All posts tagged: individuality

Portrait of Humanity: You Have Nothing to Worry About

In 2017, Melissa Spitz was named TIME Instagram Photographer of the Year, for her deeply personal Instagram account, cataloguing her mother’s struggles with mental illness. Spitz employs the platform to open up a conversation about mental health. One of her captions begins: ‘The first time I thought my mom killed herself I came home to find our house in a mess…’. Her account comprises beautifully shot portraits, screenshots of personal conversations, and archive footage of her mum from Spitz’s childhood. The work is arresting in its honesty; “I’ve been embarrassed by my mum for my entire life,” says Spitz. “So it’s been very liberating to say ‘fuck it, this is my mum, this is my life’.” Through her Instagram account, Spitz has built the community and support system that she lacked growing up with a mentally unwell parent. “I think about when I was a teenager and my mum was really bad, and I spent my time locked in my room to hide away,” she explains. “Had I had a community, I wouldn’t have felt …

2019-12-19T15:18:44+00:00

Portrait of Humanity: My Americans

“In Chinese, the name for the United States of America translates to mean ‘the beautiful country’,” explains An Rong Xu, who has been documenting Chinese Americans for the last seven years, as part of his ongoing series My Americans. “Chinese people have been migrating to America since the 1800s, and their history has been intertwined ever since.” Xu was drawn to photograph America’s Chinese population after realising the extent to which they have been historically overlooked. “No Chinese workers are shown in the photograph of the Golden Spike when the Transcontinental Railroad was completed, although it was largely built by them,” he says. “They have been considered the perpetual foreigner. Regardless of how many generations and countless contributions they have made to American history, they will never be seen as American.” Xu’s photographs acknowledge and celebrate the enormous contribution the Chinese population has made to American society. The series is largely shot in New York City, where Xu resides. The images depict the city’s vibrant Chinatown, where traditional New Year celebrations involve Americanised floats, and …

2019-12-19T15:18:43+00:00

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 …

2019-12-19T15:18:42+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 …

2019-12-19T15:18:34+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 …

2019-12-19T15:18:30+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

Portrait of Humanity is coming to Clear Channel screens near you

We may have only just finished welcoming entries to Portrait of Humanity, but we are now eagerly preparing for the next steps in its global journey. Following on from our international call for entries, which welcomed thousands of images from photographers across the globe, judges now face the daunting task of whittling these down to the winning entries. There will be 200 shortlisted images, 100 commended, and finally, 50 winning photographs. At each stage, photographers will receive worldwide exposure to the photographic industry, international press and general public. Hoxton Mini Press, who created our first ever Portrait of Britain book in 2018, will be binding together 200 shortlisted images in a Portrait of Humanity book, to go on sale worldwide later this year. And we are pleased to announce that up to 100 commended photographs will also be displayed on Clear Channel Out of Home screens across the globe. Our partnership with Clear Channel gives us access to some of the world’s best placed digital screens, which we will be repurposing for Portrait of Humanity. We …

2019-10-21T15:19:27+00:00

Portrait of Humanity: Can photography change the world?

Can photography change the world? It seems like a lot to ask, especially in our age of over-saturation; as of 2018, a staggering 95 million photos and videos are uploaded onto Instagram every day. It’s more difficult than ever for a photograph to have an impact –  we’ve all seen it before, and we’ve probably taken a picture of it too. Yet, despite this, certain photographs still have the power to astound. In September 2015, one image dominated newsstands. The picture, which has come to be known as ‘Death of Alan Kurdi’, showed the dead body of a three-year-old Syrian refugee washed up on a Turkish beach. Publications rushed to post it on their front pages, and it spread at lightning speed online. Suddenly, the devastation of the Syrian war was visible, in a way it hadn’t been before. There’s no formula for measuring a picture’s impact, but there was a discernible shift. The image stirred empathy and urgency among both politicians and the public. The refugee crisis became a central focus in the 2015 …

2019-10-21T15:18:29+00:00

Portrait of Humanity: The Anonymous Project is restoring our collective memory, one colour slide at a time

When filmmaker Lee Shulman bought a box of vintage slides from Ebay, he was hoping for some blurry snaps to flick through on a Sunday afternoon, and maybe a picture or two to keep. But when they arrived, ‘I nearly fell off my seat.’  What he saw amazed him: here were hundreds of snapshots of strangers’ lives. The poses were instantly recognisable: children grinning over birthday cakes, couples squinting on the beach – the simple magic of unstaged life, captured in rich Kodachrome colour. The price of colour photography plummeted in the early Fifties, allowing people to snap away with newfound freedom. But the chemicals that produce the slides fade over time. If the photos were to disappear, then with them so would the memories of our collective human experience – and Shulman didn’t want to let that happen. With the help of a friend, photo publisher Emmanuelle Halkin, Shulman created The Anonymous Project. A Paris-based nonprofit, its aim is ambitious: to collect, scan and catalogue all colour slides produced since the Fifties. Since starting …

2019-10-21T17:06:06+00:00

BJP Staff