Author: Sarah Roberts

Portrait of Humanity: Protectors of the land

“Madgo and Lokkhmi belong to the Dongria Kondh tribe,” explains Karan Kumar Sachdev of the subjects of his winning Portrait of Humanity 2019 image. “I stayed with them in their village in the Niyamgiri hills for a few days.” The tribe are a marginalised community in the south west of Odisha, India, an area that has been at the centre of a land dispute for several years. The Indian government has been campaigning to mine for bauxite in the area since the early 2000s, which the residents of the Niyamgiri hills have fiercely contested. For hundreds of years, the Dongria Kondh tribe, along with the Kutia Kondhs, and many communities of Dalits, have lived peacefully in quiet and inaccessible hamlets on the slopes of the Niyamgiri hills, but have found themselves having to fight to preserve their way of life, and their land. “The Dongria Kondh are a tight-knit community,” says Sachdev. “They are entirely removed from urban, or even rural, society as we know it.” The discovery of bauxite (a sedimentary rock that contributes …

2019-11-29T14:07:00+00:00

Portrait of Humanity: The Special Eagles

“Last year, the Special Eagles made it to the Amputee World Cup in Mexico,” says Jack Lawson of the football team he photographed on a beach in Nigeria – an image that was later awarded a position as one of the winning images in the first ever Portrait of Humanity award, and will now be exhibited across the globe as part of the touring exhibition. “Football has given them all a way to embrace their disabilities and do something positive.”  Limb amputation is a common procedure in Nigeria, particularly among young men. Primary causes of amputations are diabetic complications and trauma, such as road accidents. The Special Eagles refuse to be held back by their disabilities, and have made a name for themselves in Nigeria for their success on the international Amputee Football League. Earlier this year, they reached the final at the Amputee Football African Cup of Nations, a feat celebrated by Nigeria’s minister of youth and sports.  “I wanted to show their pride at being part of the team,” says Lawson, “But also …

2019-10-28T15:37:27+00:00

Portrait of Humanity: The undiscovered work of Michel Kameni

In the first week of October 2019, the work of Michel ‘Papami’ Kameni was shown for the very first time, in the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair at London’s Somerset House. The photographs explore the rapid evolution of postcolonial Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon, from 1963 onwards – many of the images had not been seen since they were shot 56 years ago. The cultural transformation in the photographs is astounding; from portraits from the 1960s that show sitters wearing traditional Cameroonian garments, to the Western impact that takes hold in the late 1970s, and the mixed religious influence in the area. How the photographs made it from a small studio in Cameroon to being exhibited worldwide is also an astounding feat. Photographer and filmmaker Benjamin Hoffman stumbled across the studio when he was in Yaounde four years ago, attending the premiere of a documentary he shot there. After getting stuck in traffic on his way to the screening, the cab he was in took a detour through a part of the city he had …

2019-11-04T11:17:24+00:00

Magnum’s 2019 Square Print Sale begins

Beginning at 8AM EST on Monday 28 October, and running for five days until midnight on 01 November, the public will be able to purchase signed or estate-stamped, museum quality prints by the world’s leading photographic artists, for only $100. This opportunity comes once each year, this time bringing together works centred around the theme ‘Hidden’.  Celebrating photography’s function as a vehicle for showing what is neither accessible nor visible to the majority of us, each of the 100 images shed light on the things around us that are otherwise overlooked. From remote societies to elite fraternities, and isolated places to objects so common we don’t stop to look at them, the photographs reveal hidden things, places and lives.  In some cases, it is the images themselves that are hidden; Thomas Hoepker has shared an unseen portrait of Muhammed Ali. On hearing about the ‘hidden’ theme, Hoepker “grabbed some folders of old negatives, and unexpectedly found another Muhammad Ali picture that I had totally overlooked until today.” Other images obscure or conceal; Susan Meiselas photographs …

2019-10-28T11:55:46+00:00

Portrait of Humanity: Defying the Myth

Photojournalist Carol Allen-Storey explores complex humanitarian and social issues, particularly amongst women and children. Much of her career has been spent working with young people in Rwanda — she has documented the country’s teenage pregnancy epidemic, and teens living with AIDs, as well as the Amahoro generation growing up in the shadow of the Rwandan genocide. This year, Allen-Storey is one of Portrait of Humanity’s judges, looking for work that captures our shared values of individuality, community and unity.  Most recently, Allen-Storey has been shooting an ongoing body of work in the UK, called Defying the Myth, which documents both the daily joys and struggles for families who have a child with disabilities. “The goal is to raise public awareness about the challenges of managing these children and the impact it has on family life,” explains Allen-Storey, “especially the trauma and mental health impact it has on the mothers.”  The resulting images are intimate and complex, showing moments of resilience, love and compassion. Allen-Storey sees the series as a collaboration; “I engage with the mums …

