OK, so I’ve got a pile of prints and some blurb to describe what it’s all about, we’re now in the final straight. The guide in this is the RPS distinctions handbook which you can download from the RPS website, it’s superb – well written and very informative. It’s got pretty much everything you need to know about the process.
So on to the remaining actions:
1) Fill the application form in – possibly the easiest part of the entire process. What wasn’t easy was filling the cheques in – £180 in total, gulp. Not cheap, especially when you consider the cost of the Nomad box, courier costs, all the paper and ink I’d used, etc.
2) Book a place on an assessment day. The LRPS assessment days are more frequent than ARPS and FRPS, and also tend to be at the weekend. The ARPS ones tend to be during the week, but I couldn’t attend on the day – getting to and from Bath from Chorley during the week is a slog, especially if you need to be there before 10 – that’s a long day, and I wasn’t in a position to stay over as that would mean eating into my annual leave. In retrospect it was an inspired decision – on the day of the assessment I was laid up at home in bed with a virus, so I couldn’t have attended anyway.
3) Buy a suitable box. Nomad of Market Harborough are the recommended supplier, and I can back up that recommendation. When I called, they were in the middle of a stock check and couldn’t tell if the box I wanted was in stock. When I explained the urgency, they went for a look in the warehouse and rang me back to confirm. Good stuff – I like that kind of service.
4) Produce a hanging plan – this is basically the sequence of the photos so that someone at the RPS can see how to lay them out on the racks for the assessors to see. I also had to individually number each image on the back, just to remove any ambiguity.
EDIT 19/06/2011: 5) Pack the prints carefully! When I got my box back, it had taken a serious kicking, to the point that a dent had pretty much penetrated the box, and the hanging plan. Fortunately, the prints were bubble inside the box (the hanging plan was on top of the bubble wrap) so no damage was sustained. I don’t know whether the damage occured coming or going to the assessment, but if it had happened on the way down, and there had been no bubble wrap, then at least one of the prints would have been damaged. My advice – bubble wrap the package of prints inside the box if you’re using a cack-handed courier to ship your panel.
6) Finally, I arranged for Interlink to come and collect the box, and all I could do then was cross my fingers and wait!!
The result of course was worth waiting for, and given the amount of time, money and effort over the 3 years or so, I was mightily relieved! But of course, this was as much about the journey as the destination, and I feel that the process has made me a better photographer, and that alone was worth the time, money and effort.