With just shy of 1000 entries to the single image category of BJP’s International Photography Award this year, the three runners-up did exceptionally well. Erik Ahman was selected for a shocking shot of a Golden Dawn victim in Athens; Jennifer Bruce for a tense photograph of hostel residents being strip-searched in Johannesburg; and Federico Floriani for an unusual black-and-white image. “The final four images selected are really strong, and importantly they show variety in terms of their style and content,” commented Bruno Bayley, editor of UK Vice and a member of the judging panel alongside Sean O’Hagan, photography critic for The Guardian and The Observer; Alexia Singh, editor-in-charge of the Wider Image Desk, Reuters; Sarah Thomson, head of art production, Fallon London; and Hannah Watson, director of Trolley Books and the TJ Boulting gallery.
“For me, Jennifer Bruce’s photograph stood out for being one of the most engaging in the selection, full of awkwardness and humiliation, and covering a relatively under-reported situation,” Bayley added. “It was moving without being as confrontational or viscerally shocking as Ahman’s photograph from Greece – which was shocking to the extreme. Ahman’s image stood out for me as it was one of the only violent images in the whole selection. And though shock shouldn’t be the only thing in a photograph, I do think this was powerful as an image, and one which underlines a very worrying development in Greek politics.”
“Ahman’s image is certainly disturbing and literally in your face, it has a dark message of our times and for the photographer to be there in the middle of things getting the picture with a steady hand is not easy,” agreed Hannah Watson. [bjp_ad_slot]
“I particularly liked Federico Floriani’s black-and-white photograph of the dog that seems to be jumping though smoke towards a small house with a gnome standing guard outside,” commented Sean O’Hagan. “There’s a kind a kind of magical realism at work here that reminds me of a softer Anders Petersen and which made it stand out stylistically from all the other photographs we looked at. I think it’s a strong – and varied – shortlist.”
The single image winner, which was taken by Jane Hahn, will be printed by Spectrum Photographic – one of Europe’s leading fine-art printers – and exhibited at TJ Boulting in February, along with the series category winner. The BJP’s International Photography Award has been running since 2005, and previous winners include: Edmund Clark, a two-time nominee for the Deutsche Borse Photographic Prize; Chloe Dewe Mathews, winner of the 2014 Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography at the Peabody Museum, Harvard; Peter di Campo, co-founder of the lauded Everyday Africa tumblr and Giulio di Sturco, a previous World Press Photo Award winner.
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