Student work at RBSA photography prize event


Caitlin Ryan, a BA (Hons) Photography student, has been selected for the 2023 RBSA Photography Prize. For the past five years, the RBSA Prize Exhibition has been dedicated to showcasing and celebrating photography. We found out about Caitlin's experience being nominated for the award. This year’s exhibition was selected by: 

  • Jaskirt Dhaliwal-Boora, Winner of the RBSA Photography Prize 2021 
  • Max Kandhola, Photographer and Principal Lecturer at Nottingham Trent University 
  • Nathan Tromans, Associate Professor and Head of Birmingham Institute of Creative Arts at Birmingham City University.  

Photography lecturer Nicholas Priest, who has supported Caitlin throughout her degree, said: “I, Jaskirt and Jocelyn are over the moon for Caitlin to be one of the selected photographers for the RSBA 2023 prize. The RBSA first launched in 2015, and the RBSA Photography Prize exhibition celebrates photographic artwork by emerging and established photographers. There will be an awards evening on the 2nd of March, and we wish Caitlin the best of luck from all the selected photographers.” 

Caitlin’s work   

Caitlin said: "For the 'Context of Photography' brief during my course, I investigated and explored the theme and title of 'The Everyday'. After a vast amount of research, I created a project around areas such as the cost-of-living crisis, freedom of speech, the homeless, minimum wage, body dysmorphia, social media, petrol prices and fast food. My work highlights the importance communities and individuals can make when they stand together and cooperate to make a difference in our world."

Caitlin’s photograph for freedom of speech uses research from Doretha Lange’s portraits in the Great American Depression, Duane Michaels’s surrealistic approach and use of time-based techniques in his work, and Jim Goldberg’s use of text and image within his work. Caitlin took inspiration from how all these photographers use different approaches to prompt and push context. 

Caitlin’s RBSA photography prize experience.  

This opportunity has allowed Caitlin to see how her effort and dedication to her subject have paid off. Our students’ work makes a lasting impact, and as Caitlin has shown, this impact has been recognised beyond her degree level. 

Caitlin said: “Even as a student, you can increase your audiences and get your name out there. Having my work up in an art gallery has made me see that there are opportunities out there for people like myself to be recognised and that the work that I am creating for university is so much more than just creating work for a brief.”  

Being displayed in the RBSA gallery, Caitlin’s work will reach all kinds of people, from photography enthusiasts to everyday individuals. Through this accessibility, others can engage in further dialogue with Caitlin’s work. 

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