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Awards Categories

Select categories and nominate here

Nominations for the 2022 Awards are now open, but will close on 7th March 2022.

Note: Nominations for the Combined Royal Colleges Medal only will remain open until Monday 2 May.

1) Find a suitable category for your award nominee below

2) Fill in the nomination form here

The RPS International Awards are offered annually to individuals who have made significant contributions to the art and science of photography. 

The Society has adopted a wide definition of photography which refers to the art or science of the recording of light or other radiation on any medium on which an image is produced or from which any image may by any means be produced.

Where a team or group is put forward, the nomination should show the role of each person concerned and to what extent and in what way each contributed to the initiation, development and exploitation of the subject of the proposal. 

Nominations will continue to be considered by the Awards Committee for three years after the first submission.  Should further information relevant to a nomination, where an Award has not been made, become available during this period the Awards Committee would like to be informed so that it can take it into consideration.  Nominators should be aware that when an Award has not been made during this three year period a fresh nomination may be made, but should realise that a further significant contribution to photography during the intervening period needs to be shown.

Awards categories:

The RPS Award for Scientific or Technological Advancement of Photography - The Progress Medal: Instituted in 1878, this Medal is awarded in recognition of any invention, research, publication or other contribution which has resulted in an important advance in the scientific or technological development of photography or imaging in the widest sense.  This medal also carries with it an Honorary Fellowship of The Society.

The RPS Award for a Sustained, Significant Contribution to the Art of Photography - The Centenary Medal: Instituted in 1993, this Medal is awarded in recognition of a sustained, significant contribution to the art of photography.  This medal also carries with it an Honorary Fellowship of The Society.

The RPS Award for Sustained, Outstanding and Influential Advancement of Photography – The Outstanding Service Medal: This award recognises major sustained, outstanding and influential contributions to the advancement of photography and/or imaging in their widest meanings.  To be eligible candidates must have made a contribution that has had a significant influence on the sustained advancement or enhancement of photography or imaging.  Such influence may, but not necessarily, have been through commercial activities.  This award is to be made occasionally to a notable person who has contributed over a significant period of time to the global world of photography.  Recipients might include communicators, directors of museums, picture libraries or galleries, archivists, senior administrators, CEOs or team leaders of manufacturing or service organisations that have advanced imaging.  This award also carries with it an Honorary Fellowship of The Society.

The RPS Awards of Honorary Fellowships: These are awarded to distinguished persons having, from their position or attainments, an intimate connection with the science or fine art of photography or the application thereof. 

The maximum number of Honorary Fellowships in any year is limited to 8 in addition to those awarded with the Progress, Centenary, Outstanding Achievement and any other Awards. If the Progress Medal is awarded to a small team of up to 3 persons, the total number of awards of Honorary Fellowship to the team shall count as only one award, for the purposes of determining the total number of Honorary Fellowships awarded in that year.

In addition to the eight Honorary Fellowships and in addition to any Honorary Fellowships awarded with the Progress, Centenary and Outstanding Achievement awards, an Honorary Fellowship shall be awarded to any duly appointed President upon them taking up the office of President.

The RPS Award for Cinematic Production: This award is given to an individual for outstanding achievement or sustained contribution in the production, direction or development of film for the cinema, television, online or new media.

The RPS Award for Contributions to Medical Photography - The Combined Royal Colleges Award:  Originally established by The Society in 1958, in collaboration with the Royal College of Physicians, London, the Royal College of Surgeons of England and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and, since 2018, the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, the Combined Royal Colleges Medal is awarded for an outstanding contribution to the advancement and/or application of medical photography or the wider field of medical imaging.

The RPS Award for Photographic Curatorship: Introduced in 2016, this Award recognises excellence over a period of time in the field of photographic curatorship, through exhibitions and associated events and publications.

The RPS Award for Editorial, Advertising and Fashion Photography: Introduced in 2016, this award is given to an individual for outstanding achievement and excellence in the fields of editorial, advertising and fashion photography.

The RPS Award for Photographic Education: The award was inaugurated in 2011 and is given for outstanding achievement or sustained contribution in photographic education. This includes exceptional course development and management in combination with inspirational teaching or any other element that has progressed or improved photographic teaching and education. Nominations are welcome from all areas of photographic education and may include the following elements:-  Course design, either locally or nationally.  This could include the design, development and, or, management of a series of courses within a particular educational establishment or the development of a national course or a series of courses. An approach that challenges convention is an integral element.  Inspirational teaching.  There is a multitude of elements to this from telling a story to making it happen.  There is no pre-conceived formula but outstanding dedication, personal skills and creativity come to mind.  Whilst research, picture making, publication (books, articles, papers etc) and media performance are relevant within education they relate to practice and are covered by other awards. 

The RPS Awards for outstanding contributions to the work of The Society - The Fenton Medals: This award, established in 1980, is named after Roger Fenton, one of The Society's founders and until 1856 its Honorary Secretary.  This award is made to a member or non-member who has made an outstanding contribution to the work of The Royal Photographic Society.  Usually, no more than four Fenton Medals are awarded each year.  Since 1998 this award carries Honorary Life Membership of The Society.

The RPS Award for a body of work Promoting or Raising Awareness of Current Issues - The Hood Medal: This medal is awarded within the art or science of photography for a body of photographic work produced to promote or raise awareness of an aspect of public benefit or service, including environmental or global issues. Instituted in 1933 when Mr Harold Hood (Fellow) offered to present annually a medal for ‘meritorious performance in some branch of photography, with particular emphasis on any exhibition exhibit which revealed the most outstanding advance in photography for public service’.

The RPS Award for achievements in Photographic Criticism or Photographic History – The J Dudley Johnston Medal: An Award for major achievement in the field of photographic criticism or the history of photography.  To be awarded for sustained excellence over a period of time, or for a single outstanding publication.  Named after The Society's former President and Honorary Curator 1924-1955. 

The RPS Award for Cinematography, Video and Animation - The Lumière Award: An Award for major achievement in the field of cinematography, video or animation.  

The RPS for extraordinary, sustained support of The Society - The Member's Award: An Award, established in 2005, given to an ordinary member who, in the opinion of Council, has shown extraordinary support for The Society over a sustained period.  This is not normally a reward for service on a committee, but it does not exclude committee members where exceptional and outstanding commitment and support can be cited.  This award carries Honorary Life Membership of the Society.

The RPS Award for Photographic Publishing: This award is given to an individual for outstanding achievement or sustained contribution in the field of Photographic Publishing in its broadest sense.  This may include the printed page, e books or online publications.

The Royal Photographic Society Award for Scientific Imaging: Introduced in 2016, this award is given to an individual for a body of scientific imaging which promotes public knowledge and understanding.

The RPS Award for Science Based Imaging Research - The Selwyn Award: This award, sponsored by the Imaging Science Group of The Society, aims to recognize successful science-based work connected with imaging made by a researcher in the early stage of their career. The Award honours the memory of E W H Selwyn, an eminent photographic scientist.  The award is open to those within six years of completing a degree or PhD, or for those with these qualifications, within 10 years of the start of their first employment where research and/or the application of their work to imaging, is their primary function.

The Royal Photographic Society Award for Achievement in the Art of Photography for those aged 35 or under - The Vic Odden Award: An Award offered for a notable achievement in the art of photography by a photographer aged 35 or under. Endowed in memory of Vic Odden, one of the best known and highly respected photographic retailers.