procedures and it felt like travelling back in time to Britain during the Industrial Revolution. 70


DPOTY 2019 - Shortlist - Steve Reynolds ARPS

The most challenging aspect of the project was simply witnessing the harsh conditions while retaining focus and making sure that I captured something of the essence of the place to give a clear narrative for viewers. I made several trips over a two-week period but would like to go back and take longer as I am sure there are many more stories to tell. I started travelling abroad from 2007 and typically initially visit a country, such as Morocco or Cuba, with a tour operator and then go back on my own the following year. As a Psychologist, my professional interest is in people, which is often mirrored in my photography, including portraiture, travel and documentary work. I am a member of Torbay Photographic Society and hold the Fellowship of the Irish Photographic Federation (FIPF), Associateship of the RPS (ARPS), the Gold Excellence Distinction with FIAP (EFIAP/g) and the Excellence Distinction with the PSA (EPSA). I am also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS). I now live in Torquay. I finished third in the RPS Documentary Photographer of the Year 2017 with a series of festival images taken in India at Sonepur. I also have a website at www.steverimages.com.

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DPOTY 2019 - Shortlist - Steve Reynolds ARPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Shortlist - Steve Reynolds ARPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Shortlist - Steve Reynolds ARPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Shortlist - Steve Reynolds ARPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Shortlist - Steve Reynolds ARPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Shortlist - Steve Reynolds ARPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Shortlist - Rachel Wallace ARPS

Rachel Wallace ARPS Nothing Gold Can Stay

One year to the day after my mother died and not knowing how or whether to mark it I decided to photograph all the small items I had taken when clearing her house. These held no value or meaning to anyone other than myself and during the year since her death I had placed them, or put them away and forgotten them, or used them. It was comforting to seek and find them and see where they had now ended up - from her home to mine. Six months earlier on a trip to Scotland I found myself photographing dark skies and deep water and I realised that they symbolised my emotions of darkness, isolation and emptiness while at the same time calming and comforting me – smoothing over my wounds. Placing the two projects together became an outlet for my grief and a documentation of a journey to recovery.

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DPOTY 2019 - Shortlist - Rachel Wallace ARPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Shortlist - Rachel Wallace ARPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Shortlist - Rachel Wallace ARPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Shortlist - Rachel Wallace ARPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Shortlist - Rachel Wallace ARPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Shortlist - Rachel Wallace ARPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Shortlist - Rachel Wallace ARPS

The first anniversary of my mother’s death motivated me to make this project. It’s not a day one wants to acknowledge, but neither is it a day to ignore. I use photography as a way of expressing myself and so to make photographic work on this day was natural for me, and a comfort. The project was undertaken over a period of 6 months. It began with images expressing my feelings of grief, taken on a trip to Scotland after my mother’s death, and was completed with the photographs I took on the first anniversary in March 2019. The most challenging part of the project was editing the images to make the two different locations work together and speak. One shoot contains specific objects in an interior setting while the other is of minimal exterior landscapes. In the final work I have paired the images – landscape with object, to make a flowing narrative. Post production, editing, and reviewing took an additional 6 months. I hope that from this work viewers will see a way of understanding and managing the inevitable. This is one way, and my way, but it may also be something that helps or inspires others who grieve. My DPOTY entry is part of a larger project. There are 32 photos in this body of work which I am making into a book and later an exhibition. Perhaps I will exhibit the completed, printed work on the next anniversary. Generally I photograph as a visceral and instinctive response to something in the first instance, and then progress my ideas and thinking from there with reading, discussion and research on and around the subject. I make notes, written and visual, and do a lot of walking and contemplation. All visual art such as painting, sculpture, cinema and photography, influences and inspires me. Poetry is important to me and a line or phrase will often be all I need to spark something within my work. The title of my DPOTY work “Nothing gold can stay” comes from Robert Frost’s poem on impermanence. Occasionally there will be false starts before getting properly underway. Once I have started shooting, I make small prints and play with these as part of the editing process. Sometimes I put the work away and work on something else before coming back to it for another look and edit. One has to be careful not to overthink, however. My background as a photographer is hugely varied having started at a young age in my father’s homemade darkroom and been obsessively photographing ever since. I feel fortunate that I have an analogue background and can work with whatever camera feels appropriate for the job, whether film or digital, 35mm, medium or large format. I was self-taught until I started a City and Guilds course around 1998 and later achieved a Licentiateship with the RPS by exemption. I went on to gain an Associateship and then attended Central St Martins, gaining a postgraduate certificate in photography in 2009. I am also a funeral photographer, having started this now growing trend in 2008. Last year I completed a Photography MA, with modules in art and documentary photography, at the University of Westminster. My main (but not exclusive) themes are life, death, self and the natural world and I currently have work showing in the Society’s Hundred Heroines exhibition touring the country.

