UK’s Royal Photographic Society Holds Contest to Re-Create a Scandalous Victorian Photograph

Two Ways of Life by Oscar Gustav Rejlander

UK’s Royal Photographic Society is holding a contest to re-create the visuals of a scandalous 1857 photograph and give it a modern twist.

Oscar Gustav Rejlander’s “Two Ways of Life” was a dramatic depiction of piety and debauchery in a single photograph, a composite of images from 32 negatives combined in the darkroom to make a single image. It was first exhibited 150 years ago at the Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition, in the time of Queen Victoria.

The RPS competition, titled The Real Thing: Staging Manipulation and Photographic Truth, asks entrants to digitally combine and alter images to create a modern version of Rejlander’s work. Entries are being accepted until April 30, 2009.

“We want to encourage people to try their hand at a wider range of photographic skills and have fun at the same time,” says The Society’s Liz Williams, who is organizing the competition. The competition is part of a wider lecture and workshop series.

Photo: RPS/Oscar Gustav Rejlander

Published by Chris Malinao

Chris teaches Lightroom as workflow software to photography students at the FPPF, Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation. He also teaches smartphone photography.