When we launched Portrait of Britain to national acclaim in 2015 – a project illuminating the many faces and stories of a divided nation post-Brexit – the movement seared with potential for worldwide potency. Portrait of Humanity was born from a mission to celebrate individuality, community and unity on a global scale.
More than an award, Portrait of Humanity is a product of our ongoing commitment to championing diversity and inclusion throughout the photographic industry. Open to anyone, anywhere, it’s a bid to shine a light on the most promising photographic talent of tomorrow — from home soil to the furthest corners of the world.
With just two weeks left to enter Portrait of Humanity 2020, we speak to our three overall winners from 2019 – based in Melbourne, Mexico and Nairobi, respectively – about their experiences. All three photographers were exhibited worldwide as part of the Portrait of Humanity Global Tour, published in hardback by the award-winning Hoxton Mini Press and covered extensively throughout international press.
When Tajette O’Halloran’s grandmother died, O’Halloran began to revisit old photographs. Talking to us, she relives the moments of her winning entry: ‘I’m standing here with my 92 year old grandma, naked. Our bodies have carried and birthed our babies. We are paralleled in motherhood, womanhood and humanity, yet our bodies fare starkly contrasted by age’.
When she submitted the image to Portrait of Humanity 2019, O’Halloran says she never expected to win. ‘It felt incredible’, she says, ‘having this image touring the world among 50 stunning and thought-provoking images’. What she didn’t know was that Portrait of Humanity would go on to be seen by tens of millions of people, making it one of the most viewed photographic exhibitions in global history.
‘I’ve received print sales from people all over the world,’ she says. ‘I’ve been shown appreciation and acknowledgement far and wide for my work — all from exposure through the highly-respected platform of British Journal of Photography’.
O’Halloran’s message for those thinking of entering? Never think a movement like this is not for you. ‘Nobody has seen the world through your eyes’, she says. ‘Your stories matter. Those small moments: the things that have gotten you up in the morning, broken your heart, inspired you to keep going, defined who you are or lit a fire within you. They matter’.
Priscilla Falcon Moeller’s striking winning image was taken in Regla, a small neighbourhood in Havana, Cuba. ‘I saw Orlando resting on the merry-go-round’, says Falcon Moeller. ‘His gaze struck my soul, and I knelt and took his portrait. After I took it, he didn’t move. I didn’t speak. It was powerful’.
Like O’Halloran, Falcon Moeller notes the impacts of international exposure on her trajectory: ‘Portrait of Humanity granted me the unique opportunity to get noticed both by international experts and, most importantly, normal people all around the world’. Considering the movement’s immense reach, she remarks, ‘it gave me the chance to be part of something greater than myself’.
Georgina Goodwin’s deeply affecting winning image depicts baby Marian, just 30 seconds old, as she’s placed on her mother at the main hospital in Nyarugusu Refugee Camp, western Tanzania. ‘Marian is Tosha Sangan’s fifth child born here, a refugee’, explains Goodwin. ‘In a camp with a population of 150,000, of whom 80% are women and children, every day is a struggle to save lives’.
War, violence and persecution caused nearly 70.8 million people in 2018 to flee their homes, with those in developing countries being the most affected. Having captured both the brightest moments and darkest days of humanity as a documentary photographer specialising in social issues, Goodwin reflects that ‘Portrait of Humanity invites us to look at ourselves, our world and to explore the fundamentals and depths of who we are’.
Is there an image or series in your archive that probes these same questions? A moment you’ve captured – big or small, personal or public – that shines a light on what it means to be human? Show us, and you too could be exhibited across the world: Global Tour 2020 stops include Indian Photo Festival, Photoville in New York City and Capa Centre in Hungary. Plus, the chance to be published in hardback by the award-winning Hoxton Mini Press and celebrated on digital billboards across four continents, with international press coverage.
Enter Portrait of Humanity before 18 December 2019 – 23:59 (UK Time) and your work could make waves across the world.