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DPOTY 2019 - Shortlist - Chris Jennings ARPS

Chris Jennings ARPS A Day At The Dogs On Wednesday afternoons a small crowd of enthusiasts gather in the stand of the Brighton and Hove Greyhound Racing Track. They are mostly ladies of a certain age, enjoying a lunch of sausages or gammon and chips, then a cup of tea. They have modest flutters and watch the dogs through big windows. A few more serious betters sit in the stand below and queue at the cashier’s window.

Although I am usually working on several long-term projects, this was executed on the spur of the moment in a single day. I had no particular photographic motivation beyond looking for possible subjects and themes. Concentrating on documenting what I saw, I tried to take different viewpoints: the dogs and their handlers; the gamblers and the bookies; the ladies in groups who have come for lunch and an afternoon flutter. I envisaged a set of seven or so, visually interesting documentary images. I now see how it could form part of a larger social documentary project, perhaps about midweek leisure pursuits, gambling and animals, or disappearing track sports. Perhaps I will develop one of these in the new year. The actual shooting is always challenging, but it is also the most stimulating part of a project; giving me a buzz out of interacting with the people I photograph. Encounters are often fleeting, but I must show a subject’s particularity somehow; I want to see and portray something insightful. I am not sure that I undertake projects, it is more that they overtake me (or take me over). They begin as an accidental set of images on a theme that interests me. At first, I don’t have an angle, or even a purpose, but then one day I discover that I am developing a coherent set of images that do have something worth showing. Then I go into my project mode, channelling insights from single images into a clear intention, and shooting accordingly. I am a bit uneasy with categories; photography people whose opinions I trust have variously described me as: a street photographer; a portrait photographer; a street (or environmental) portrait photographer; a documentary photographer. I call myself a ‘people photographer’. My most successful projects have been of elderly Aymara Indians in Bolivia; markets and the people of markets; the scavengers that live on the rubbish dumps on Central America. The last two have been shown in The Decisive Moment. I am not a professional photographer, though I have had photographs published in specialist journals, including those of international development banks. I have had my photographs accepted for group exhibitions and had my own exhibition which showed in Tegucigalpa, Honduras and a venue just outside Washington DC, USA. 86


DPOTY 2019 - Shortlist - Chris Jennings ARPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Shortlist - Chris Jennings ARPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Shortlist - Chris Jennings ARPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Shortlist - Chris Jennings ARPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Shortlist - Chris Jennings ARPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Shortlist - Chris Jennings ARPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Shortlist - Chris Jennings ARPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Shortlist - Graham Land ARPS

Graham Land ARPS Enterprising Croydon

This project documents through photography, video and interview a selection of shopkeepers whose premises are close to the main retail high street-road that runs NorthSouth through the centre of Croydon. The aim is to document various enterprising shops that reflect the diversity of Croydon, a town that has one of the largest retail shopping areas outside central London. Approaches varied from the iconic traditional; for instance the photographic shop set up in the 1960’s by Reg and the pie, mash and liquor restaurant of Max. Some had more diverse approaches, such as the mixed hairdressing-African fabric business of Sophia and the mixed hairdressing-art gallery business of Kish. Others cater for more than local trade, such as the audio equipment repair conducted by Alfonso or the flute/music sheet business of Jonathan. This project was instigated last year for a successfully completed course of study for an MA in photography with Falmouth University.

