This year’s Royal Photographic Society Competition has showcased photography that speaks to modern life in all of its varieties, as art should. There is never just one viewpoint, angle, perspective, lifestyle, and the entries to the RPS’s competition are a testament to the ability of the artist to see.

The best shots that are to be included in the exhibition, are those that court intimacy the closest. The portrait of ‘Erik’, by Jan Klos, is one such of these incredibly personal photographs, where to look at the sitter is to feel a definite conversation. The same is to be found in Matthew Hamon’s ‘Jessica’, a curious shot that feels surreal, despite the normality of everything in the image. In terms of reaching a personal level with the subject of a photograph, however, Katinka Herbert’s portrait of Yoasan Guillan, a Cuban baseball player, is among the most memorable. While Yoasan himself is vividly present at the centre of the shot, the culture and history of his country is laid out behind him, drawing into relief why Herbert titled her collection, ‘Divided Lives’.

Matthew Hamon

The gold award was given to Margaret Mitchell, for her collection of images under the title, This Place. Here are incredible images of very usual, normal modern lives. Mitchell used her sister’s children as the subjects of the series of photographs, with where they live in central Scotland as the backdrop. Among these is the shot of Liam, one of her nephews. He is a young, blonde boy in a blue and grey tracksuit. It is a simple image, and it is without a doubt, the most beautiful photograph entered into the RPS’s competition. That search for intimacy is achieved here in a way that immediately holds you.

Margaret Mitchell

The Royal Photographic Society’s 160th International Photography Competition exhibition will be held at the Old Truman Brewery in London, from the 13th to the 16th October. For more details, visit  the RPS website.


Featured Photo Credit: Jan Klos