All posts filed under: Portrait of Britain

When shooting portraits, I often feel awkward, and I invite that awkwardness to begin with: Harry Flook on creating a compelling portrait

Harry Flook is a Bristol-based writer and photographer, whose photographic work is rooted in his personal experiences. Having left his own religious faith, he embarked on ‘Apostate’, a project photographing those who had done the same, and he stumbled across a vast community of ex-religious individuals while doing so. Making this work then culminated in another project, ‘Beyond What is Written’, set in the heart of ‘bible belt’ America and addressing the subject from a different perspective. Both series explore the concept of community outside religion, for people whose sense of community was once constructed by the religious groups they were a part of. Harry entered a portrait from ‘Apostate’ into Portrait of Britain last year, and it was displayed across the country as part of our nationwide exhibition. We spoke to Harry about the value of awkwardness, choosing the perfect subject, and creating a compelling portrait. How did you create your selected portrait, and what was the story behind it? This portrait was shot as a test for a project I’m still working on, …


This was a highly personal and difficult project for me to make: Lauren Forster on her Portrait of Britain People’s Choice portrait and intimate series

Lauren Forster is a photographer and lecturer in Lens Based Media at The Arts University Bournemouth. Her work addresses sociological issues and the human condition. Many of her projects have maintained a particular focus on religion, illness and disability. Her most personal series, ‘Ground Control to Mother Hen’, documents family life since her mother’s secondary brain cancer diagnosis in 2016, which has now been rendered inoperable. The series captures strength and fragility during dark moments of pain, struggle and loneliness. The resulting images offer an intimate insight into this period of loss and transition. Forster’s portrait was selected by BJP’s editorial team as one of their favourite weekly Portrait of Britain entries. It was then voted as the People’s Choice favourite by Facebook users, becoming our first weekly winner. The portrait depicts Forster’s father in his Salvation Army uniform. Since his wife’s diagnosis, he has given up his life’s work serving as a missionary in Africa to care for her in the UK. This portrait reunites him with the sense of purpose and identity that …


A Portrait of Britain: I wanted to give a face to the girl I was and the girls who are

Carolyn Mendelsohn is a portrait photographer and filmmaker based in the UK. Her most recognisable body of work, Being Inbetween, is a continually evolving series of portraits of girls aged between ten and twelve. The work arises from Mendelsohn’s own memories of this age, and the desire to give a voice to this undefinable age-group. Using short interviews and powerful portraits, Mendelsohn reveals each of the girls’ identities, telling us stories about the young women of tomorrow. Mendelsohn describes the series as partly collaborative; she lets her subjects choose how they are represented, from picking their outfits to how they should stand. Her selected photograph for Portrait of Britain 2017 depicts 10-year-old Alice, who stares indomitably into the camera, evoking a classical painting. The image is an account of female strength and its many forms. How did you create your selected portrait, and what was the story behind it? The portrait of Alice is from my long-term project Being Inbetween. Before the sitting, Alice had filled out and returned a simple form with questions about her …


Rosie Matheson on how being selected for Portrait of Britain 2016 has helped shape her career

London-based photographer Rosie Matheson has worked on a number of editorial projects for clients such as Nike, Adidas and The Financial Times, whilst evolving her own self-initiated projects. Her most recognisable series, Boys, celebrates the diverse and vulnerable beauty of young men. In 2016, she entered one of the photographs from the series, Elliot, into Portrait of Britain, and the image instantly became an iconic marker of British inner-city youth. Since her great achievement for Portrait of Britain 2016, her work has gone from strength to strength. She has begun a new project in LA, whilst also working towards releasing Boys as a book. Rosie has been featured in several publications, including Dazed, i-D and The Culture Trip, garnering national attention with her intimate, documentary-style portraits of young men and women across the world. Can you tell me about the photograph you entered into Portrait of Britain in 2016? I was first made aware of the subject of the photograph, Elliott, through a mutual friend. At this time, around December 2015, Elliott was spending most …


British Journal of Photography is calling all photographers to enter Portrait of Britain 2018

View our gallery of last year’s winning portraits for inspiration here. BJP welcomes entries for the third edition of Portrait of Britain, the UK’s biggest public art exhibition “I was thrilled to be chosen as one of the photographers showing in Portrait of Britain,” says 2017 winner Brock Elbank, “I love the idea of the gallery being in a public space, and part of my portrait practice has always been to champion the complexities and beauty found in ‘ordinary’ people and everyday life.” Portrait of Britain is an exhibition by the people, for the people. Each year, 100 winning photographs are exhibited on JCDecaux screens nationwide, which appear on high streets and roadsides, and in transport hubs. The accessibility of the exhibition goes hand in hand with its subject matter – as much a celebration of our country’s people as it is of photography, Portrait of Britain aims to reflect the many faces of modern Britain, and to show the unique culture and diversity of its people. From casual snapshots and selfies to images from …


BJP Staff