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DPOTY 2019 - Shortlist - Graham Land ARPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Shortlist - Graham Land ARPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Shortlist - Graham Land ARPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Shortlist - Graham Land ARPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Shortlist - Graham Land ARPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Shortlist - Graham Land ARPS

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DPOTY 2019 - Shortlist - Graham Land ARPS

My DPOTY submission is taken from ‘Enterprising Croydon’, an environmental portraiture project. I embarked on it half-way through my studies for an MA in Photography with Falmouth University, a web-based distance-learning course. It became my ‘Final Major Project’ (FMP) and includes photography, videography and interviews involving fourteen Croydon retail enterprises. I graduated in May this year, but the project is still ongoing. It was inspired by a visit, in February 2018, to a local photography supply shop in Croydon High Street to buy film supplies. The cluttered shop looked barely changed from the 1960s. I took a few pictures of the octogenarian founder, Reg Roach, surrounded by his assemblage of old film cameras and accessories, to send to a friend. The image of him in his very distinctive shop nagged at me and led me to consider an environmental portraiture project on this and similarly distinctive shops in Croydon. Initial findings led me to restrict my area geographically to the retail-centred road that has always run North-South through central Croydon. After making several traverses of this route I decided there would be a sufficient number to make the project viable, and two months after those shots of Reg I started in earnest. Initially my aim was simply to portray, through imagery, the character of the people themselves and the retail environment they’ve created. As the project matured, I also tried to provide an illustration to viewers of the diversity of the community these retailers served. I wanted to show some insight into their personalities and the entrepreneurial flair that makes their establishments stand out from their competitors. The work was undertaken over twelve months in two spurts. The first effort took place over five months, resulting in an exhibition in September 2018. The second phase was for my FMP and was conducted in less than three months, resulting in a two week solo exhibition in April 2019. This exhibition was one of the most challenging aspects involving combining photographs, video, auditory material and local history. I don’t feel April’s exhibition integrated the material as well as it could, particularly the interviews. Room for improvement. My usual way of working involves noting down ideas as they come to me, although only a few ever make it to a formal project. I have a number of projects in a research phase, where I delve into the likely time and resource needs and viability whilst accumulating associated imagery. The planning takes place when I’ve made the decision for the project to go forward. Editing and post-production is very much an ongoing process, with exhibition or publication dates being a major spur. While I have a number running concurrently, I generally focus activity on just one formal project. I hail from South Yorkshire but have lived and worked in South London all my working life. I fell in love with photography while studying at Huddersfield Polytechnic and doing work experience in Liverpool. After taking up my first job at a research centre in South London I scrimped up money for a new East German SLR with a 50mm lens. For a few years I was very active, spending many hours in the work club’s darkroom, but gradually other things took precedence. After a varied career in research bioanalysis, management, business consultancy and data-analytics, photography has returned to the forefront. Moving to digital in 2013 brought back my passion and led to me join the RPS and qualify as a Licentiate. Since then I’ve made photography a full-time occupation, assisting my understanding by studying for an MA in Photography. I was awarded Associate membership on the basis of my MA in July this year. I get my greatest buzz photographing people. Initially this was largely candid street photography but now the majority of my activity is associated with various forms of portraiture, particularly fashion, cultural and political events. I’ve had a number of commissions ranging from photographing hats to ambassadorial parties. Accredited to photograph at various events, including London Fashion Week, I’m now an active freelance photographer. I largely shoot in digital, Nikon full-frame or Fuji half-frame, but last year I acquired a medium format film camera (6x6cm) for my ‘Enterprising Croydon’ project. It slowed me down, overcoming a tendency to rush, and improved my compositional skills as a consequence. This approach led me to buy a second-hand large format (5”x4”) film camera to use in my project work and to shoot video with a Fuji camera on a stabilised rig, a practice that is now in my commercial portfolio. 101


DPOTY 2019 - Shortlist - Paul Sansome

Paul Sansome The Last Generation

I was nervous before my first meeting with the ring-necked women of the Kayan women in Kayah State, Myanmar. I did not want to encounter a “human zoo” that characterises their exploitative treatment in Thailand. However, without realising it, I had an ace up my sleeve in the shape of my outstanding local guide who turned out to be related to these women. Visiting his great aunt, 72 year old Mu Min, was particularly rewarding as she had rarely been subjected to photographers and my visit gathered quite a crowd of family and neighbours! I hope that these few photographs reveal something of these women’s strong, feisty character. Incredibly, I was so concentrating on depicting their personalities that the rings became almost completely secondary. Also, my choice of using black and white was because I found the rings more distracting in colour. These three women are all widows but lived within a close community and extended family. It was a privilege to meet them.

