Inspiring Photography

Talks and Seminars

We have a great line up of speakers and talks in store for you at the Royal Photographic Society (RPS) on 27th and 28th May 2023. Below you’ll find a summary of each session:

Elia Locardi

Travel Photography – creating impactful images from around the world

(10:00 Saturday 27th May)

There’s no doubt that traveling the world rewards us with amazing opportunities to create captivating photographs that go far beyond the standard “postcard” shot.

Great travel photography requires a strong understanding of each location, a vision for the images you want to capture, and the required techniques to do it. This all combines with a keen understanding of the light and how it changes over time. Sometimes this style of travel photography simply requires tracking the sun’s position to calculate the precise sunrise or sunset location. Often times, a travel destination can be made up entirely of man made objects and artificial light, challenging us to create a balance between natural and artificial elements.

Like most photographic genres and styles, it begins—and sometimes remains—in camera but, just as the darkroom was an essential tool in the photographic process with film, the digital desktop can play an important role in creating memorable images that can both impress and stand the test of time.

Martin Hartley

Adventure & Expedition Photography

(10:55 Saturday 27th May)

The spirit for adventure can really get under your skin. That’s exactly what’s happened to Martin and for him photography and adventure are intertwined. There is far more to it than simply heading off into the wilds armed with a camera and a few memory cards so Martin will take you through some of his expedition, from Kyrgyzstan to the North and South Poles. His adventures vary in approach from shorter trips to some of the less accessible parts of the planet to expeditions which needs months, sometimes years, of planning.

His latest project takes him back onto to the Arctic Ocean, working with climate scientists  the European Space Agency and NASA in a search for the very last areas of the oldest ice on the Arctic Ocean before it is lost to the warming waters forever.

Martin will also give you an insight into his next expedition project – The Last Ice Sentinels.

Deborah Ireland

From Daguerreotype  to Digital

(12:05 Saturday 27th May)

A story of how a camera became an indispensable tool to record travel.

From the very beginning, photography was viewed as having great potential:

“Travellers may perhaps soon be able to procure M. Daguerre’s apparatus, and bring back views of the finest monuments and of the most beautiful scenery of the whole world. They will see how far their pencils and brushes are from the truth.”

This talk covers the ever-changing process and developments and the ways in which the resulting images reached their audience; inspiring some to travel and convince others to definitely not. In the nineteenth century, armchair travellers experienced travel through the page as engraved copies, real photographs that were stuck on, or in albums and later, as photo mechanical printing techniques emerged, as rather sooty prints on the page. Stereos and lantern slides also offered other ways of enjoying travel photography.

Using the words of the photographers themselves to describe the processes they used and their working methods this is an introduction to the history of travel photographers from the very beginning with the first Excursions Daguerriennes published in August 1840 containing engravings, traced from daguerreotypes, to the digital images of today and how they are used by contemporary photographers.

Marek Biegalski

Eye level & above – landscape & drone photography

(13:50 Saturday 27th May)

Landscape photography for me is an art form that seeks the breathtaking beauty of the natural world around us, from the rippling waves of the oceans to the jagged peaks of towering mountains. With the advent of drone photography, we are now able to capture stunning aerial views of landscapes in a way as never before. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for the natural world, I strive to create images that are not only visually stunning but also convey a sense of wonder and respect for the planet we call home. In a world where so much of nature remains unexplored and unappreciated, my photography is a celebration of the beauty and diversity of our planet and a cell action to protect it for the future generation.

“Beyond the Imagination”  is my latest project from Iceland.
Glacial rivers in Iceland are beyond the imagination. These remarkable patterns seen from, above blending into the bed of braided rivers, become truly nature’s masterpieces and inspiration. Globally they are very rare. They occur only where a very specific combination of climate and geology allows rivers to form ever-changing and highly dynamic ‘braided’ channels across a wide gravelly riverbed. The amazing colours typically form on fairly steep slopes and carry a large number of coarse-grained sediments. When the river’s flow decreases, these sediments get deposited on the river bed leaving behind small temporary islands of sand that cause the river’s channel to split. Aside from a steep gradient and abundance of sediments, a variable water discharge rate is essential to their formation.

Marek Biegalski, Martin Hartley, Diana Jarvis & Chris Coe

Travel, landscape, environment & responsible photography

(14:25 Saturday 27th May)

Following on from the previous talk, Marek and Martin join a panel with conservation and sustainability photographer and writer, Diana, and Chris to discuss some of the issues raised in that talk and our role as photographers in photographing the landscape and threatened environments in the face of climate change and human expansion.

Colin Finlay

Collecting Photography

(15:45 Saturday 27th May)

Before the 1970s, photography was very much a niche collecting activity. But, with the huge growth in magazine and book publishing  where well-reproduced photographs became the norm, people almost subliminally became exposed to photography. Photographers became cultural icons in their own right in the same way as film and music stars. Before then, there had been photo-led magazines such as Life and Picture Post, but although such titles enjoyed large and loyal circulations, the images were very much journalistically led and only much later did people begin to appreciate the images as works of art in their own right. 

There are still some flat-earthers who do not believe that photography is a valid art form but once the major auction houses started holding regular photography auctions, photography became recognised alongside fine art, sculpture and other established means of artistic expression. 

