All posts filed under: 1854 Awards

Portrait of Humanity: A portrait of Russia’s mining communities

In 2016, Maxim Marmur was commissioned by the Siberian Coal Energy Company to photograph more than 20 mining, preparation and transportation facilities across Russia. The commission inspired a personal body of work, shot entirely in black and white, that attempts to go beyond industrial imagery, and into the lives of the workers Marmur encountered. The result is a series of photographs that show the harsh conditions of daily life underground, contrasted with the close bonds and spiritedness of the workers. When Marmur’s shortlisted photograph was taken, Russia’s coal industry was the sixth largest in the world: 150,000 miners – many of them based in small mining communities in the vastness of Siberia – were producing 1.1 trillion tonnes of coal each year. The close bond between the  workers is crucial to their ability to withstand the difficult and dangerous working conditions of coal mining. “Underground, everyone teams up and becomes a single organism,” says Marmur. “The safety of all the workers in the mine depends on the actions of each one of them.” The photograph …

2019-05-13T18:17:10+01:00

Portrait of Humanity: “You can post this after I die”

“I hope this image allows people to embrace and honour their bodies at all stages of life,” says Tajette O’Halloran of her Portrait of Humanity winning image. Titled You can post this after I die, the photograph shows O’Halloran and her grandma, Ruth Schwartz, standing in just their underwear and smiling at one another. The photograph was taken in 2016, when O’Halloran was visiting her grandma one evening at her retirement home in Boca Raton, Florida. O’Halloran was hopping into the shower as Schwartz undressed to use her oxygen machine. “She looked at me and said ‘Oi Vey, what a figure!’” recalls O’Halloran. What ensued was a spontaneous and playful photoshoot, a familiar scenario for the photographer, who often used her vivacious grandmother as the subject of her photographs. “This image shines a light on my grandma’s charismatic and spirited personality,” says O’Halloran. “But society often fails to recognise elderly people as significant individuals in their own right.” O’Halloran hopes that the image lets people see beyond the limitations of her grandma’s age, and to …

2019-05-13T11:27:30+01:00

Portrait of Humanity 2019: Shortlisted and winning photographers

“Humanity is complex,” says Richard Tsong-Taatarii, whose photograph Not My Verdict has been shortlisted for Portrait of Humanity 2019. Tsong-Taatari’s portrait shows John Thompson being embraced in Minnesota, after speaking out at a memorial rally for his close friend Philando Castile, two days after a police officer was acquitted of all charges in Castile’s shooting. “I want to remind people that injustice cannot be swept under the rug,” explains Tsong-Taatarii. “This moment captures the pain and repercussions of systemic racism in our society.” Portrait of Humanity asked photographers to document the universal expressions of life: laughter, courage, moments of reflection, journeys to work, first hellos, last goodbyes, and everything in between. The submissions came from every corner of the world, and together, the winning and shortlisted images create a powerful and diverse Portrait of Humanity.  Fifty photographs will tour the world as part of one of the greatest collaborative photography exhibitions in history and 200 images are featured in a book published by Hoxton Mini Press. Alongside Tsong-Taatarii’s image, are photographs that show the big and …

2019-05-08T12:59:23+01:00

Female in Focus: “When making artwork, your gender matters”

Female in Focus is a new award that seeks to elevate exceptional work by female-identifying photographers.Throughout the submission period, we are speaking to photographers whose work encompasses the values that lie at the heart of the award. Pixy Liao’s work sheds light on traditional gender roles, asking us to question their place in society, and in particular, heterosexual relationships. “Our society has all kinds of expectations of us depending on our gender,” says Pixy Liao. “I’m interested in exploring who people would be if they didn’t have these expectations placed on them.” Liao has been shooting her series Experimental Relationship over the last 10 years. In the series of playful images, she subverts the traditional gender roles that lay the foundations of many heterosexual relationships, asking us to re-examine what is considered to be normal. Liao’s life and work are inexplicably intertwined, and Experimental Relationship is constantly evolving with her relationship. Drawing on life with her boyfriend Moro, who is five years her junior, Liao celebrates and examines their sex, gender and power dynamics. “The …