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DPOTY 2019 - Shortlist - Paul Sansome

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DPOTY 2019 - Shortlist - Paul Sansome

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DPOTY 2019 - Shortlist - Paul Sansome

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DPOTY 2019 - Shortlist - Paul Sansome

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DPOTY 2019 - Shortlist - Paul Sansome

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DPOTY 2019 - Shortlist - Paul Sansome

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DPOTY 2019 - Shortlist - Paul Sansome

A photography visit to the Kayan villages in Myanmar is touched by several ethical issues. Above all, there is the concern not to treat the neck-ring wearing women as freaks. The wearing of rings is a cultural heritage and as such should be documented. The women start wearing the rings as children and as they grow more rings are added. A full set of rings might weigh 10kg. Based on my conversations with the women I do not believe it should be considered as a coercive practice, although the initial wearing of the rings starts with girls as young as 6 years old. The rings are worn to enhance beauty. However, the practice leads to health issues and, to my understanding, is not part of the new generation’s lifestyle. Girls will be seen wearing rings at roadside tourist shops. However, these are a clip-on version that are not worn all day with the consequent collar bone deformation. The Kayan people have been subjected to oppression within their region which has led to many of the tribespeople fleeing into neighbouring Thailand. Here, there is a much more serious issue of the women being treated as a human freak show for mass tourism, along with being denied rights of freedom to travel and citizenship. However, this was not what I saw in Myanmar. There is no doubt that my positive experience was the direct result of having a male guide who was from this community, and able to introduce me to several of his aunts and great aunts. Not only that, but he could engage the women in friendly conversation which led to the relaxed nature of the portraiture. The images in this submission show various emotions experienced by one of the ladies. However, I spent much more time in the area meeting several of the women and documenting the community in a larger photography project. My overriding response to the visit was that it was an uplifting experience to have met some very engaging individuals. Most surprising of all with my photography was that the neck-rings (and further rings worn on wrists and knees) became secondary. The women were great expressive characters, and I really want this to be the impression that I give to the viewer. I was concentrating on the glint in the eye, the beaming smile or, perhaps, the everyday signs of tiredness such that the rings were not the real message in the images. On first meeting any of the women, I did not reach for the camera. It was important to me to have some conversation with them rather than expose them to a model shoot experience. Then as they enjoyed their conversation with my guide I could focus on capturing their emotions. Initially my photography was mainly based on landscapes and, when fortunate, some wildlife. However, in recent years my passion has really been for travel, and within that genre, depicting the lives and personalities of people. I travel widely and this visit was similar to many that I have made. My preference is to travel to less-visited rural communities. I enjoy the encounters with people who are equally excited to be meeting someone from a different background too. It might be a surprise to many but the camera is a great tool for engaging with people with whom we have no common language. The image taking and sharing the results on the back of the camera has lead to many priceless encounters. Indeed, I have taken hundreds of images just for this purpose. Having been a professional photographer since 2003, and arranging and leading small group photography tours for 15 years, it is very important for me to work with operators who understand that I do not want what they are used to providing for tourists; I am looking for flexible travel plans, generally away from normal tourist destinations.

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The Documentary Group Plans for 2020 - 2021 Overall objective To help support the RPS Strategic Plan and specifically increase the relevance of the RPS for Documentary Photography (especially for younger photographers) and engage wider audiences. We have decided to focus our goals under the three headings of promote, educate, and encourage:

Promote - the highest standards of achievement in photography. These activities are focussed around showcasing and celebrating high quality photographic work and thinking, which is fundamental to the RPS’s purpose: Continue to develop our magazine The Decisive Moment (DM), currently published quarterly and on-line (via Issuu), with themed approach and ca. 120-130 pages to enable high quality documentary projects to be given sufficient ‘space’. Push DM distribution and readership outside the RPS to increase visibility and relevance. Target: 20% external readership increase. Consider ad hoc hard copy editions (e.g. to support DPOTY 2019 Exhibitions). Documentary Photographer of the Year (DPOTY) – current 2019 competition in progress. Finalist and Winners event 11 January 2020, at RPS HQ, and in 2020 hold series of regional exhibitions (Target: 4 exhibitions), to enable the DPOTY to reach a wider audience. For 2021 conduct a feasibility study on potential to take DPOTY to an ‘open competition’ (with RPS, Open and Under 35 categories, ca 10-20 images per project, low entry fee and concessions). Distinction Advisory – work with Distinctions to host a number of documentary-focussed Advisory days (first planned 22 Feb 2020 at RPS HQ). Work with Distinctions to develop advice and supportive articles (in DM) for documentary projects.

