The Royal Photographic Society has launched a competition to recreate a never-forgotten scandal of Victorian photography – and update it for the digital age.
The competition – Modern Virtues, Modern Vices: Restaging Rejlander’s ‘Two ways of life’ (1857) – celebrates The Society’s forthcoming lecture and workshop series: ‘The Real Thing: Staging Manipulation and Photographic Truth’.
Printed from 32 separate negatives, combined in the darkroom to make a single image, Oscar Gustav Rejlander’s controversial work juxtaposed images of piety and debauchery to dramatic effect, and caused a public sensation in 1857, when first exhibited at the Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition.
Competition entrants will be asked to digitally combine and alter images to create a modern version of ‘Two ways of life’; a contemporary tableau of virtue and vice, which also acknowledges Rejlander’s masterpiece. The winning entry will receive a prize of £500 and a free year’s membership of The Society.
“We want to encourage people to try their hand at a wider range of photographic skills and have fun at the same time,” says The Society’s Liz Williams, who is organising the competition.
The selection panel for the competition, which will run from 1 November 2008 until 30th April 2009, comprises:
* Barry Senior, president, The Royal Photographic Society
* Mark Sealy, director, Autograph
* Camilla Brown, senior curator, Photographer’s Gallery
* Jane Fletcher, writer and curator
‘The Real Thing: Staging Manipulation and Photographic Truth’
The competition forms part of the wider lecture and workshop series. In 2009, the Society in Partnership with the University of Westminster; the National Media Museum, Bradford; and Laycock Abbey will run related events and workshops. Local groups of The Society will be holding their own events from April – July.
For more details of the competition and an application form, visit The Society’s website at: www.rps.org/education/Visual-Literacy-Conference-and-Events-2009