All posts filed under: Portrait of Britain

Portrait of Britain: Kovi Konowiecki on photographing liminal spaces

Kovi Konowiecki began his professional life playing football in Europe. He turned to photography to document his surroundings, and shed light on aspects of his identity that he did not quite understand. His focus has shifted from portraits of orthodox Jews – a series partially created in pursuit of learning about his heritage – to individuals living liminally between belonging and isolation. Last year, Konowiecki’s portrait of identical twins Dick and Clark won a place in the Portrait of Britain exhibition, and his photograph of Antonia and Franka, also twins, earned a place in the first ever Portrait of Britain book. In 2016, Konowiecki was also part of the inaugural Portrait of Britain, and his winning image was featured among 100 others as part of the award’s first public exhibition. Konowiecki has since been selected for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, and has exhibited his work in a group show in California. He is now preparing for a solo exhibition this Spring in Portugal. His first monograph, Borderlands, will be released at the beginning …

2019-04-01T13:53:46+00:00

A portrait of the real Brexit Britain

Documentary photographer Danyelle Rolla is proud of her roots. That much is clear from her portfolio, which reads like a guide to working-class Britain. Rolla grew up in Norris Green, one of Liverpool’s poorest towns – the type of town, she says, that the press misrepresents as a hotbed of crime and social decay. Out of frustration at this, Rolla has made it her mission to rewrite the narrative of the people and places that have shaped her, by photographing them in a more flattering light. The photograph that won Rolla Portrait of Britain 2018 captures Dotty, an older resident of Norris Green, Liverpool, outside the local pub. She is sporting a perm that might be from the Eighties, with shoulder pads to match. In fact, many of the scenes that Rolla photographs could be from other eras: from kitsch village fetes, to groups of skinheads in bomber jackets. In her playful, sometimes garish, images, she captures a Britain that seems to be longing for the past. This is the same Britain, Rolla’s photographs suggest, …

2019-04-11T11:46:15+00:00

A Portrait of Queer Britain

Britain, for all its charms, can be dominated by grey skies and gloomy headlines. So it’s uplifting to come across the work of Charley Williams, whose portraits of drag queens and LGBTQ party-goers show Britain as the joyful and free place it can be. Her work is rooted in Bristol, where she lives. This small city, in England’s West Country, is famous for being progressive, and it has a vibrant and liberating spirit that abounds in Williams’ work. Dominique Fleek, the image that made the Portrait of Britain 2018 shortlist, captures a drag artist transforming into character. Williams tends to find her subjects in nightclubs and at festivals, and as such, her portraits explore a queer and carnivalesque world. Ahead of Portrait of Britain 2019, we spoke to Williams about how photography can tackle intolerance and can move us towards becoming a more open and accepting society. What did you want to capture about your subject, and about modern Britain, with the portrait that you entered into Portrait of Britain 2018? The subject of my …

2019-03-04T13:00:54+00:00

Portrait of Britain: Carly Clarke on documenting a life-changing journey

Documentary photographer Carly Clarke has shot a remarkable array of subjects. One of her projects explores the modern epidemic of India’s ‘forgotten elders’, a generation neglected and abused by their adult children. An earlier project, in contrast, explores the lighter topic of a Sussex brewery, while a third gives a behind-the-scenes view of a group of UK fishermen at work. Though her subjects differ hugely, the common thread is Clarke’s fascination with the way communities live across the globe. Clarke creates her most compelling portraits, however, when she turns the camera on herself. Last Day of Chemotherapy, the image that was shortlisted for Portrait of Britain 2018, is part of her series Reality Trauma. Clarke started the series after being diagnosed with cancer, and the result is an unflinchingly honest stage-by-stage account of her chemotherapy treatment. This deeply personal, contemplative work, is proof of Clarke’s absolute dedication to photography, the art form that gave her hope during an extremely challenging time. The image that was shortlisted for Portrait of Britain 2018 is a self-portrait taken …

2019-04-11T11:45:36+00:00

“Incredible and inspiring”: stories of success from Portrait of Britain

Portrait of Britain 2019 is open for entries. Now in its fourth year, the groundbreaking award has grown an enormous following both at home and abroad; last year, it was featured across international media outlets, from The Guardian to Sky News. Portrait of Britain is now the largest exhibition of its kind in the UK, and each year 100 winning images are displayed on outdoor screens right across the country, with 200 shortlisted images collated into a Portrait of Britain book. Calling for portraits that capture the face of a nation in a historic moment, the award is set apart by both its unique scale and its timely subject matter. The kind of exposure that Portrait of Britain brings is invaluable for photographers. But how does it actually feel to be included in the biggest exhibition of contemporary portrait photography the UK has ever seen? To have your work celebrated in the press and on TV? And to be featured in a hardback book that people across the globe will cherish for years? We spoke …

