Why do we allow photography in the SPA in Fine Art?

Soo Burnell, After Swimming (Giclée Photo) from the SPA 2018 Fine Art exhibition.

Soo Burnell, After Swimming (Giclée Photo) from the SPA 2018 Fine Art exhibition.

Artists sometimes ask why we allow photography into the fine art award when there is a separate SPA in Photography. Photographers working in colour often ask the same question. The SPA in Photography is specifically for black and white images. The award is offered and the prize donated in the name of Richard Coward who was a notable black and white portrait photographer. We like the strength of black and white as a medium for photographic portraiture and appreciate the power of the exhibition when all these works are gathered together.

The SPA in Fine Art is an open competition . We hope one day to have other specific awards, for example for sculpture or for drawing or for any other medium. These awards would not preclude artists working in these mediums from also entering the open fine art competition. The same is true of photography. We tend to stress colour photography in the context of the SPA in Fine Art because we want all visual artists to know that there is a home for them in the SPAs - we don’t want photographers working in colour to feel excluded. In theory, there is nothing to stop an artist working in black and white photography from putting work forward for the open SPA in Fine Art. It may work better here if the work has been digitally mastered and if the artist believes the work is better seen on a larger scale.