Educate - members of the public by increasing their knowledge and understanding of photography. As an educational charity, it is important we continue to develop the range and reach of our educational work. We want to help photographers develop their practice, and also educate nonphotographers about what is current in documentary photography: Documentary Workshops – develop a new documentary focussed series of workshops and education covering the lifecycle of a project from initial idea and intent, developing narrative, conducting research, through execution, to editing, sequencing and ‘getting it out there’. (Target: 2 workshops in 2020). Social Media – develop our RPS website and social media to better engage younger and more diverse documentary photographers (currently being reviewed and revamped). Target: increase social media ‘hits’ by 20%. Provide regular image driven content. Engage University courses focussed on documentary, following on from recent ‘education’ focussed edition of Decisive Moment. Offer opportunity to show-case exceptional student work in Decisive Moment. Consider offering complementary membership to RPS and Documentary for up to 3 recent graduates. 110


Encourage - the public appreciation of photography. We want to engage with more people, including those who are not photographers, to appreciate the value of documentary photography so that it is enjoyed by as many people as possible: Work with groups outside RPS such as PhotoScratch (June 2020, RPS HQ), Photo Forum (TBC) and others etc to put on documentary focussed events (Target: 2 events). Support similar Regional Events or sub-group events and workshops. Hold or support 1 or 2 talks with prominent documentary photographers as speakers. Regional sub-groups – continue to support and fund (e.g. help with room hire) sub-groups and ideally expand them to cover new regions, subject to sufficient interest and volunteers. Showcase sub-group work in DM and social media. Where no active sub-group, work with the Region Organisers to provide Documentary focussed events for members and public. DG Bi-monthly competition – continue our online bi-monthly single image competition with a documentary-focussed book as prize. Monthly Newsletter - review alternative approaches and distribution to increase engagement. Seek feedback from members and re-issue.

Outline of Scheduled Events – see RPS Events for details: DPOTY 2019 Awards at RSP HQ

11 January 2020

Let’s Talk Documentary by RPS East Midlands

25 January 2020

Documentary Advisory at RPS HQ

22 February 2020

AGM (London) April 2020 (TBC) DPOTY Exhibition and Talks at Oriel Colwyn, North Wales

May 22 – 19 June 2020

Documentary Workshop TBC PhotoScratch at RPS HQ

11 June 2020

Documentary Workshop TBC DPOTY Exhibition at Volcano Theatre, Swansea

27 July - 10 Aug 2020

Documentary Advisory (TBC Regional)

TBC

DPOTY Exhibition at Newcastle Arts Centre

16 Oct - 13 Nov 2020

Documentary Talk (TBC) TBC DPOTY Exhibition at UK Venue (TBC)

TBC

Documentary Advisory (at TBC Regional / London)

TBC

Ongoing activities Decisive Moment magazine issues

Jan, Apr, Jul and Oct

Bi-monthly photographic competition

Feb, Apr, Jun, Aug, Oct, Dec

Plus Regional sub-Group Activities - see RPS events

All year

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Bi-Monthly Competition Winner

Winner of the August 2019 Bi-Monthly Competition

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Bi-Monthly Competition Winner

There were 36 entries for the fourth bi-monthly competition of 2019. As always we received the diverse range of images from across the group, so please keep entering your images. All submitted images can be seen at rps.org/ groups/documentary/bi-monthly-competition.

The winning image was ‘He’s Gone’ by John Gough ARPS This was taken in McDaids Pub in Dublin.

The sixth bi-monthly competition of 2019 closed on 31 December. The next deadline is 29 February 2020 for images taken during December, January and February. Winning images will appear in the April edition of The Decisive Moment. The competition asks members to include a little background to the image, providing some context. Please send your submissions to: dgcompetitions@rps.org Full details of how to enter are available on the RPS website: Documentary Group Bi-Monthly Competition.

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Events 03 February 2020 Southern Meeting

Documentary

15 February - 22 March 2020 Sub-Group

International Photography Exhibition 162

We aim to encourage documentary photography in all its forms, helping members to improve their skills in a friendly environment. If you are looking to challenge your photography further, whether you are a member of the RPS or not, please come along to find out more.

