Top image: ‘Eva’ for Vitiligo series. Photography by Brock Elbank.
The Portraits of Britain exhibition returns this September, a year after its debut last summer. The public exhibition, which puts Britain’s citizens at the fore of the work, will take place on digital screens across the UK in train stations, shopping centres, on high streets and airports. Taking art outside the four walls of a gallery, Portraits of Britain reached a third of the British population last year.
Following an open call by the British Journal of Photography in May this year, nearly 8000 portraits were entered, from which the final 100 have now been chosen. The winning portraits were chosen for both the diversity of their subjects and the photography styles.
As much as the exhibition is about the celebration of photography, it is equally a celebration of the country’s people. Whilst the majority of the subjects are individual portraits of citizens, several of the portraits were captured as a result of a wider story. An example of this being Jenny Lewis’s photograph of Corinne Jones, a survivor of The Grenfell tragedy: “I don’t think I’ve ever felt more responsibility to show the strength of a person and to create an appropriate image to reflect their story,” says Lewis
Exhibiting the work of both professional photographers and amateurs, Portraits of Britain ultimately exists to serve a unifying purpose. When speaking of the open call BJP’s editorial director Simon Bainbridge said, “Portraits of Britain comes at a time of uncertainty and self-examination for the UK. But our exit from the EU provides an opportunity to reflect on our identity and think about our place in the wider world. Portrait of Britain provides a chance to quietly reflect on that through portraits, capturing the unique heritage and diversity of our people, free of a divisive rhetoric of politics.”
Portraits of Britain runs from 1st September to 30th September.
You can view the full selection of the portraits here,