2019-04-30T09:57:04+01:00

Female in Focus Editor’s Pick: Breaking a routine

Our online editor has selected the best entries from last month’s applications to Female in Focus. Juliette Cassidy is the BJP team’s favourite of the Editor’s Pick selection, winning a feature on BJP-online. “I was amazed by Senegal,” says Juliette Cassidy, “the way the light shone on people’s skin, the country itself, and a lot of the clothes people wear.” Cassidy, a fashion photographer, took her second trip to Senegal last year. Shooting her series The Day I Went to Africa, the trip challenged her to step outside of her working routine and  photograph away from her usual environment, which was centred around studios and London’s fashion circuit. “I wanted to be emotionally and physically distant from what I was used to photographing,” Cassidy explains, “but at the same time, I wanted to maintain an element that felt familiar to me, which was fashion.” While in Senegal, Cassidy’s approach shifted. Instead of casting her subjects, as would be the case in London, she photographed  individuals that she met by chance. With no deadline or commission …

2019-04-30T09:55:25+01:00

Female in Focus: Acceptance or resignation?

“I became exposed to this completely different environment,” says Yagazie Emezi, speaking of her experience moving from Nigeria to the US. Having spent her whole life in Nigeria the photographer relocated to the US when she was 16 years old to study. The experience proved formative and has since become the focus of many of her photographic projects. “My work always stems from something personal,” says Emezi. This rings particularly true in the series Process of Re-learning Bodies, an ongoing project in which she explores the process by which people reclaim their bodies after becoming physically scarred. Looking at the fragility and endurance of the human form, and the acceptance of self within African communities, the project seeks to understand the emotional implications of being scarred, and how factors such as community, environment, and socioeconomic class can influence an individual’s psychological adjustment to their new, scarred bodies. “I have a very visible scar on my leg,” says Emezi. “Growing up in my hometown in Nigeria, I wasn’t self-conscious about the scar, because I was in …

2019-04-30T09:59:47+01:00

Portrait of Britain Editor’s Pick: Photographing London’s Kings of Colour

Maria Meco Sanchez originally photographed London’s Kings of Colour drag troupe as part of a commission. The aim of the images was to highlight the role of black drag kings and other performers in the London drag scene, which is a predominantly white space. “The photograph I entered into Portrait of Britain was of a gender-fluid performer named Coco,” Meco Sanchez explains of her subject. “They were very confident in front of the camera, which made the process easy and fun.” Meco Sanchez cites her photographic style as intuitive; she works without following specific rules, leaning towards spontaneity, although she admits that this can sometimes feel slightly chaotic.“I’m really bad at directing people,” she says, “so I try not to take too much control – I don’t want to strip away their persona”. Hailing from Spain, Meco Sanchez is now based in Bristol, where she is studying photography at the University of West England. Her work shifts between documentary, fine art and portrait photography, and her interests lie in people and emotion. “My work has …

2019-04-30T10:01:08+01:00

Female in Focus: “Let us take the reins of our own narrative”

There are many recurring Latin American stereotypes in the mainstream media: from fiery Latinas, sexy senoritas, and coercive lotharios, to violent depictions of the region itself. These two-dimensional portrayals often come from a homogenous Western perspective, and we see far fewer images taken by those who inhabit the continent themselves. Daiana Valencia and Celeste Alonso came together in 2015 to change this. Combining their dual expertise, the pair created Rueda Photos – a collective focusing on “themes with social context, referring to the territory, the gender issues and the current affairs that are specific to it”. Since its inception, the collective has completed a number of immensely successful projects. Their first collaborative work was shot in Haiti, where they covered the presidential campaign of Maryse Narcisse in the 2015 elections. The series, Candidate, follows the Fanmi Lavalas party nominee during a period which saw attitudes towards female politicians change in South America. Since then, three of South America’s biggest powers – Chile, Argentina and Brazil – have been governed by women. The collective’s most recent …

2019-04-30T12:18:26+01:00

BJP Staff