Look back on standout RBSA Photography Prize artists

Updated: Dec 16, 2020

First launched in 2015, the RBSA Photography Prize exhibition showcases artists creating work in the photographic medium.

The next exhibition will take place 12 March – 10 April 2021 and will be on display both in the RBSA Gallery and online.


To celebrate launching the call for entries (deadline 20 January), we look back on some of the standout selected artists from previous RBSA Photography Prize exhibitions.

James Abelson


Abelson is a Birmingham-based photographer and photography teacher whose practice focuses on capturing people.


“Some faces are extremely expressive and others more enigmatic, but all are fascinating. Some of the people I photograph are strangers, some I know better and others I am related to. I am hoping that through expression, lighting, and composition I can convey my own interest and curiosity. By getting in close there is no hiding place and therefore I may not flatter my subject, neither, I hope, am I seeking to be cruel.”


L-R: Eva and Adele 2016, Alasdair 2017


Sam Ivin

1st Prize Winner 2017


Photographer Sam Ivin explores social issues and the people connected with them through collaborative projects. He documents their stories and perspectives and aims to provide a more personal, tangible understanding of them.


His series of works Lingering Ghosts is a book of hand-scratched portraits, where the eyes have been erased. These portraits are of asylum seekers who have arrived in the UK and found themselves in a state of limbo, awaiting news of their application for asylum for months or even years.


“They become Lingering Ghosts. These physically scratched portraits attempt to convey the cruel loss of self, and the frustration that befalls them as they wait to learn their fate.”


Pakistan

Time waiting for asylum: 8 months

Hand scratched c-type, 55x76cm, 2015

William Arkle Marsden


William Arkle Marsden is a UK based Portrait photographer working on commercial and editorial commissions.


William captures the more forgotten sections of society, fading hobbies and niche business, whilst injecting a unique sense of British humour into his work.

L-R: Phantom Knights, Phantom Knights 2


Adam and Leah are part of The Phantom Knights Marching Band. The Phantom Knights are UK champions.

Tristan Poyser

1st Prize Winner 2019


Tristan Poyser is a photographer, consultant and educator in photography and visual communication. His projects explore the interactions of people with the landscape and the legacy that is left both physically and culturally.


The Invisible In-between: An Englishman’s Search For The Irish Border, is a visual interrogation into a place of uncertainty, the UK/EU land border, during a time of uncertainty; the period between the triggering of Article 50 and the withdrawal from the EU.


“Poyser invited the public to consider the impact of their referendum vote, on those living on the Irish border and how it will impact their future. He asks them to tear the photograph where they think the border is and write a comment about this period of uncertainty and Brexit. Nobody wanted a physical border the reaction and emotions were strong on all sides.”


Bridge over the River Fane


Sunken Border Boat


The Invisible In-between will exhibit in Republic of Ireland for the first time in December. There will also be a participatory Artist talk where registrants will be sent an image to tear during the talk. See the event here.



Thomas Wynne

Wynne is a photographic artist based in the Midlands who uses photography as a means to question imagery and to critique the medium of representation.


“My main area of interest is that of scientific documentary imagery, with particular emphasis on those that are shrouded in conspiracy.”


D.E.F.E. is a body of work which focuses on the declassification of UFO files and other sightings across the West Midlands. Thomas Wynne examines the photographic evidence, anecdotal scripts and employee notes of these reports. “This body of work explores the point at which, the line between truth and fiction blurs, the point in which conspiracy is developed”.


Antenna Tree from the project 'D.E.F.E.'


Thank you to all artists for sharing their work.


James Abelson - https://www.jamesabelson.co.uk/

Sam Ivin - http://www.samivin.com/

William Arkle Marsden - https://www.willmarsden.com/

Tristan Poyser - https://www.tristanpoyser.com/

Thomas Wynne - https://www.thomas-wynne.com/


Enter RBSA Photography Prize 2021

Deadline: 4pm, 20 January 2021

Sponsored by The Galliard Apsley Partnership


There are 4 prizes to be won including £1,000 1st Prize, £500 2nd Prize, £250 3rd Prize and a solo exhibition at the RBSA Gallery.


We welcome entries from professional and emerging artists based in the UK and internationally.


This year’s exhibition will be selected by Jennie Anderson, Director of Argentea Gallery, Nicola Shipley, Director, GRAIN Projects and Stephen J Morgan, Artist.


Enter online here: https://www.rbsa.org.uk/rbsa-photography-prize-2021


About Us

The Royal Birmingham Society of Artists (RBSA) is an artist-led charity which supports artists and promotes engagement with the visual arts through a range of exhibitions, events and workshops.


The RBSA runs an exhibition venue, the RBSA Gallery, in Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter, a short walk from the city centre.


See our visit page for current opening hours.


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Images © the artist or the artist’s estate unless stated otherwise.