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Historic RBSA launches first ever photography competition for autumn exhibition

Taking the theme of urban life the exhibition explores the diverse applications of photographic technology

Robert Neil, President of the RBSA.

The 200-year-old Royal Birmingham Society of Artists has broken with tradition to launch a photography competition.

The St Paul’s Square-based charity – which has amassed a collection of more than 800 works of art including paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture, ceramics and jewellery, rarely exhibits photography – the last exhibition is believed to have been held 80 years ago.

Taking the theme of urban life the exhibition explores the diverse applications of photographic technology such as analogue and digital photography, as well as lens-based mixed media.

Approximately 100 works will be selected and exhibited across two floors of gallery space later this year, with a top prize of £1,000 and further rewards for runners up.

Robert Neil, RBSA President, said the landmark exhibition marks a turning point for the artist-led organisation.

“While the boundaries between fine art and photography become increasingly blurred, this exhibition will allow us to assess how we move forward as an art society in response to new media,” he added.

The RBSA is one of the oldest Art Societies in the UK and played an important part in the Pre-Raphaelite movement. Sir John Everett Millais and Sir Edward Burne-Jones both served as presidents.

Prize-winning photographer Jon Tonks is one of the judges and a guest artist for the photography exhibition.

Mr Tonks is originally from the West Midlands and since 2007 he has been working on a long-term personal project taking in remote British Overseas Territories in the South Atlantic Ocean. This work has culminated to form his acclaimed first monograph Empire.

The deadline for entries is June 24, and application packs can be downloaded from the RBSA website.

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