Royal Photographic Society announces its 2019 award winners

The Royal Photographic Society (RPS) has announced the winners of its prestigious annual awards. Established in 1878, the 16 awards celebrate outstanding contributions to photography, spanning fields of art, science, education, film and publishing.

French conceptual artist Sophie Calle has been awarded the Centenary Medal, which was established in 1993 in recognition of a sustained, significant contribution to the art of photography. The photographer, writer, and educator is known for work that often depicts human vulnerability, and employs Calle’s own emotional and psychological life as a subject. Calle is also recognised for her detective-like ability to follow strangers and investigate their private lives.

RPS Vice President Del Barrett said: “As an artist and educator, Calle epitomises what the Society stands for.  I am particularly thrilled to see the Centenary medal awarded to a female artist for the second year running.”

Alix Marie has won the Vic Odden Award for a photographer aged 35 or under © Alix Marie
Collier Schorr won the award for Editorial, Advertising and Fashion Photography © Collier Schorr

Other female recipients include Anne Wilkes Tucker (Award for Curatorship), Collier Schorr (Award for Editorial, Advertising and Fashion Photography), Alix Marie (Vic Odden Award for a photographer aged 35 or under), and Laia Abril, who wins The Hood Medal for her photographic investigation, On Abortion, recognised for exploringan issue of public social concern.

Another five women are commended in the category of Honorary Fellowships. Professor Anna Fox, Joy Gregory, Clare Strand, Hannah Starkey and Carrie Mae Weems – who  all feature in the RPS’ list of 100 photographic heroines – are recognised for their intimate connection with the science or fine art of photography.  

Claire Strand is one of the five photographers commended for Honorary Fellowships © Claire Strand
Carrie Mae Weems has also been recognised in the category of Honorary Fellowships © Carrie Mae Weems

This year, British Journal of Photography editor Simon Bainbridge has won the Award for Photographic Publishing. He is recognised for his transformation of the magazine from a weekly trade journal into an award-winning monthly magazine, as well as initiating BJP’s annual talent platform Ones To Watch, the International Photography Award, and the UK’s largest annual public exhibition Portrait of Britain

The awards will be presented on 13 November at the Royal Society in London. A full list of this year’s winners can be viewed on the RPS website

Marigold Warner

Deputy Editor

Marigold Warner worked as an editor at BJP between 2018 and 2023. She studied English Literature and History of Art at the University of Leeds, followed by an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London. Her work has been published by titles including the Telegraph Magazine, Huck, Elephant, Gal-dem, The Face, Disegno, and the Architects Journal.