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Meet California: A handful of the strongest submissions so far

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Meet California will give four photographers the opportunity to road trip across the Golden State on a 10-day British Journal of Photography commission, in partnership with Visit California. All trip expenses will be covered and, among other prizes, each photographer will receive a £2,500 project grant.

While in California, the four competition winners will each produce a photo series that responds to their experience traversing the vast and diverse destination. Steering clear of generic picture-perfect travel photography, each body of work should delve beneath the surface of California and reveal the daily occurrences and unexpected nuances, as well as the people and places, that give America’s Golden State its distinctive character.

Entering the competition is easy. Simply submit some examples of your work before the deadline – Thursday 28 June, 11.59pm (BST) – to be considered by the judges. Meet California is open to all photographers, at any stage in their career, from any country. Your work can be shot on film or digital and be of any style or subject matter.

Below we share a handful of the strongest submissions to date.

Kate Peters

© Kate Peters

Kate Peters is an award-winning British photographer. Splitting her time between commissions and personal projects, she focuses on “creating thought-provoking and emotive images” that span multiple genres. Her work has been exhibited around the world including a solo show at HPGRP Gallery in New York. A selection of Peters’ portraits also feature in the National Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection. The photographer regularly undertakes commissions for major publications. In 2012, the Guardian Weekend magazine commissioned Peters to photograph 32 Olympic hopefuls including Sir Chris Hoy, Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah. In 2010, her portrait of Julian Assange featured on the cover of TIME.

About the submitted work

“The work submitted is from a number of individual series that are all concerned with creating a sense of timelessness and a sense of place. Much of my work is about alluding to an implied narrative, a sense that something has or is about to happen.”


© Kate Peters

Jeff Hahn

© Jeff Hahn

Jeff Hahn is a Swiss-Chinese photographer currently based in London. Upon graduating from the London College of Communication six years ago, Hahn was drawn to fashion photography, shooting for the likes of Tank, i-D, InStyle and Elle. Recently, the photographer’s interest has shifted to focus on portraiture and documentary. In 2017, Hahn released Port Yarin. The project aims to explore ethnicity and identity through the depiction of a fictional town populated with racially ambiguous subjects. Through a combination of portraits and landscapes, the series puts forth a new future identity that embraces the “melting pot of influences that forms our construct of ethnic identity.”

About the submitted work

“The work that I’m submitting comes from various projects: a stranger cast from Instagram in Tel Aviv; a blurry skyline in a resort town in Malaysia; lovers in a motel set-build, shot in a studio; a body floating in the Dead Sea; a model on the streets of Hong Kong. Together these images hopefully communicate the central themes of my work: intimacy and emotion, swathed in saturated hues of dusk and neon lights.”


© Jeff Hahn

Chris Hoare 

© Chris Hoare

Chris Hoare is a Bristol-based MA Photography student. He is currently in the process of developing two bodies of work that have been in-the-making for several years – one of which he submitted to Meet California. His specialism is narrative-led work. “I am most comfortable working on the street, slowly wandering with my camera and embedding myself within communities that I meet along the way,” he says. “I am interested in creating feelings through open-ended projects and am fascinated by the possibilities of the documentary genre; how collections of images can – through symbols, metaphors, portraits, landscapes and more – become narratives in themselves.”

About the submitted work

“The images submitted are from The Worst Poem In The Universe, an ongoing project which will hopefully be completed later in 2018 with a final trip to Australia. The project explores the supposed fortuity that Australia affords its citizens, using a book written in 1964 by Australian writer Donald Horne named Lucky Country as a starting point. The work is an allegory about Australia, told through symbols of luck, portraits of its citizens on the margins and landscapes of its unique vernacular architecture. The title itself is in reference to a poem written by Gina Rinehart – the wealthiest person in Australia – and the way in which the poem has been described.”


Kalpesh Lathigra

Straddling art and documentary photography, Kalpesh Lathigra’s practice seeks to challenge perceived notions of narrative. Having spent seven years covering news and features for major UK newspapers, in 2000 he switched his focus to long-term projects, as well as magazine and commercial assignments. In 2003, Lathigra embarked on a project documenting the lives of widows in India, for which he received The W. Eugene Smith Fellowship and Churchill Fellowship. The photographer continues to work for leading international magazines on documentary and portraiture assignments alongside personal projects. Currently, he is working on two new bodies of work. City by the Sea explores Mumbai through using ideas of perceived and real memories from Lathigra’s childhood as well as identity relating to his Indian heritage. Discarded Fruit comprises a series of photographs made in response to the Syrian conflict with emphasis on those seeking refuge.

About the submitted work

“Wilmington Mingo was initially planned as a classic American road trip – New York and Los Angeles are beacons of the American Dream as we know it, whether through Hollywood, literature or music. Instead I decided to focus on microcosms in the country – communities including Wilmington, a small city on the West Coast, and Mingo Junction on the East Coast. The latter lies in Ohio, in the rust belt of America, where unemployment is high and the main streets are shuttered. Wilmington, a small borough in an industrial hub, may lie on the opposite side of the country, in California, but its residents are facing the same struggle to make ends meet. Having grown up in a blue collar community in the UK, I approached these places from a deeply personal point of view. When the economy struggles, people feel that they are ‘the ones that are hit the worst yet try the hardest’.”


Kenny Hurtado

© Kenny Hurtado

Kenny Hurtado lives in Long Beach, California. He first engaged with photography at the age of 20 while working for a surfing publication. Four years later, in 2007, he left the magazine to study Photography at The San Francisco Art Institute. Today, Hurtado works according to what he describes as a “lyrical documentary style,” using the medium to explore how people connect to land and water. Since 2013 he has been working on a personal project documenting the evolving landscape of northern California.

About the submitted work

“When I was 10-years-old my mother said that she envisioned me living a simple and quiet life in the woods of northern California. I never thought much of it until I visited the landscape 20 years later. My first trip for this project was in 2013, motivated by a feeling which I had about the place, and I kept returning. My mother passed away in April 2017. After her passing, my trips north seemed to gain clarity. I gradually began to realise what she meant: the more I visit and spend time in rural northern California, the more I see my own self in the landscape and among the people who live there.”


© Kenny Hurtado

Meet California is now open for entries! The competition is free to enter and open to photographers anywhere in the world. Enter now by simply submitting examples of your work – you’ve got until 11.59pm (BST) on Thursday 28 June.

Meet California is a British Journal of Photography commission made in partnership with Visit California. Please click here for more information on sponsored content funding at British Journal of Photography.


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