Another milestone in my photographic accomplishments was achieved this week – I fore-filled all the requirements for claiming my Associate distinction with the BPE (British Photographic Exhibitions).
Anne; A Brief Encounter .. Peter Rees Medal Southport, 2012
The BPE was formed in the late 80′s by a group of exhibitions wishing to help each other in promoting photographic exhibitions here in the UK. This cooperation produced some immediate advantages, the most being an increase in entries.
In 1991 the BPE devised their Crown Award System, a system whereby points are accrued for each acceptance gained. I started entering BPE exhibitions in November, 2007 and gained my first BPE Crown (25 acceptances) in April, 2008. This was closely followed by my 2nd Crown in August, 2008. Their top Crown Award (BPE5) is awarded for 300 acceptances, which I gained in October, 2011. As of September, 2012 only 115 photographers in the UK could lay claim to having achieved this award.
Forever Friends .. Honours Mention at Guernsey, 2012
For those photographers who expressed a wish to further support these exhibitions the BPE added two more schemes; their highly prized Associate (ABPE) and Fellowship (FBPE) distinctions.
My pursuit of an Associate distinction began in November, 2011, gaining my first four acceptances in the Bromsgrove Open. In order to successfully apply for the associate distinction the candidate must gain a further 100 acceptances after achieving BPE5. In addition to this the candidate must also acquire a minimum of 20 awards from at least 10 different images.
Andy Capp .. Peter Siviters Medal at Bromsgrove, 2012
My first (ABPE) award came from the Guernsey Salon, an Honours Certificate along with a further 9 acceptances. I had set myself a target of gaining 1 award for every 5 acceptances, a tall order, but an added challenge all the same.
Disappointment came at Bebington in 2012 with only 2 acceptances, but I redeemed myself at Southport being awarded a judges medal and 3 acceptances. My plan of 1 award for every 5 acceptances wasn’t going all that well as the Vale of Evesham exhibition added another 5 acceptances, but no awards!
There’s No Going Back .. PAGB Bronze Medal Basingstoke, 2012
One thing’s for sure the BPE don’t give these distinction away easily – you certainly have to earn them you also have to respect those photographers whose footsteps you follow in. Faith in my system was restored at Basingstoke with 9 acceptances, including a PAGB bronze medal and 3 highly commended images.
Tally so far: 34 acceptances and 6 awards – I was back on track!
Mud Sweat and Glee .. Highly Commened at Havant C.C, 2012
Next came Rushden, Solihull and Glasgow, 3 exhibitions, but only 8 acceptances were forthcoming, which just goes to show – different judges, different tastes! However, the 3 judges at Nottingham (Robin Hood) exhibition were suitably impressed as I gained 8 acceptances and 2 more awards.
Points wise I was now half way there with 50 acceptances, but slightly below par with 8 awards. Things didn’t improve much in the Beyond Group exhibition, only 3 acceptances. Another 4 were added at Shrewsbury followed by another 4 at Dingwall, 6 at Great Barr, including a commend and 3 at Havant, plus another award.
Total now: 70 acceptances and 10 awards.
Muddy Hell .. PAGB Ribbon at Bromsgrove, 2012
I gained a very surprising silver medal in Guernsey, plus another Honours Certificate to match last years – 7 acceptances in total, not bad! More good news came from Bromsgrove; all 4 images accepted, plus a judges medal, a PAGB ribbon and a commend.
Newcomers to the BPE circuit; Yardley also gave my acceptance tally a boost, 11 out of 12 acceptances, including a solitary commend. A further 4 acceptances, including a commend was gained from the Frome/Wessex Salon (another new face). Bebington provided me with 7 acceptances, including another silver medal. Almost there! Just 2 more awards required.
We Can Make It .. Commended Image at Frome/Wessex Salon, 2012
Another year older, but perhaps non-the-wiser, 2013 kicks off with the Southport Open and I’m now down to entering single sections, in this case, monochrome only. I deem myself lucky to escape with 2 acceptances. The Clay Cross exhibition came back into the fold after a twenty year absence, which also gave me chance to send 8 images to 2 sections – 5 acceptances gained, plus an all important commended image. Only 1 more award needed!
In late February, 2013 I had work out at 3 different exhibitions, all with relatively close judging dates, which one, if any, would give me my final award?
Living in the Past .. Highly Commended at Basinstoke, 2013
In the end that honour went to Basingstoke. I sent 4 images to their portrait section. I had 2 images accepted, including a highly commend, ironically was the very same image that gained me my first award 17months previous, in Guernsey.
All in all it has taken me just over 4 years to reach Associate level. I did it using 75 different images, having gained 415 acceptances, including 74 awards. I have it on good authority that there are less than 45 photographers in the UK today that have an ABPE medal and certificate - 17 of those have since achieved Fellowship (FBPE) status.
Billy and the Kid .. PAGB Silver Medal at Guernsey, 2012
If you’re a UK photographer looking to exhibit your work and would like to know more on the subject, why not get in touch?