History & Recipients

Centenary medal (small) The Society makes Awards across eighteen categories recognising exceptional photographers, scientists, curators, educators and those who have given exceptional service to The Society. 

Click on the links, right, to see a historical record of recipients since the first Award was made in 1878 up to the present day.  

Recent Award recipients have included photographers Don McCullin, Joel Meyerowitz, Terry O’Neill, Steve McCurry, Annie Leibovitz, James Balog and Martin Parr, and individuals Steve Sasson, Sir Ridley Scott, Tim Webber, Ren Ng, Philippe Garner, Sir David Attenborough and Dr Brian May CBE.

A call for nominations is made from late September for the following year's ceremony. The selection committee is made up of senior members of The Society and respected external advisors, working in different spheres of photography, who determine the eventual recipients. 

From 2010 - 2017 the ceremony was generously sponsored by The Macallan. The Macallan has an active involvement in photography through its Masters of Photography programme.


Jo Macdonald, Awards Manager,  can be contacted for more information on The Society's Awards. Telephone +44 (0)117 3164475 (direct line) or email: awards@rps.org