“The floor is covered with the plastic ammunition from the session that ended before I went in, one of the obstacles in the darkened corridor has a print out of a zombie figure used as target practice. The pillar has a splash of red paint to suggest blood.” Joe Pettet-Smith has gained access to a zombie apocalypse experience centre, where our fascination with the end of the world becomes a reality. What would you do if you were the last survivor?
“People might not have a lot, but they will give you what they can. That’s true of so many Irish people. They’re a very warm and friendly and welcoming people. They will tell you stories and their lives and give you their time.” Josh Adam Jones, a student at the University of West England, Bristol, developed his project 99 Peace Walls whilst volunteering at Belfast’s photo festival this summer. The youth of the city helped him to understand the divides that are still ingrained into the culture there, and how, in spite of this, there is a warm community to be found throughout the city.
“This portrait does not simply show a man who earns a living as a tattoo artist but the reason why that living is so important to him – his family,” says Jamain Gordon, reflecting on the portrait of Ricardo and his daughter outside their home and tattoo parlour in the South American country of Guyana. “It was Ricardo who wanted to have his daughter in the photograph and the warmth of their relationship can clearly be seen.” The image is now featured in a photobook, One People, One Nation, One Destiny, which shows the traditions and culture of this small but proud country.
“The beautiful blooms seemed lonely and desolate. Sadly, it reminded me of the fact that soon it would be razed to the ground, into dull but common urban landscape with standing skyscrapers,” says Lv Meng. His photograph comes from the series Urban Fringes which explores the growth of megacities as the slowly expand outwards and take over the countryside.
“I could picture myself as this little girl. The photograph has a reminder of the escape into a childish world, full of power and imagination and carelessness. You would not lie down next to the buffet during the party as an adult unless you are not sober.” Natalia Poniatowska’s entry to the BJP Breakthrough Awards 2017 is an outtake from a wedding renewal ceremony, which was taken quite by accident whilst the photographer was looking at lighting in the room. The image shows loneliness but also the power of children’s imagination.
“This image documents a transcendental fact in the life of the person portrayed: Amadou had just been rescued from the sea by a European vessel,” says Dezfuli. “Apparently his dream is fulfilled. However, fear, mistrust and uncertainty are present, as well as determination and strength.” For his series, Passengers, photographer Cesar Dezfuli took a sequence of 118 photographs in 120 minutes as a boat load of refugees were rescued just off the coast of Libya. These people had journeyed from different countries looking for a better future in Europe.
“We are criticising everything; art, science, politics, animal rights, human rights, simply anything we can imagine. Yet we continuously declare our opinions as correct under our perfect profile pages. Are we really so good? I don’t think so,” says Karakas. Her project, The Anatomy of Things, transports her subjects to an altered reality, where everything is perceived to be perfect and everyone looks the same. This disquieting vision plays with our ideas of perfection and our global obsession with curating our lives online.
The 22 year-old has shot Poundbury and Milton Keynes, among others, to pick out how we shape the environment – and how it then shapes us. “I quickly realised the importance of human presence within these urban environments; how we change them over time and how the environment changes us.”
“The work that I make tends to comment on contemporary issues that disproportionately affect young people,” says Ollie Ma’, whose big projects to date were inspired by Grand Theft Auto and Adam Curtis
Luke Richard’s project Under Black Sun reflects on the rise of far-right politics in contemporary Italy through the concept of the New Man – a form of idealised masculinity created by Mussolini during his reign as dictator, and propagated through various forms of meticulously controlled media. Appropriating the virile symbolism and values of Ancient Rome, the New Man model drew on Rome’s imperial history to whip up support for the New Italy that was to be delivered under a Fascist government – a pattern Richards believes resonates today.