Top photography honour for Ian Beesley

Posted on Monday 1st October 2012

Ian Beesley receives fellowship from RPS president, Roy Robertson.

University of Bolton MA Photography Programme Leader and renowned social documentary photographer, Ian Beesley, has been awarded an Honorary Fellowship of The Royal Photographic Society (RPS).

An RPS Honorary Fellowship is one of the most prestigious accolades a photographer can be awarded and celebrates Ian as one of world’s finest photographers. Ian received the Fellowship for his continuing dedication to photographically documenting social and industrial topics in the UK.

Ian was presented with his Fellowship at the RPS International awards ceremony at the Royal Society in London to the award is for individuals who have made ‘significant contributions to the art and science of photography’.

He said: ‘It feels fantastic but slightly surreal as I never imagined that I would receive such an award. There are only six awarded each year, so to be judged by your peers as being amongst the best of the best is unbelievable.’

Ian’s work is held in high esteem across the world and examples of his photography can be found in major collections in some of the world’s best known museums and galleries. These include The Imperial War Museum, The Victoria and Albert Museum, The National Museum of Coal Mining, The National Media Museum and The Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC.

And while a feeling pride and achievement is apt for Ian, he also has a sense of relief at finally being able to share the good news.

He added: ‘I have known for some time. The RPS wrote to me a few months ago offering me the Fellowship, but I had to keep it quiet until the awards ceremony; it was a very difficult secret to keep.’ Although he has achieved one of the highest honours in photography, Ian isn’t letting that get in the way of what he does best and, as always, is busy. His latest works have seen him concentrate on the health service in the UK and he is currently working on various projects across the sector.

He has recently been appointed artist in residence for the Accident and Emergency department at St George's Hospital London. He has also received three years funding from the European Social Fund to continue his work as artist in residence for Bradford Institute of Health Research.  

He has also been given five years funding from the Medical Research Council to work with the School of Community and Social Medicine at the University of Bristol on a research project on mid-life.