All posts tagged: Portrait of Humanity

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 …

2019-11-01T16:26:00+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 her 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 …

2019-10-28T15:54:41+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

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 …

2019-10-21T17:32:51+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: Love, life and death in Mexico

In Charlie Kwai’s winning Portrait of Humanity image, a young child stands drinking milk from a bottle, seemingly stunned by the camera, and dressed in a Captain America costume. The photograph was taken in Mexico City in 2016, just a few days after Donald Trump won the presidential election in the US. “To see a Mexican boy dressed as Captain America seemed ironic,” Kwai explains. “At the time, and since, the rhetoric from the US administration has been extremely negative towards Mexicans.” The image is typical of Kwai’s work. Up close and severe, it embodies the beliefs at the heart of his practice; that “a picture exists to create discussion.” Kwai has long-established himself as a confrontational street photographer, but he insists this is not the case, and that while the proximity between himself and his subject can often appear intrusive, it in fact reflects their intimacy. Starting out shooting on the streets of London, Kwai has since taken his high-flash, up-close approach to portraiture elsewhere, specifically Mexico. Basing himself in the country’s capital, his …

2019-10-21T17:26:06+00:00

Portrait of Humanity: Surfing Iran

Baluchestan lies on the border of Iran and Pakistan, and is considered one of Iran’s most dangerous regions. Often used as a trafficking route between Pakistan and Afghanistan, Baluchestan has become a perilous crossing, its people – the Baloch – caught between two much larger nations. A small village in the Baluchestan province, called Ramin, seems an unlikely spot for a surfing revolution, but it has become the centre of Iran’s Hijabi surfer movement. Photographer Giulia Frigieri was first drawn to Baluchestan after watching a documentary called Into the Sea, which followed Irish surfer Easky Britton, Iranian snowboarder Mona Seraji, and Iranian diver Shahla Yasini as they introduced surfing to the area. The school they set up there – We Surf In Iran – teaches men, women and children how to surf, how to craft their own surfboards, and about marine life and water safety. Surfing in Ramin, however, does not come without obstacles, particularly for women.“There is no adequate sportswear for Muslim women in Iran,” explains Frigieri. “Women have to wear multiple layers of …

2019-10-21T17:19:29+00:00

BJP Staff