The Royal Photographic Society is a longtime organization for photographers in a similar vein to organizations United States readers may be familiar with like ASMP and PPA; offering special recognition, opportunities, and photographic discounts among other benefits. They’ve recently stirred up controversy among photographers by opting to make the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, an honorary lifetime member. She made news in the photography scene in 2015 by opting to take the official photographs of newborn Princess Charlotte, and has received recognition for travel and landscape photography.
The public at large seems happy about this, but photographers have been quibbling in comment sections as to the legitimacy of this recognition. On the Society’s Facebook post announcing the decision, the top comments are in dispute of her qualifications for receiving the honor.
There appear to be two camps on this one: the first being, if not outraged, at least perturbed photographers who believe that the honor should be earned and that in Kate Middleton’s case was not. She is the first to be honored in this way without first winning an award as a Society member, and the people in this upset group would rather see such honors bestowed upon people who are, in their eyes, more deserving.
The second camp is of people who either could care less who receives honors from the Royal Photographic Society or are pleased to see the Duchess recognized and are annoyed with the people who care enough to comment negatively about it – enough to comment negatively about the first negative commenters.
But the outcry over this is, if nothing else, predictable, because of late photographers have been growing more and more vocal with their discontent whenever anyone of any fame or infamy in one arena transitions into what photographers deem entirely ‘their’ own – and that any recognition must come from struggle. But while it’s nice to see the “little guys” elevated than the rich-and-famous receiving handouts, I can’t think of an actual negative effect stemming from The Royal Photographic Society’s choice of honoree. Her photographic work offers a truly unique look into the royal family that is relevant to the public (if you’re into that sort of thing) which does lend some credibility to the award.
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As far as the quality of the work goes, I’ve never seen anything that stood out as incredible; Her portraiture shines more than the other work I’ve seen, though it looks like her landscape work wasn’t shot with a high quality set-up which has degraded some nice-ish compositions. Some is decidedly “meh” to my eye regardless of capture method. In the end, the Royal Photographic Society has done a fantastic PR stunt in its offering, gaining mass exposure. Admit it, who here had heard of them before? Photographers must come to grips with the the fact there is meaning behind the madness and it doesn’t discredit the work of others. What are your thoughts, trivial or worthy of contention?
See some of her work here.