Facundo Arrizabalaga has won the single image category of the British Journal of Photography's International Photography Award with this image, which shows protesters standing by a vandalised bus stop during a student demonstration against university tuition fees in central London, 24 November 2010. Lines of police were holding back thousands of protesters in Britain's capital city, in a wave of protests against higher tuition fees and university budget cuts. Image © EPA/Facundo Arrizabalaga.
"I like it because it's a standalone image," commented Monica Allende, picture editor of The Sunday Times Magazine. "It's very well composed and I like the lighting. I like the way he's managed to capture the guy in the foreground of the image who isn't engaged with what's going on around him. It's very topical, it's very relevant to us [at the present time]. It's capturing the time."
She was discussing Facundo Arrizabalaga's shot of the London student protests in November 2010 - protests which ended up in civil disobedience that prefigured the 2011 riots in Britain. Arrizabalaga's shot was one of more than 350 entered into the single image category in BJP's International Photography Awards this year, and it was picked out as the winner by Allende and her fellow judges - Hannah Watson from Trolley Books and Lauren Heinz from Host Gallery.
Allende added that the image "has got quality and it's got content", with Watson noting that while it wasn't the only image of riots entered into this year's IPA, it was the only one that depicted the event in an engaging way. "It captures a quiet moment during the riots," agreed Heinz.
Arrizabalaga is a freelance press photographer, who regularly works with the European PressPhoto Agency and the Independent on Sunday. Originally from Argentina, he is now based in London and his images have also been published by The Guardian, The Times, BBC, International Herald Tribune, Wall Street Journal, The Telegraph, The New York Times, The Observer, Time Magazine, The Financial Times, Photoshot and many more. He said he couldn't believe he had won - but added that the image was his favourite shot of 2010. "I am really happy because, above all, it is a press photo that has been chosen," he said.
"I was working for the European PressPhoto Agency on that day," he added. "The students were kettled by the police at Whitehall after a long day. Some protestors started to light a fire by a bus shelter near Downing Street and it was getting dark, a few of my colleagues were working around it. I decided to go to the other side and spotted the guy with the Arsenal [football] scarf and everything going on around him. I know I had something and moved in straight away."
Arrizabalaga's image will be printed and framed by Spectrum Photographic, and shown at Host Gallery (along with the series category winner) from 22-29 November, with a private view on 24 November. Arrizabalaga also wins a Sigma DP1x digital compact camera. BJP's International Photography Award has been running since 2005; the 2011 series category judged on 06 October.
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