Fractured Stories: Five standout submissions

Energy for Change: Fractured Stories, a BJP commission supported by Ecotricity, offers a unique opportunity for one photographer to develop their own creative approach to documenting fracking in the UK. Looking beyond the headlines, the series should approach the subject from a new perspective. The winner will receive a £5,000 project grant; travel and accommodation expenses will also be covered. The series will receive extensive coverage on BJP’s website, including three dedicated features.

The project period for Fractured Stories will last six weeks, from mid-August to the end of September 2018. During this time, the selected photographer will have the freedom to structure the commission as they see fit. They may choose to travel around the UK or remain in one location. This flexibility will allow for the series to evolve in line with the practitioner’s experience on the ground.

The competition is free to enter and open to all photographers. Simply submit examples of your work here before Tuesday 10 July 2018, 23.59 (BST) to be in with a chance of winning.

Below, we present some of the best entries so far.

Sophie Gerrard

© Sophie Gerrard
© Sophie Gerrard

Sophie Gerrard is an award-winning photographer specialising in contemporary documentary stories with environmental and social themes. Gerrard studied photography at Edinburgh College of Art, before completing a Masters in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at London College of Communication.

Her first major project, E-Wasteland, was awarded a Jerwood Photography Award, a Fuji Bursary and a Magenta Fast Forward Award. She has since been shortlisted and nominated for the Prix Pictet award several years running and the 2015 Remote Photo Prize. Gerrard’s work, both editorial and personal, has been published widely by publications including The Guardian, FT Magazine and Le Monde; she has exhibited internationally in solo and group exhibitions.

In 2012, Gerrard co-founded Document Scotland, a collective of internationally acclaimed photographers dedicated to chronicling social, cultural and economic life in Scotland. She is currently a lecturer in photography at Edinburgh Napier University and a member of the board of trustees for Impressions Gallery in Bradford. Gerrard is represented by The Photographers’ Gallery, London.

About the submitted work: Drawn To The Land is an ongoing and exploratory project that takes an intimate look at the contemporary Scottish landscape through the eyes of the women who are working, forming and shaping it.

Working and living in a male-dominated world, women have a significant yet underrepresented role to play in farming in Scotland. Farming some of the most inhospitable and isolated rural areas of the country, these female farmers have an intense and remarkable relationship with the harsh landscape in which they live and work.

This project aims to explore the domestic landscape as well as the physical, following the emotional story of the land as much as the historical and geographical. The women’s personal and physical stories reflect the wider story of our national identity and emotional relationship with the environment.”

Kevin Faingnaert

© Kevin Faingnaert

Kevin Faingnaert considers himself a social documentary photographer, mainly focusing on small groups and communities that are removed from mainstream culture.

In 2017, Faingnaert received first prize in the ZEISS Photography Awards. He was also selected to participate in the prestigious Joop Swart Masterclass in November 2017, where he worked on The ZAD, a series about the largest rural protest camp in Europe. His work has been published by numerous publications, including The New York Times, WIRED, VICE, and National Geographic.

About the submitted work: Jiu Valley is my latest series and explores the last surviving bastion of the Romanian mining industry. The Jiu Valley stretches along the Southern Carpathian Mountains and was heavily industrialised during more than 40 years of communist rule. The factory workers and miners were the country’s pride: idealised and portrayed as heroes. In 1979, the mines employed over 179,000 miners; now, there are under 10,000. Presently, in 2018, there are still five active mines, but, outdated technology, poor conditions and strict EU limits are forcing them to shut down by the end of the year.  

Everything in the Jiu Valley’s towns used to revolve around the industrial centres. Everybody worked there; the community’s celebrations, sports events and cultural activities were funded and organised by these centres. In most towns, no new jobs have been created since the industrial centres were closed, and now, with the last mines shutting down, people are uncertain of their futures.

I spent one month in the Jiu Valley in the winter of 2017. I explored this quiet mono-industrial community, with a focus on the changes in the landscape; the relationship between man and his environment; and the reality for the men who are now facing forced retirement.”

Miguel Proença

© Miguel Proenca
© Miguel Proenca

Miguel Proença’s practice is rooted in documentary photography; his work explores questions of identity within the social and territorial landscape. In 2011, Proença graduated in Audiovisual Communication Technology from the Polytechnic Institute of Porto. Currently, he is studying for an MA in Documentary Photography at the University of South Wales. In 2015 he co-founded COLECTIVO, an experimental research platform which focuses on documentary photography.

About the submitted work: “During the Cold War, soon after the first satellite launched into space, the Soviets began to develop an automatic system capable of retaliating potential nuclear attacks. The mechanism, based on a series of transmitted codeword messages known as monoliths, worked by pushing a button to trigger a counter-attack. The West nicknamed it The Buzzer.

As the information warfare between Russia and the West escalates, this project – entitled The Buzzer – explores these political tensions and the complexities of living shaped through the memories of an impending past.”

Pawel Jaskiewicz

© Pawel Jaskiewicz

Pawel Jaskiewicz received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Arts in Poznan; while studying there, he also completed the exchange programme at Central Saint Martins in London.

He has photographed under the guidance of Magnum photographers Antoine D’agata and Jacob Aue Sobol. Jaskiewicz’s photographic works have been exhibited in both Germany and Poland.

About the submitted work: “Zenith is an imaginary point, located directly above a particular location. Perspective from there turns the landscape into a pattern, creating an ideal, objective order – also imaginary. However, this is a theory. Real perception develops out of an empirical experience, filtered through a subjective view.

Zenith is a body of work that collects topographic views on various non-places. Marc Auge coined the term to describe places without enough significance to be thought of as proper places; however, this also comes down to subjective perception. As man alters the landscape, it becomes an imprint of the perception of both the creator and the user, thus existing as evidence of their actions and intentions. Even when in perfect order, from up above, all places are subjected to a constant reformulation. That is the subject of this story.”

Beccy Strong

© Beccy Strong
© Beccy Strong

Beccy Strong began practicing photography following an international career in broadcast film and documentary; working for the BBC, Channel 4, National Geographic, Discovery, and France Trois. Strong’s photographic practice explores questions relating to our changing relationship to nature and the impact this is having, both internally and externally, on the landscape and world around us.

About the submitted work: Kay Jane Browning is a collaboration with the transgender man Kay Jane Browning, exploring notions of gender and identity, memory and change as he makes his journey of transition.”

Fractured Stories is closing soon. The competition is free to enter and open to all photographers, based anywhere in the world and working in any format. Don’t miss out – the deadline for submissions is Tuesday 10 July 2018, 23:59 (BST).

Fractured Stories is a British Journal of Photography commission made possible with the generous support of Ecotricity. Please click here for more information on sponsored content funding at British Journal of Photography.