British TV Planning a Reality Television Show for Photographers


A British TV producer is working on a reality television show for photographers, in which up-and-coming artists will compete to become the country’s next big fashion (though they prefer the term ‘style’) shooter.

The show — which currently goes by the working title “Back to Front” — is being produced by Back to Front TV, sponsored by the Royal Photographic Society and hosted by a to-be-named top photographer for Vogue.

It will consist of a nine-part series in which the 11 contestants are given a new photographic challenge each week, with the results judged by a panel of three professional photographers. The pack will be winnowed down to three for the final episode, from which a winner will be chosen to get an image published on the cover of a major fashion mag and be given a gallery exhibition of their work.


Details on how photographers can apply to be on the show will be released in a few weeks, but producers say they’ll consider shooters at all levels.

“We would like to make this accessible to everyone in Britain, whether they [take photos with] an iPhone or a Phase One medium-format camera,” show creator Haider Mannan told Amateur Photographer.

Short-listed applicants will be required to attend a “workshop,” however, to show what they can do with a medium-format camera and studio lighting.

(via Amateur Photographer)

Image credit: Fashion Photography by CarbonNYC

  • Stefan Nilsson

    There’s actually a similar american show named The Shot resembling Top Model but with photographers instead. Unfortunately you didn’t learn anything but it could be worth a watch if you’re bored and able to find it.

  • radiancedeluxe

    lens grip in that promo shot? ugh.

  • Vak

    Obviously, the woman in the image doesn’t even know how to properly hold a camera …

  • Jonathan Maniago

    “Back to Front”. She seems to have spent more time in front of the camera rather than behind it.

  • harumph

    I remember The Shot being pretty entertaining, but I only saw the first season. They clearly seek out inexperienced photographers though, in order to make things more dramatic/infuriating.

  • NegativeSpace

    I have always wondered about a show like this… I think the challenge itself will be fun. each week pulling off a brief (although that is what we do in the real world anyways, but i’m sure there will be a sting in the tail of a few of the show briefs).

    Part of me would love to take part… Part of me thinks it will be awesome marketing for my work and my brand.

    But, just like the X Factor and The Voice, there will always be a vast reaction of “they are only popular/successful/famous because of the programme, and will over look the previous 8 years hard work that (in my case) has been put into skill and portfolio.

    Sure you will get to shoot whichever magazine cover comes with the prize, but I would be highly skeptical on how many more covers you would shoot following that, when the industry decides you are a reality TV star, not a photographer.

  • Genkakuzai

    Yeah why not take yet another model for that shot, rather than an actual photographer.

  • Genkakuzai

    Wohoo, yet another show featuring model photography, how exciting…

  • K S B

    Have you actually seen Lara Jade in action? I cringe whenever I see her hold her camera, but damn…her photos are amazing! I just wish she holds her camera the proper way to reduce hand shake.

  • harumph

    I think the US version of this show has already established that nobody is going to get popular/successful/famous from this. Unless you completely bomb, it can only help, but a photographer reality show is a far cry from X Factor or The Voice as far as launching anybody into a high profile career.

  • Joshua Tobias George Barrett

    In the end does it really matter how you hold your camera providing you’re getting the shots? Don’t get me wrong, I get where you’re coming from but for example there are many famous and extremely talented bassists who play with a ‘bad technique’ which a teacher would break a beginner out of straight away (forgive me, it’s just an example i can think of off of the top of my head) Despite it’s supposed negative impacts it clearly hasn’t hindered those who still manage to produce high quality work while practising them.

  • Richard

    Well said. Agreed.

  • Coop

    Wow I’ve seriously been wondering why there are no shows about photography. It’s like they’re out of stuff to reality tv, and make shows about parking or duck hunting, and still no photography coverage. Why can’t NatGeo make a show about photography?

  • Kevin Purcell

    Channel 4 in the UK already tried a 3 part “art photography reality” show called “Picture This” in 2008 with Martin Parr as the photgraphic judge, Brett Rogers of the Photographers’ Gallery (n London) and Alex Proud of Proud Galleries. Each week a different photographic task was set requiring a different photographic style and approach. The prize was an exhibition at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead and publishing deal for a photobook.

    Worth a look. It was an entertaining show. Nice to see Martin Parr in action (giving critiques).

  • radiancedeluxe

    that’s fine if it’s true. of course. but this is a promo pic for a show about real photographers, not some one-off example of a prodigy with punk technique. the model with improper technique kills the “cocoon of fantasy” that images like this are supposed to provide. who cares, but it’s a silly oversight.

  • AdminHarald

    There was no second season; it wasn’t renewed.

  • smoinpour

    This actually sounds entertaining and interesting!

  • Dover

    The photo really illustrates the influx of inexperienced, wannabe ‘photographers’ that have basically diluted the craft. Today you do not even need to understand the principles of photography. After all, you have iPhones and Instagram. What more do you need? The answer: Apparently nothing. No technique, no understanding of the way light behaves, no understanding of the way physics behaves, no need to understand how the camera actually works. Today’s skilled photographer just needs to know how to filter, upload and share.

  • Hank Smith

    Who wants studio lighting? You get any color temp you want, as long as its 5600k. You get any room temperature, as long as its 70 degrees. You get any kind of breeze you want, as long as its from a fan. You get any kind of snow you want, as long as its plastic snow. Gimme a real, genuine location in Minnesota at 10 degrees and a local model who thinks its beach weather.

  • Reality ?

    I’m still waiting for the behind the scenes “Reality” show about making a “Reality” show.

    Knowing TV programmers penchant for such programmes I doubt it will be long.

  • Peter Acker

    Still, at least the lens cap was off eh?

  • Dhaval Panchal

    NatGeo yes, every other channel, probably things proper photography is too niche, as the world is especially full of selfie taking instagram addicted hipsters who only use their iPhones, and have to make some sort of statement like #nofilter to gain some sort of kudos.

  • Adam Gasson

    I agree to an extent, it’s the end picture that matters. But there are a lot of benefits to holding a camera ‘correctly’ – it even tells you to hold it the opposite way in the manual!

  • Adam Gasson

    Eh? You can get whatever colour temp and room temp you want using gels. Anyone can point a camera at a model outdoors.

  • Grethe Rosseaux

    South Africa had its own version of this a few years ago – Sharp Shooter. I actually didn’t watch much of it, but it looked okay.

  • kizi 2

    Great job on this article. I like your viewpoints and I agree on a lot of your content. Thank you very much for sharing this.

  • Courtney Navey

    They should rename it Top Photographer b/c Top Model is all I could think about as I read this article.

  • Andrew Iverson

    I was going to comment that this reminded me of The Shot.

  • K S B

    Exactly my point!

  • PSAGuy

    More sheer goofiness.

  • Julian Makii

    Reality show based on photography seems to me really an interesting idea. Yeah in US, that kind of reality show has been broadcasted before on same concept. So, British viewers would be able find something new on TV.

  • David Miller

    There was another TV show that I read about in a photography magazine around a year ago now .. If I remember correctly they had 3 photographers all pro’s but from different fields .. they where told the location of the shoot prior .. but did not know .. who or what the task was .. If memory serves me correctly .. it was a Pilot episode . and the celebrity to be photographed was “Carol Vorderman”.. As far as I know the show never saw the light of day.