The RPS International Photography Exhibition returns to Bristol in February, featuring work from 43 international photographers. Join us on Saturday 15 February for a mini series of artist talks from six photographers featured in the exhibition.

rps.org/events/groups/ documentary/2020/february/southerndocumentary-sub-group-meeting

rps.org/events/bristol/2020/february/ international-photographyexhibition-162

12 February 2020

19 February 2020

The Art of Seeing

Associate Documentary Photography Assessment

Benedict Brain discusses various approaches to image-making, and how you can apply this to crafting your own photos. rps.org/events/bristol/2020/february/ the-art-of-seeing-with-benedict-brainarps 15 February 2020 Key Decisions of Magnum Photographer David Hurn HonFRPS David Hurn has a longstanding international reputation as one of Britain’s most influential reportage photographers. In this special event, David Hurn will reflect on the key decisions in his life and career and the wide-ranging imapct of his work. rps.org/events/regions/southwales/2020/february/on-being-aphotographer-key-decisions-ofmagnum-photographer-david-hurnhonfrps

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Spectators places available. To register email ben@rps.org. rps.org/events/bristol/2020/february/ arps-documentary-19-02-20 20 February 2020 Fellowship Documentary Photography Assessment rps.org/events/bristol/2020/february/ frps-documentary-19-02-20-1 22 February 2020 Documentary Advisory Day ARPS & FRPS Advisory days are organised by the RPS regions, so members of the public can either get advice on their body of work before applying for a Distinction or attend as an observer to learn about the Distinctions process and see what advice is given. rps.org/events/bristol/2020/february/ documentary-advisory-day-arps-frps


28 February 2020

05 April 2020

Thames Valley Documentary SubGroup Meeting

Design and Develop a Photobook with Tim Daly

Oxford University Rowing Clubs - Torpids Competition - Street Photography.

This course teaches you how to develop your photographic project into an eyecatching photobook. During the oneday course we look at great examples of photobooks based on travel, landscape and documentary themes.

The Torpids are an exciting series of bumping rowing races held each winter on the river Thames between Donnington Bridge (nearest the start) and Folly Bridge (nearest the finish), a distance of 1800 meters. Teams of eights compete over four days. Contact doctv@rps.org for details. 22 March 2020 South East Documentary Sub-Group Meeting This is one of our regular bi-monthly meetings. We will be arranging a speaker for the first half and then an opportunity to present and discuss work in the second half. rps.org/events/groups/ documentary/2020/march/south-eastdocumentary-group-meeting

rps.org/events/bristol/2020/april/ design-and-develop-a-photobookwith-tim-daly 25 April 2020 Environmental Portraiture This workshop is about approaches to portraiture on location. There will be plenty of practical photography, going out into the old market town of Wirksworth in small groups with Paul Hill MBE, Nick Lockett MA and Martin Shakeshaft MA. rps.org/events/bristol/2020/april/ environmental-portraiture-paul-hillmbe-nick-lockett-ma-and-martinshakeshaft-ma 25 April 2020 East Anglia Documentary Sub-Group Meeting Anteros Art Foundation, Fye Bridge Road, Norwich, NR3 1LJ at 10.30. Details from Group Secretary David Collins, doceasec@rps.org.

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The Documentary Group Online Dear Documentary Members, We are keen to find the best ways to stay in touch and provide updates on our events and activities. For now, we have decided to interrupt our routine newsletter service and review its design, content and objectives. The reason for doing this is a combination of the volunteer time taken to produce it and the apparent low engagement from our readers. We are keen to revamp our newsletter and are working on developing it. We appreciate your patience and apologies for the disruption. We hope that you will try one of the alternative ways listed below to keep in touch with us in the meantime.

Facebook @rpsdocumentary Our public Facebook page is new, but it already highlights the successful projects that entered our Documentary Photographer of the Year competition. You can also find albums for the Bi-monthly Competition winners and short texts from our Journal The Decisive Moment (DM) there – these updates are designed to be easy to read on a phone screen that also provides you with the link to the full articles. We also have a closed group Facebook page, exclusively for our members. If you want to join us there, you can share your pictures with us, ask for advice, and engage with our online community.

