Online Member portfoliosSee Member Portfolios
Derek Birch ASIS FRPS
I have been a member of the RPS for over twenty years, actively participating as a member of the Imaging Science Group, serving on the group committee as secretary, vice-chairman and chairman. I am currently the Vice-Chairman of the Group, and as well as being on Council I am the Chairman of the Science Committee and a member of the Awards Committee and the Imaging Science Qualifications Board. In 2006 I took early retirement from my 33-year career as a research scientist and product developer with a large photographic company. During that time I helped develop amateur and professional products including high-speed colour negative films, colour print paper and graphics films. With my original degree in chemistry from Imperial College I became an Associate of the Royal College of Science (ARCS), and I am a Chartered Chemist and Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (CChem MRSC). My personal interests are rooted in the science and technology of imaging, spanning the entire range from historical photographs in the RPS Collection to the latest developments in digital imaging.
Geoff Blackwell ARPS
Walter Benzie ARPS
Vice - President
Having qualified as a member of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland with Peat Marwick Mitchell & Co in London, I moved overseas with Arthur Young & Co.
Returning to the UK some years later in a management consultancy role, the opportunity arose to become a founder member of Anova Chartered Accountants, a firm based in Horsham, West Sussex.
Having served variously as a committee member, treasurer and chairman I am currently privileged to be president of Guildford Photographic Society. In my spare time I am an active photographic judge at club and interclub level in the South of England.
My musical interests include a love of baroque and choral music; at the weekends I am also a keen dinghy sailor.
Robert Albright FRPS
Member of Council
I have been Regional Organiser for the RPS Western Region since 2005 and Chairman of The RPS Audio Visual Distinctions Panel since 2006.
My photographic interests are broad. I am a past Chairman of Swindon Photographic Society. In recent years I have had print acceptances in the London Salon of Photography, The RPS Members Exhibition, The RPS Panel Members Exhibition and the Digital Imaging Group Exhibition. I have won awards in and/or judged many AV events including The RPS International AV Championships, the Great Northern Festival, the Irish, Northern Ireland and Australian National Championships.
Robert Gates ARPS
Member of Council
I joined The Society in 1970. For 16 years I was on the committee of the Yorkshire Region, serving as Regional Organiser from 1995 to 2009. I am a member of the Historical Group, the Visual Art Group and currently secretary of the Contemporary Group. Recently, I was appointed to the Licentiateship assessment panel. I don’t specialise in any particular form of photography, but I now prefer to work on sets of themed images rather than stand-alone pictures. Current on-going projects include documenting Devil’s Water, which runs into the River Tyne near my home, and derelict lead mines in the Rookhope area of the North Pennines, which provided inspiration for the poet WH Auden.
Most of my working life was spent in ethical pharmaceutical distribution and I frequently moved around the country. I have been a member of camera clubs in Bradford, Milton Keynes, Sunderland, Halifax and Ilkley. Now retired and living in Northumberland, I am a member of Hexham Photographic Society.
I am particularly interested in the RPS Collection which is housed in the National Media Museum in Bradford, where I am a frequent visitor.
Dr David F Cooke ARPS
Member of Council (co-opted)
My interest in photography goes back to my childhood, influenced by my father’s enthusiasm for the art. With free access to his darkroom, I printed my own images. At school, I became the main magazine photographer and later at Leeds University, I worked on the weekly student newspaper as Pictures Editor, Features Editor, and then as Assistant Editor.
After graduating with a doctorate in combustion engineering, I first worked in industry and then in local government. My full-time career with the UK Open University began in 1988 as a Staff Tutor. I was promoted to senior lecturer in 1992 and for 6 years was Sub-Dean (Research) in the Technology Faculty. I am also a chartered engineer and a Fellow of the Energy Institute. I chaired the Institute’s Individual Case Procedure Panel for several years and currently I serve on the Accreditation and Approvals Panel.
In 2006, I joined the Royal Photographic Society and was awarded an LRPS in 2008 and an ARPS in Visual Art the following year. In March 2011, I gained an AFIAP.
At present, I Chair of the Digital Imaging Group and edit its quarterly magazine, ‘DIGIT’, and the Visual Art Group magazine ‘Visual Art’.
Vanessa Slawson FRPS
Member of Council (co-opted)
Vanessa has had a lifetime involvement in photography, starting at an early age as a keen amateur. She joined both Southampton Camera Club and The Royal Photographic Society as a teenager and this inspired her to formal train at Salisbury College of Art, which led to a full time career in photography.
She is involved with the international anti-drug and crime prevention initiative, Rock Challenge ®, to encourage young people to lead healthy lifestyles and to be their best without the need for tobacco, alcohol or other drugs. Her photographs from this performing arts event are used widely in its promotion.
Vanessa is currently Chairman of the RPS Licentiate Distinctions panel and a member of the Professional and Applied panel. As a member of the Advisory Board, Vanessa is also actively promoting photography and RPS distinctions to young people.