This talk will guide you through the processes and pitfalls of collecting photographs, from archive images to contemporary photography and limited editions.

Elia Locardi & Chris Coe

In-camera vs digital manipulation explained

(16:30 Saturday 27th May)

With the mass-market arrival of digital cameras, sensor technology, and a wide selection of AI tools, the photographer’s approach to making images has rapidly evolved. Some of these new and often confusing languages of photography have appeared in a very short space of time. Photographers used to have just a finite amount of tools, both in-camera and in post-processing. Creators of today suddenly find themselves immersed in a world that gives new meaning and discussion about the decisions we make while editing our photos. From enhancement to manipulation, to generative AI, the creative lines have become blurred. And, while that can seem intimidating, if used correctly these same technologies can help yield fantastic results.

For those photographers who grew up with film cameras, there was an inherent need to understand how the camera translated light into an image – get it wrong and you didn’t have a good image. Digital photography turned this on its head, providing an opportunity to ‘save’ an image in software like Photoshop later.

Whilst this provided photographers with a plethora of new tools to control their images and added a new layer of post-production creativity, it is often misunderstood and frequently misused.

Chris grew up with film and one of the big pluses with this was the need to understand the image and how it is created in-camera. Elia’s photography has always involved digital manipulation, giving him a good understanding of the possibilities and pitfalls.

In this talk the two of them will look at some images and discuss approaches to shooting them for the best possible image in camera, but also looking at how and where digital image manipulation can refine and sometimes improve these images. They’ll discuss different approaches to image processing and when what comes out of the camera is optimal and how much manipulation is too much.

Trevor Cole

Photographing people – cultural & social photography

(10:00 Sunday 28th May)

Cameras enable us to photograph and document the lives of people, but they can also be very intrusive. This was never more so than now with the rise of the phone camera and the Instagram generation.

Photography of tribal people is a unique opportunity for cultural exchange and a valuable preservation of cultures that are on the edge. This also carries risks of negative impacts. I would like to share my experience in how this can be mitigated; helping spread understanding, indigenous beauty and helping tribes directly in the ways that help them the most.

This talk focuses on indigenous people with special reference to Africa and the ways and means of photographing them in a sensitive and sustainable way, and common approaches to visiting tribal groups with reference to the agencies involved, guides and local guides as well as taking ‘the shots’ and gaining permission to do so. Sensitivity and cultural understanding are the key to success together with a small group approach to create an interactive experience. 

Spending time in villages is an imperative to enable a photo shoot which creates a relationship. My photos endeavour to capture the emotion of the moment as well as create an interpersonal bond which is reflected in the image. 

Trevor Cole, Diana Jarvis & Chris Coe

Respecting people & cultures through responsible photography

(10:40 Sunday 28th May)

Following on from the previous session, Trevor joins a panel with Diana and Chris to discuss some of the issues raised in that talk and how important responsible and sustainable approaches to photographing people and their cultures can make a difference in preserving our cultural diversity for future generations.

Kiran Ridley

Out of conflict – documenting Ukraine & its people

(12:00 Sunday 28th May)

The conflict in Ukraine came after Kiran had photographed the protests in Hong Kong, the Turkish refugee crisis and the Australian bush fires, so with humanitarian friend and colleague, Neale Bailey, he set off for Ukraine to both provide help and to document the impact of the war on the Ukrainian people.

In this talk Kiran will guide you through approaches to documentary photography and all that goes into it before you even get the camera out, the shooting process and the impact good images can have.

He’ll then give us an insight into his ongoing project in Ukraine, how he deals with the trauma he encounters, how the Ukrainian people have impacted and shaped his project, and his plans for this on his imminent return for the next shoot.

Chris Coe, Colin Finlay, Matjaz Krivic & Kiran Ridley

Winning photo competitions

(14:00 Sunday 28th May)

Why should you enter photography competitions and if you do, how do you give yourself the best chance of winning?

Photography Weekly

Chris Coe is the co-founder of Travel Photographer of the Year (TPOTY) and Colin Finlay ran Wildlife Photographer of the Year (WPY) for several years. They are joined on the panel by the latest winner of Travel Photographer of the Year (TPOTY), Slovenian photographer Matjaz Krivic, and the 2019 winner of TPOTY’s TAPSA award for documentary photography, Kieran Ridley, to discuss the pros and cons of photography competitions and give you an insight into what they can do for your photography.

There will be some really good tips thrown in too, not only on how to win but also on how to choose the better competitions and avoid the ones which are about money not photography.

Doug Allan

Wildlife & nature – can photography save the planet?

(15:20 Sunday 28th May)

Doug, one of the world’s best known and respected wildlife cameramen, takes a look at shooting better wildlife images and also if and how photography can affect conservation.

Photographers often focus on the Big Five and the more spectacular large species but nature, from the very smallest to the largest, is all inter-connected – lose one seemingly unimportant species and it can have a surprising impact on others further up the food chain.

Where is photography making an impact on conservation? Is this impact positive? What are the impacts?

Colin Finlay, Doug Allen & Diana Jarvis

Wildlife & nature photography, conservation & sustainability 

(16:00 Sunday 28th May)

Following on from the previous session, Doug joins a panel with Diana and Colin to discuss some of the issues raised in that talk and where the future of wildlife photography and conservation lies.

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