Instagram @rpsdoc Instagram is an image-based social media platform, so think of our profile as of an online gallery. If you follow us there, you can see pictures from our competition winners, DM contributors and members along with invitations to events and images from these occasions. Instagram is the place where we want to promote the work of our group and our members to the wider public and encourage them to follow and engage with our projects.

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#rpsdoc Not a social media fan? The RPS web page - rps.org/documentary We understand that not everyone has a social media profile or wants to create one. That’s why all our profiles are public and can be viewed by everyone, no matter whether you have an account or not. This means you will be able to view all our posts and book on to ticketed events. Checking our RPS page and searching for events is still a good way to keep informed with all that is happening in the Documentary group. If you have any questions you can always e-mail us – all our contact details are listed there.

Twitter @rpsdoc Our Twitter page is for short important updates such as events, exhibitions, call for entries or other announcements. If you do not have much time for scrolling on social media but still want to be in on the action, we recommend you to follow us there. We promise we’ll be short and concise.

Flickr Royal Photographic Society - Documentary Group Documentary Group members run an active group on Flickr with plenty of images and the opportunity to discuss them with the group.

Issuu Issuu.com - Documentary Group, Royal Photographic Society The Decisive Moment is published on the Issuu platform where you can read each edition online or download pdfs to read offline. Please follow the Documentary Group in Issuu and use the buttons to like and share your favourite editions or individual features - it really helps support the Documentary Group.

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Bi-Monthly Competition Winner

Winner of the October 2019 Bi-Monthly Competition There were 27 entries for the fifth bi-monthly competition of 2019. As always we received a diverse range of images from across the group, so please keep entering your images. All submitted images can be seen at rps.org/groups/documentary/ bi-monthly-competition. The winning image was ‘Camel Race, Dubai’ by Daniel Simon As the weather finally begins to cool, every Friday morning, starting at sunup, there are camel races across the Emirate of Dubai. One of the few aspects of Emirati life that has not been changed. by the rise of tourism, the camels, which can cost up to a million pounds each, are ridden by remote control robot jockeys, piloted by a herd of SUVs that sweep round the oval track alongside the running animals. This shot is part of an ongoing series highlighting the myriad aspects of life in the UAE that most people do not get to see. I had actually been trying to take photos further down the track, past a barrier where I thought I might not be allowed. A member of the Dubai police force drove up and called me over. The Dubai police can be quite forbidding. ”What are you doing?” he asked. ”Taking photos” ”No,” he said. ”Not here” I swallowed. ”You will get much better pictures by the start line. Follow me” And he was right. The sixth bi-monthly competition of 2019 closed on 31 December. The next deadline is 29 February 2020 for images taken during December, January and February. Winning images will appear in the April edition of The Decisive Moment. The competition asks members to include a little background to the image, providing some context. Please send your submissions to: dgcompetitions@rps.org Full details of how to enter are available on the RPS website: Documentary Group Bi-Monthly Competition. 118


Bi-Monthly Competition Winner

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Updated Constitution At the last AGM, we made some minor changes to the constitution, namely to broaden the definition of ‘documentary’. Documentary photography as a practice spans a range of approaches, so makes precise definition difficult. Taken literally, all forms of photography can be described as documentary, in that they document someone, something or some place. As a working definition, the Documentary SIG uses the following: “Documentary photography communicates a clear narrative through visual literacy. It can be applied to the photographic documentation of social, cultural, historical and political events. Documentary photographers’ work always has an intent; whether that is to represent daily life, explore a specific subject, deepen our thinking, or influence our opinions.”

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Members form a dynamic and diverse group of photographers globally who share a common interest in documentary and street photography. We welcome photographers of all skill levels and offer members a diverse programme of workshops, photoshoots, longer-term projects, a prestigious Documentary Photographer of the Year (DPOTY) competition, exhibitions, and a quarterly online journal ‘The Decisive Moment’. Some longer-term collaborative projects are in the pipeline for the future. We have an active Flickr group and Facebook group. Overseas members pay £5 per annum for Group membership rather than the £10 paid by UK based members. The Documentary Group is always keen to expand its activities and relies on ideas and volunteer input from its members.

If you’re not a member come and join us. Find us on the RPS website at: rps.org/groups/documentary

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DPOTY 2019 Awards Event - Graham Land ARPS

rps.org/groups/documentary

Profile for Documentary Group, Royal Photographic Society

RPS The Decisive Moment - Edition 18 - January 2020