Candid characters

The portrait exhibition championing Britain’s diversity
By Joey Levenson | Art | 2 September 2016

Elliott By Rosie Matheson

Top Image: Elliott By Rosie Matheson

Galleries are a bit passé, which is probably why the British Journal of Photography have chosen to showcase their new exhibition Portraits of Britain across nationwide streets. From railway stations, to shopping centres, to bus stops, you can expect to see these carefully curated portraits plastered about your every day life.

The exhibition itself is quite a wonderful achievement. It started a few months back, when British Journal of Photography (BJP) released an open call for photographers to submit their portrait work, and from there, they chose the 100 best photos that they believed truly represented our country. BJP’s editorial director Simon Bainbridge explained that they wanted “to show diversity in terms of who is being photographed, but […] also wanted to see different ways of photographing”.

Gallery: Selected works from 'Portrait of Britain'


The exhibition features a diverse range of portraits, some including celebrities (such as Stormzy and Stephen Hawking), and some including families, children, couples, people living on the streets. No matter class, race, age, creed; the subjects in these portraits are all stripped back in to their candid realness throughout the photographs.

Tina, Paul and baby Harleigh By Chris O’Donovan

Perhaps this is quite a fitting time for the exhibition to come around. In the midst of post-Brexit Britain, it’s clear that the country is standing on fractured grounds — the discourse of division is more prominent than it’s ever been. The exhibition works to highlight that, it works in spite of the current climate of change and uncertainty, and proves that what makes Britain thrive are the people who inhabit it. As the photos make clear, no fear mongering of pseudo-politics can tear that apart.

You can view the full selection of the portraits here, with some available to purchase. Alternatively, you can find them displayed across digital screens in rail, retail, and roadside locations nationwide until 30th September 2016.

Eva and Kyra, Merthyr Tydfil, 2015 By Tom Johnson


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