2015: A year in review

23 December 2015

The RPS Journal

As 2015 draws to a close, a few key RPS Journal staff reflect on a fantastic year and select their favourite issues so far.
 

Andrew Cattanach

Brief job description

I am the acting editor of the RPS Journal. As well as commissioning and editing articles, I manage the overall project, seeing that the Journal moves through the production process as smoothly as possible. Because imagery is so important, my job involves lots of picture research. It’s vital that every issue has a good variety of images that represent the full extent of the Society’s work. Good quality photography is central to the Journal’s look and feel.

Favourite aspects of your role

For me, the most interesting part of my job is seeing an article take shape. I enjoy it when I receive images and text and start to picture how the piece will materialise on the page. I also savour the moment I first see an article laid out on the page. Our designer Matthew Ball can often take things in directions I never imagined. It’s exciting stuff!

Favourite photographer

This is a tough question, and the answer will always be changing depending on when you ask me. I’m impressed by photography when it introduces me to worlds I wasn’t aware of before. For me, this is so often the appeal of Victorian photography, for instance, and its ability to show me aspects of life otherwise unfamiliar to us now. For a while I’ve been mesmerised by Mike Brodie’s A Period of Juvenile Prosperity. The book documents Brodie’s travels across the US, walking, hitchhiking and train hopping. The images of his grimy, young friends sleeping rough instilled in me a mixture of emotions: concern, excitement, envy, and even mild disgust (they are very grubby!). It’s a challenging work that gave me insight into a subculture that I was previously unaware.



Favourite edition (so far)

I am a big fan of the August 2015 issue – the landscape edition. It felt so rewarding to take a single, albeit varied, subject and explore it from different angles. It felt systematic and thorough. It was also a pleasure to work with Charlie Waite FRPS. 

 

Matthew Ball

Brief job description

I designed the pitch and built the look of the magazine so what you get through your door every issue is down to me. Each month, I work with Andrew and Claire to build the pages and try to make them as readable and engaging as possible. I also make sure that the magazine is on brand to ensure consistency month to month. Picture editing is especially important to make sure I’ve captured the essence of photographers’ work and portrayed the meaning of the feature.

Favourite aspects of your role

Working with the photographs. It’s unusual for a designer to work with such a wide range of amazing work. I’m spoiled for choice. 

Favourite issue (so far)

This is quite a difficult question because the Journal is a really consistent piece of work and I’m pleased with the standard that is achieved each issue. I really liked the February 2015 issue, which was a women in photography special. I think special issues are a really good way to move forward with the magazine because you can easily group different aspects of photography into different disciplines and showcases one particular area extravagantly. The issue was full of interesting features and introduced me to photographers I had never heard of before. There was such a wide range of style and content throughout. As well as being able to showcase fantastic photography, we also offered practical advice on how to make an albumen print. I like combining work that inspires readers to adopt new techniques into their photographic practices.

 

The May 2015 cover is stunning and the context surrounding the Ebola crisis is pretty shocking. It’s a really emotional cover and the internal photography reveals worlds we’ve never really come across or been involved in through luck of growing up in the West. Quite often it can be very difficult building a feature because you’re trying to tell a story and show a complete aspect of a photographers work.

Favourite photographer

I’m a big fan of Harry Borden’s breath of work and really admire that alongside his celebrity-focussed top end work, he has personal projects of his own. I love that he went back and photographed the people who grew up with on his farm -it’s very powerful work. I met him at the RPS Awards Show in September and he was just a thoroughly nice chap.

 

My personal favourite photographer is a guy called Andy Shaw. I’ve got two of his photographs on my wall at home. I’m a keen cyclist, it’s my hobby and I’m also a coach, so I really like seeing cycling photographed well. He runs a photographic project focussing on the 50-year-old Meadowbank Velodrome. He’s photographed all the characters that have cycled there ranging from top stars including Chris Hoy to people like me. It’s a really evocative place: it’s really old and quite crumbly. His photographs really distil the sense of adventure that cycling evokes.  

 

Emma Wilson

Brief job description

I’m a publishing assistant, so I manage elements of the Journal’s production process. This includes scheduling, event listings and digital reproduction.

Favourite aspects of your role

I really enjoy hearing about the events members have organised and which one’s they’re looking forward to attending. Organisers put so much time and energy into their work, and the enthusiasm of the RPS community is very infectious.

Favourite photographer

Ansel Adams. I used to collect landscape photography postcards when I was young and his work always captured my imagination! You can get lost in the shadows and the depth of his images.



Favourite edition (so far)

That’s a tough one! I loved the February 2015 issue; it was a women in photography special. It was a real celebration of female photographers and the featured images were superb. I also liked the September 2015 issue – the cover was outstanding and if you haven’t read the Lee Miller article yet go and do it now! 

 

Jonathan McIntosh

Brief job description

As an editorial assistant, I help out with image research and monthly 365 members competition. Alongside this, I manage the Group Focus article, the Member Test Reviews and the My Favourite Camera features. I always try to help out whatever way I can.      

Favourite aspects of your role

I love the variety of the job. One day I can be researching images for the Member Guide and the next I can be interviewing famous photographers about their careers and most beloved equipment. I enjoy getting the chance to speak to such a passionate group of people who are so enthusiastic about photography.

Favourite photographer

I’ve mulled over this for a while and I’m still struggling to choose just one! I love the work of Tim Walker. His portraits are incredible and he’s captured some people I really admire including David Lynch, Vivienne Westwood and Ben Whishaw. His fashion editorials with Tilda Swinton are so captivating and their other-worldy, fairytale-esque qualities always leave me hypnotised. 

Favourite edition (so far)

I’ve only been part of the RPS Journal team for the past 6 months so I’m keeping my choice within this time frame. I really love the September 2015 issue. It had a brilliant cover and had great features on Albert Watson and Lee Miller. The October 2015 issue is my close second. Having admired his work for years, I thoroughly enjoyed the Wolfgang Tillmans feature.

Comments (1)

 
Germany
23 December 2015

Thanks for your outstanding work. It is always a pleasure to read through the Journals issues. Looking forward to 2016's issues!

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