Dominic Hawgood scoops BJP's International Photography Award series category with Under the Influence
“I want people to think about what is being presented to them, and to ask questions: where were these images taken? Is this a studio setup or a documentation of real life? I want people to make up their own minds,” says Dominic Hawgood of his project Under the Influence, which has won the series category of BJP‘s International Photography Award.
Inspired by the evangelical Christianity popular amongst African communities in London, Hawgood’s series mixes photography, lighting design and CGI to create a highly stylised take on deliverance and exorcism – that hints at the theatricality that accompanies these rites. Strikingly different to current trends in photography, it was selected the winner from 733 entries by Erik Kessels, curator and founder of KesselsKramer creative agency; Brett Rogers, director of The Photographers’ Gallery; Emma Bowkett, photography director of the FT Weekend Magazine; Bruno Ceschel, director of Self Publish, Be Happy and SPBH Editions; and Hannah Watson, director of TJ Boulting gallery and Trolley Books.
“The winner and runners up of this year’s BJP photography competition show that an idea or a story together with a strong execution become more and more crucial in the practice of a photographer,” commented Kessels on the panel’s choice. “This made the judging fairly easy and made the selected works stand out from the others.”
Hawgood graduated from the prestigious photography MA at the Royal College of Art this year, and exhibited his work at the Hyeres Festival de Mode et de Photographie in 2013; he also works in advertising, however, having “made my way through the studio and assisting route”. He wins a show at London’s TJ Boulting gallery in February 2015, which leading fine art lab Spectrum Photographic will help produce.
“I think it’s interesting that Under the Influence was chosen,” comments Hawgood. “It now sits in relation to an award that has strong documentary content, yet my work comes from a very different place. Such a decision help supports the concept for the series, which aims to blur the distinction between what can be understood as factual or fictional. Winning such an award has come at a great time, there’s growing interest in my practice and it’s really important I can make the right connections, so I’m very pleased to have been given the opportunity.”
The BJP’s International Photography Award has been running since 2005, and previous winners include: Edmund Clark, a two-time nominee for the Deutsche Borse Photographic Prize; Chloe Dewe Mathews, winner of the 2014 Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography at the Peabody Museum, Harvard; Peter di Campo, co-founder of the lauded Everyday Africa tumblr and Giulio di Sturco, a previous World Press Photo Award winner. The IPA also includes a single image prize, which was this year won by Jane Hahn.
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