“As a photographer, you are basically only able to create an image of how you see someone rather than maybe what is really there,” says Jenny Lewis, whose portraiture has been published in two books, and whose work was selected for the inaugural Portrait of Britain show
photography has the power to unite and create empathy, something that we, as photographers, should see as our obligation to the world,” says Ali Mobasser, who was one of the winners of BJP’s Portrait of Britain project last year. “Exhibiting using major advertising space was a brilliant idea,” he said of the initiative, “replacing its capitalist function with a humanist cause is genius. It’s a bit like secretly replacing someone’s cigarettes with carrot sticks, or opening up the Daily Mail to find the poetry of Rumi.”
How do you shoot a great portrait? It’s all about connection, says Dan Wilton, one of the Portrait of Britain winners last year. “Sometimes that can be hard – especially with very short shoots – but that’s one of the challenges and one of the reasons I love it so much.”
“Taking someone’s portrait is always a disruptive and often very awkward event. Everyone has their default portrait pose. The role of the photographer is to push beyond, to find that mysterious intimate moment that only a camera can freeze.”
Portrait of Britain, a nationwide exhibition showing the face of modern Britain, will close for submissions this Saturday.