Our first meeting in 2021 proved to be a real treat. The first half followed a format which we had used before, namely a video of an interview of a noted photographer with examples of their work. That sounds quite a dry approach but interviewer Sue Brown FRPS didn’t have to work too hard to encourage Ria Mishaal FRPS to expand on the inspirations behind her work and the undoubted creativity of this highly accomplished professional photographer. In an engaging presentation Ria showed us her Royal Photographic Society award winning panels from Licentiate (LRPS) through Associate (ARPS) to Fellowship (FRPS) of that august body, explaining the intention behind each body of work and the technical and artistic approaches she used. Anyone who is successful at becoming a Fellow at a relatively young age must be driven by a strong desire for success and belief in their abilities backed up by formidable photographic skill. To combine this with creating a successful photographic business able to charge premium figures for single portraits is quite an achievement.
Ria’s LRPS portfolio in 1998 was a panel of 10 prints many of which had been taken on her travels with her father, an early photographic influence. Ten years later her ARPS panel of 15 prints displayed a more pared down and cohesive set of images of everyday architectural features of buildings showing distress from many years of use and pointedly having no human element. Subtle browns and blues in otherwise mainly monochrome images linked the whole together.
By 2018, Ria Mishaal had achieved the ultimate accolade of gaining Fellowship with an entirely different portfolio using a unique approach. Her FRPS panel of 21, 10 inch by 7 inch, prints was a series of portraits of children portrayed with their favourite animals using composite techniques. What came over was a patient and sympathetic approach to capturing studio poses, a disciplined approach to ensure consistent lighting across each element of the composites and a creative vision of how to create ha`rmonious images with a strong story line. A screenshot from this part of the presentation is attached.
After the break James Gibson showed each of the FRPS images again so that members could discuss them and point out which ones were there particular favourites and why.
To read and see more about Ria’s Animalia project take a look at the page about her print submission on the RPS website.