Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Come together

A few days ago, we decided to spend last night in Bath so we would be there bright and early this morning, ready for our ARPS (Associate of the Royal Photographic Society) assessments.  Having booked a last minute B&B near the RPS headquarters, it then occurred to us that this would be great opportunity to meet up with Geoff and Irene, friends who live relatively close to Bath. The last time we saw them was at Andrew's funeral, so we thought it would be good to get together in less sad circumstances. A couple of phone calls later and it was all sorted out.

Yesterday morning, I checked my e-mails and there was one from another friend, Anne, who lives in Chichester. By one of those amazing coincidences, Anne and Colin would also be in Bath on Tuesday (them to sample the delights of the Spa as a Anne's birthday treat) so more arrangements were put in place to meet up that later that day.

And so it was yesterday evening that instead of sitting in our B&B getting stressed out about today's photography assessment, we were out having a meal out on a roof terrace of a restaurant in Bath with Geoff and Irene, joined later by Anne and Colin after their visit to the Thermae Bath Spa. And an excellent evening out it was too - great to see you all!  

Isn't it wonderful when things come together?

So relaxed were we arriving back at the guest house late last night, I didn't notice that the traveling alarm clock was set on European time rather than BST, following our trip to Venice.  Consequently, it was a bit of a shock this morning to be woken up by Steve saying it's nearly half past eight, when it wasn't quite 7.30 am according to the alarm clock.  I think that must have been the quickest breakfast and pack up in history!  But we weren't the last to arrive at the RPS HQ, a short walk down the road.

It was a tense morning, watching as panels of photos were displayed and assessed by the judges, not knowing whether one of ours would be up next.  We were still on tenterhooks at lunchtime.  By then, 13 panels had been assessed and only four recommended for ARPS.  The first two panels after lunch failed.  Mine was the 16th. The wait seemed like an eternity, but the first judge to speak  after looking at the pictures thought it was a lovely set that ticked all the boxes, and everyone else thought likewise. So that was me - done! Then we had to wait for Steve's to be brought into the gallery and put on display.  Set 17 failed.  Set 18 was recommended for ARPS, set 19 failed as did set 20. Set 21 was a pass, on balance. The set after that was Steve's.

If you have seen Steve's recent artworks, you won't be surprised to know that he has created a very individual style - the end result is a cross between photography and silkscreen.  What would the panel make of it?  

The first judge to speak started by saying he didn't know whether he liked the images or not, the treatment was so different to anything else he had seen. However, the more he looked at them, the more he appreciated them, and if he were locked in a room with them for any length of time, he thought he would end up liking them.  

The second judge who spoke was very positive - he liked Steve's images very much, thought they were a great set and wanted to know how Steve had achieved his effects. Then, to our dismay, judge No 3 said the panel didn't work for him - not keen on the technique used to create the images.  He was swiftly counteracted by judge No 4, who said in no uncertain terms that the panel DID work - the processing technique added a certain something and was very original.  She thought the body of work showed skilled image design and that they should focus on the end result, not the technique of how it was achieved. Judge No 5 was equally supportive - he thought the technique used added to rather than detracted from the images.

After the discussion, each judge had to decide whether or not to support the submission by showing a red or green card to the chairman. We couldn't see what was going on, so again, it seemed like an eternity as the chair of the panel looked along then line of assessors......And then our hearts lifted as his face broke into a smile to announce that Steve would also be recommended for RPS Associateship!

By the end of the day, 23 panels of images had been assessed, but only 8 were recommended for the ARPS distinction, including both of ours!

Even the rush hour traffic in Bath couldn't wipe the smiles off our faces on the way home.  We bought a bottle of Prosecco and a fish and chip supper on the way home and we are still grinning like the cats who got the proverbial cream.  

Let's hope this is a good omen for the hospital assessment tomorrow - exactly two years after Steve was diagnosed with mesothelioma.

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