All posts tagged: Portrait of Humanity

Portrait of Humanity: Inside North Korea

“I’m interested in the dynamics between power and ordinary people,” says Fabian Muir. “Especially in nations and societies that operate outside of Western norms.” Muir has travelled to North Korea on five occasions, each time conducting a photographic survey of everyday life in the country. His work interrogates Western perspectives of North Korea, which are often focused on the stark differences that autocracy bestows on the people living there. “Ordinary people in such countries invariably demonstrate the same positive human traits one can find all over the world,” explains Muir. “I try to bring these out where possible.” Muir’s winning Portrait of Humanity image was taken in an orphanage in Nampo, a port town on the west coast of North Korea. He notes that when he first entered the orphanage, the children had been running around, playing. “They were given some kind of cue by a teacher to arrange themselves beneath the leaders’ portraits,” he says. “The idea had been for a more posed portrait with the children looking into the lens, but instead I …

2019-05-22T12:03:28+01:00

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

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 …

2019-01-15T15:17:42+01:00

Meet Hakan Kalkan, our Portrait of Humanity People’s Choice Winner

Hakan Kalkan has been featured as one of The Guardian Editor’s Picks of the best Portrait of Humanity entries so far, but it took a while for him to discover his aptitude for portraiture. The Istanbul-based Turkish / British photographer nurtured an amateur interest in photography alongside a career in finance, but he initially focussed on landscapes. Gradually, his interest shifted to portraiture, and he now uses his camera to tell people’s stories. The image that our British Journal of Photography followers voted as their favourite of The Guardian Editor’s Picks show a young Turkish boy tending to the rams on his family’s farm. It’s bright and busy, and a perfect example of what Kalkan calls ‘capturing the soul of moment’. We spoke to Kalkan about the story behind the picture, and what being part of Portrait of Humanity would mean to him. Can you tell me about the photograph you entered into Portrait of Humanity? What is the story behind it? Turkey is a large and diverse country, and I’ve been trying to capture …

2019-01-11T11:48:26+01:00

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 …

2019-01-10T13:14:51+01:00

Meet Leander Varekamp, our Portrait of Humanity People’s Choice Winner

Portrait of Humanity provides photographers with the chance to share portraits of everyday life around the world, with the world. The aim is to explore and celebrate the many faces of humanity. That’s also the aim of Holland-based documentary photographer Leander Varekamp, whose image was selected by The Guardian editors as one of their favourite Portrait of Humanity entries so far, and voted by our followers as their favourite of the picks. The image, a crisp black & white portrait, is part of a series on Burrneshas – Albanian women who have chosen to live their lives as men. With only a few dozen Burrneshas left, the tradition is quickly dying out, and Varekamp is using portraiture to ensure that this little-known phenomenon is not forgotten completely. Since Varekamp discovered a talent for photography at the age of 17, he has used his camera as a means of investigating communities – such as Burrneshas – that intrigue him. As he puts it, ‘the camera opens doors that would otherwise remain closed’. We spoke to Varekamp …

2019-01-10T13:11:23+01:00

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 …

2019-01-10T13:09:57+01:00

Portrait of Humanity: The Guardian’s David Levene on capturing the city

David Levene has spent many years photographing for The Guardian, and in particular for their EyeWitness series, which he cites as some of his best work. Beyond The Guardian, Levene has undertaken a great number of projects for charities, photographing the unique challenges, but also the similarities, of people around the world. His interest in that which connects us makes Levene the perfect ambassador for Portrait of Humanity, a project seeking to prove that there is more that unites us than sets us apart. David Levene’s book City combines over 14 years of work shot across 62 different cities, from the suburban banality of Walthamstow, London, to the congested streets of Tokyo’s Shibuya crossing, and the homeless camps of San Francisco. The book provides a startling glimpse into the diverse forms of urbanity that exist around the world. With more than half of the world’s population now living in cities, Levene’s photographs tell a powerful story of people, place, and modern life. City is set to be re-released soon as a revised edition, with a …

2019-01-10T13:03:13+01:00

BJP Staff