2019-11-07T16:48:16+00:00

Portrait of Humanity 2020 is now open for entries

This year marks the second edition of Portrait of Humanity, an annual international award inviting photographers to share work that captures the many faces of humanity, and to document the universal expressions of life; laughter, courage, moments of reflection, journeys to work, first hellos, last goodbyes, and everything that happens in between. What’s normal to one person might be extraordinary to someone else. After an incredibly successful first year, which welcomed applications from across the globe, the fifty winning images are now embarking on a global tour, stopping at LagosPhoto Festival in Lagos, Nigeria, Louisiana State Museum as part of PhotoNOLA Festival in New Orleans, USA, and Organ Vida International Photography Festival in Zagreb, Croatia. The coming year will be no different, with exhibitions already confirmed at Photoville Festival in New York City, USA, and Capa Center in Budapest, Hungary. Portrait of Humanity is a unique opportunity to exhibit your work at multiple venues around the world. Last year, the winning images captured intimate moments from every continent. In her photograph Surfing Iran, Giulia Frigieri …

2019-11-27T16:24:35+00:00

Kate Phellini is EyeEm Photographer of the Year

Kate Phellini hails from Warsaw, Poland, where she splits her time between photography, graphic design and blues dancing; “a social dance, similar to swing”. Phellini’s interest in blues dancing has given her a physical focus through which she can explore her main interests in photography – non-verbal communication and body language. “It’s led me to engage photography and dance, my two biggest passions,” she explains. Phellini has been named EyeEm Photographer of the Year. Her win means that this year she will become EyeEm’s ambassador, be exhibited alongside the finalists at Berlin Photo Week, and featured in the 2019 EyeEm Awards Magazine. Her other prizes include a membership to British Journal of Photography, more than $3,000 in photography gear, and a Magnum mentorship.  Among the 10 category winners are those occupying the titles of The Architect, The Minimalist, and The Photojournalist. Marlon Villaverde, who won in the latter category, was chosen for his series The Image, which traces a statue of Christ in Lucban, the Philippines. The statue is believed to have been created between …

2019-10-21T10:04:56+00:00

Portrait of Humanity: Meet our three overall winners

As part of the prizes for the inaugural Portrait of Humanity award, three photographers have been given first, second and third place, each receiving a share of a $10,000 award grant, to create a project related to the movement. In first place, and receiving $5,000 is Priscilla Falcón Moeller, whose winning portrait was taken in Regla, a small borough of Havana, Cuba. “When I took the photograph, my project Teddy Bear Dream was in the midst of completion,” she explains. “I had found a community that made me feel at home and connected, we’d spend hours in the local park playing and dreaming.” On one of those days, Falcón saw Orlando resting on the merry-go-round. “His gaze struck my soul, I kneeled and took his portrait,” she says. “After I took it, he did not move and I did not speak. It was powerful.” Falcón Moeller plans to use the grant to complete a project she has been working on for the past two years. “Pain from the Faith explores and gives a voice to …

2019-10-21T17:30:29+00:00

Female in Focus: Buttons For Eyes

Priya Kambli physically manipulates old family photographs and then rephotographs the altered artefacts. In her Female in Focus winning series, she employs a variety of materials, particularly those that are grounded in everyday use. Flour, turmeric, and strips of wallpaper embellish old pictures of her childhood in India. “I re-contextualise these familial associations for my own artistic and creative purposes,” explains Kambli, “But also as a way of embellishing my past and connecting it to the present.”  The photographer is interested in using her own experience of emigration to contribute to the broader cultural debate on migrant narratives. “As significant political forces try to suppress the concerns of those who are perceived as different, the need to present a variety of perspectives is simply more urgent,” says Kambli. “Sharing our stories has a civic and social impact.” While Kambli’s need to decipher and address her family photographs is personal, the work always touches on universal themes, with the potential to start a dialogue about cultural differences and global similarities.  Kambli describes the process of creating …

2019-10-03T13:24:25+00:00

Female in Focus: Cosmic Drive

“Cosmic Drive primarily explores the way humans handle ignorance,” says Katinka Schuett of her Female in Focus winning series, which examines the contradictory spheres of fantasy and hard science. “I am interested in our perceptions of space, and the question of whether or not life can be found in the universe.” Schuett is as concerned with fantasy as she is with facts, merging the two to consider the illusions we create when there is a void of information.  The photographer’s interest in outer space was initially people-driven – she began Cosmic Drive by photographing people who catalogued possible UFO sightings and extraterrestrial phenomena in Germany. “I’m fascinated by humans’ preoccupation with things that are not visible or tangible,” explains Schuett.  Many of her photographs play on clichéd tropes of space travel. In one image, an alien lies on a hospital bed as if undergoing a medical examination, its face an exact replica of aliens in Hollywood films and science fiction books, and in another, an index finger is bright red and lit up, like the …

2019-09-26T16:01:23+00:00

BJP Staff