Portrait of Britain Vol. 4 Shortlist Announced

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Image © Caitlin Chescoe, Portrait of Britain 2021 Shortlist. 

The 200 portraits capture the ongoing strength and resilience of the nation, and ‘need for genuine human connection’

The past two years will be remembered for many things. Certainly, the ever-fluctuating situation surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic has not escaped us yet. For some people these years have brought great sadness, loss and struggle. For others, new opportunities and moments of clarity. What continues throughout, however, is the strength and resilience of our community, and the unfaltering perseverance of our National Health Service. 

Portrait of Britain returns this year for the fourth time, as photographers all over the country picture the faces of our nation. Volume. 4 brings together 200 images and short, insightful texts, of which 100 are currently on show on JCDecaux screens across the UK for the month of January.

© Joshua Windsor, Portrait of Britain 2021 Shortlist.

As always, there are many recognisable faces, such as Ross Cooke’s portrait of Marcus Rashford, Adam Docker’s image of the poet and writer, Benjamin Zephaniah, as well as the giggling Miriam Margolyes snapped in her kitchen by Mark Harrison. There are also striking portraits that transport us back to poignant moments in recent history, such as Joshua Windsor’s Still not asking for it – an image of a young woman with the title’s words written on her bare chest in black marker, taken a couple of days after the vigil for Sarah Everard’s murder. Or Paul Wenham-Clarke’s image of Len, an 88-year-old veteran of the parachute regiment, holding up the sleeve of his t-shirt to reveal a small, square plaster, covering up the prick of the Covid-19 vaccination needle. Tender and intimate moments are captured by Anna Louise Brooks, who photographed Airy as they prepared their final drag look for the stage. And, Sane Steven’s sensual image of Kyra, a singer and dancer photographed mid-flow, titled Freedom.

The shortlist was selected by a panel of industry-leading judges including Tracy Marshall, director of Bristol Photo Festival and director of development at The Royal Photographic Society; Mariama Attah, curator at Open Eye Gallery and Nicola Shipley, director of GRAIN Projects. The book, published by the London-based Hoxton Mini Press on 03 February, also includes an introduction written by Jess Phillips (MP and The Sunday Times bestselling author). “The Britain in this book is one that makes me feel bold; these faces make me certain that we won’t settle,” she writes.

“This is the fourth book in this series and over and over I see one theme emerge above all others: the need for genuine human connection.” Martine Usborne of Hoxton Mini Press writes in the publisher’s note. “Touch, love, togetherness. These books celebrate that above all else.”

Portrait of Britain is an award-winning nationwide photography exhibition, run by British Journal of Photography, in partnership with JCDecaux.

Portrait of Britain Vol.4 is available for pre-order now in collaboration with Hoxton Mini Press