2019-03-01T10:02:37+00:00

Calling all photographers to enter Portrait of Britain 2019

“These magnificent photographs capture at once the great diversity and the inescapable identity of the British people,” writes Will Self, in his introduction to the Portrait of Britain 2018 book, “Gay, straight, bisexual and non-normative; male, female and non-binary; old, young and in between – how can it be that these – every one a compelling identity in its own right — are nonetheless trumped by a Britishness as heavy and irresistible as a Dundee fruit cake?” Portrait of Britain – the biggest, most inclusive photography event in the country – is back. Now in its fourth edition, the award will again culminate in a nationwide exhibition, with the winning images displayed on JCDecaux screens in public spaces across the country. Following the success of the Portrait of Britain book, which we created for the first time last year, we will compile 200 shortlisted images into a book, to be published by Hoxton Mini Press and distributed across the globe. Since its inception in 2016, Portrait of Britain’s profile has grown exponentially. Last year it …

2019-02-15T10:44:39+00:00

Issue #7876: The Portrait Issue

Our annual portrait edition returns with Jono Rotman’s photographs of New Zealand’s most notorious biker gang; Faces Places, a collaboration between French filmmaker Agnes Varda and street artist, JR; Richard Billingham’s return home for his cinematic portrayal of Ray & Liz; and a selection from this year’s Portrait of Britain, our nationwide exhibition taking place across JCDecaux screens up and down the country. Our journey begins with Jono Rotman’s photographs of New Zealand’s largest, most notorious biker gang, the Mongrel Mob. Though he is looking at the subculture as an outsider, Rotman eschews a traditional documentarian approach to his subject matter. In doing so, the project’s scope extends beyond the mob itself to touch upon issues related to New Zealand’s charged colonial past and self-professed biculturalism, the politics and ethics of portraiture, and the intersections of seemingly disparate human experience. With Brexit on the horizon, Portrait of Britain has never felt so timely, putting citizens centre stage across high streets, shopping malls and major transport hubs throughout September, asking us to reflect on who we …

2018-10-01T10:18:54+00:00

In case you missed Portrait of Britain on Sky News

Ahead of the launch of the Portrait of Britain exhibition tomorrow, Marc Hartog, CEO of 1854 Media, appeared on Sky News with one of the 100 winning photographers Tom Oldham, to discuss the largest display of contemporary portrait photography ever held. “Competitions like these are great opportunities for exposure,” says Tom, “And they offer the chance to be featured among the greatest photographers in the country.”   As a platform, Portrait of Britain is unprecedented, exposing photographers’ work both to the public and the media. And this year, we have expanded that platform to the new Portrait of Britain book and online gallery, allowing people to see all of the photographers’ images in one place. The book, published by Hoxton Mini Press gives our audience the opportunity to really see this amazing tapestry of Britain, to delve in to the rich kaleidoscope of images, and to read the fascinating stories behind each of the faces. Portrait of Britain is a celebration of our country’s unique heritage and diversity. It’s also public art on an unprecedented …

2019-01-25T16:58:49+00:00

Meet our Portrait of Britain 2018 winners

This year marks the third annual Portrait of Britain exhibition. As much a showcase of photography as it is a celebration of our nation, Portrait of Britain is the largest contemporary portrait exhibition ever held. And for the first time since the exhibition’s inception, British Journal of Photography has produced a book in collaboration with Hoxton Mini Press, containing the 200 shortlisted entries, from which the 100 winners have been chosen. Among the winning photographs is Kovi Konowiecki’s portrait of East London twins, Dick and Clark – Kovi’s second winning Portrait of Britain image in the competition’s three-year history. In 2016, Kovi’s portrait of Shmuley, a young Orthodox Jewish boy, was also selected. “It is always cool to be a part of an exhibition with such a wide-reaching audience,” says Kovi. “Having been selected for Portrait of Britain a couple of years ago, it was amazing seeing my photograph across numerous screens and tube stations on my daily commute. It feels great to be a part of the exhibition again.” Joining Kovi in the exhibition is John Davis, …

2019-01-25T16:59:27+00:00

Portrait of Britain 2018 Shortlist Announced

“These images, in all their diversity, reflect something of the richness of this nation and remind us of what there is to be celebrated,” says Martin Usborne, Portrait of Britain judge and Co-Founder of Hoxton Mini Press, the publisher of the first ever Portrait of Britain book. “We hope the book is a powerful snapshot of a moment in our shared history that stands the test of time.” Over the past three years, British Journal of Photography’s Portrait of Britain award has gone from strength to strength. Originally conceived in 2016 in response to Brexit, the nationwide exhibition has flourished into a celebration of the many faces of modern Britain, reflecting the unique diversity of our country and its contemporary photographic talent.  This year, the Portrait of Britain competition saw a staggering number of entries. The 13,000 submissions were judged by an elite panel of photographic experts, made up of Simon Bainbridge, Editor in Chief of British Journal of Photography; Caroline Hunter, Picture Editor at Guardian Weekend Magazine; Olivia Arthur, Magnum Photographer; and Martin Usborne, …

2019-01-25T16:59:47+00:00

BJP Staff