Behind BJP’s covers of 2022

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Home, Love, Ukraine, Time, Talent, Community, Tradition, Identity and the Portrait. Our 2022 issue themes reflect the most pertinent subjects occupying photographers’ work this year. We delve behind the images of our last six covers.

Issue #7906: Home 

Cover image by Janne Amalie Svit

We began the year with the theme of Home, in which we featured the Instagram platform Eye Mama as our cover piece. Eye Mama was set up at the beginning of 2020 by Karni Arieli, a photographer who, like many working mums, was hit hard by the unprecedented challenge of caring for young children during the Covid-19 lockdown. She began to document the tension of daily struggles – and joys – and posting images via social media. In less than a year, the platform grew into a network of over 20,000 photographer mothers, sharing and connecting their experiences through images, finding solidarity with women from all over the world. Janne Amalie Svit, a Norwegian photographer whose dystopian portrait of her daughter is on this issue’s cover, is one of them. The platform has continued to grow and 150 images will be published in a book at the start of next year. It is available to pre-order.

Limited copies still available from the BJP shop.

Issue #7907: Love/Ukraine

Cover images by Marco Zanella and Yelena Yemchuk


This issue has two halves, with a double cover. The first represents Love, with a cover shot by Italian photographer, Marco Zanella. The image belongs to his series Scalandrê, which documents the historic village of Cotignola, in Ravenna, Italy. Zanella arrived there in 2018, longing to escape the suffocating routine of his past life. He found a community bound together by tradition, pushing against the tide of time. He also met his first love, Cristina. 

A month into the production of this issue, on 24 February, Russia launched a brutal invasion into Ukraine. As the war raged, we felt it was imperative to maintain the visibility and prominence of the stories told by the photographers of Ukraine, so chose a second cover. Yelena Yemchuk’s cover image of a young male was taken before the 2022 war. Following the Euromaidan protests in 2014, Yemchuk spent two years (2015–2017) with the Odesa Military Academy, documenting the daily lives of 16 and 17-year-old recruits. In an eerie act of premonition, the teenagers signed up to defend their country. “Now, when I look at it, of course, I’m like, ‘Where the hell is this guy right now?’” she says in her interview. 

Limited copies still available from the BJP shop.

Issue #7908: Ones to Watch

Cover image by Zhong Lin


We celebrated our 11th annual Talent Issue this year, with a cover by Malaysian-Chinese photographer, Zhong Lin. Zhong is self-taught and prolific; she set herself a challenge of creating one image a day for 365 days during the lockdown, and completed the task. Working at the intersection of art and fashion, Zhong’s vibrant, textured images frame esoteric, otherworldly characters. She is unafraid to use makeup, props and post-production to create charismatic sets that transport us into imaginary worlds. We were spoilt for choice with cover options for this issue, selecting from the fantastic work of 15 Ones to Watch. But this striking portrait stood out for its bold colour palette, symmetry and uniqueness.

Limited copies still available from the BJP shop.

Issue #7909: Tradition & Identity

Cover image by Juan Brenner

Some 2000 years ago, Mayan royalty used jade and bone to embellish their teeth as a sign of status. Years later, Indigenous communities used metal such as gold or stainless steel to protect their teeth from disease. The tradition has stood the test of time and evolved into what we now know as grills – a fashion accessory and symbol of power and money reappropriated by hip-hop artists and style icons. This is just one aspect of Guatemalan identity and history that photographer Juan Brenner explores in his series, Genesis. Following a period of self-healing, he reconnects with the ancient rituals of his homeland, exploring how the youth of today are making them their own. This connection between the old and the new reflects our approach to the issue, with this wonderfully charismatic, toothy grin for a cover.

Limited copies still available from the BJP shop

Issue #7910: Time & Community

Cover image by Tyler Mitchell


We have followed the evolution of Tyler Mitchell’s career since his first cover with BJP back in December 2018. It was the same year he photographed Beyoncé for Vogue’s September issue, making him the first Black cover photographer in the magazine’s history. This year, we were thrilled to work with his gallery, Gagosian, on this exclusive cover. 

Though retaining a strong foothold in fashion, Mitchell’s practice has steadily moved into the fine art and conceptual sphere. Another first came this year, when Frieze Masters commissioned a special contemporary artwork from Mitchell to be featured in the fair. This hypnotic cover image, titled Cage, belongs to his series Chrysalis. It’s a dreamlike scene, as a graceful young woman gazes knowingly into the lens, against a painterly background of a white picket-fenced garden. It is suspended at a point between serenity and discomfort, a reflection on Mitchell’s practice and the series. Throughout, metaphor is used to discuss Black spirituality, intimacy and freedom – serenity is paired with discomfort as Mitchell manipulates distance and time. 

This issue is sold out.

Issue #7911: The Portrait Issue

Cover image by Sasha Huber


The year concludes with the Portrait issue, with Sasha Huber’s image of Jack and Drana, from the series Tailoring Freedom, on the cover. This image has a particularly poignant and special history. It was first commissioned in 1850 by Louis Agassiz – a celebrated scientist who was also a racist, and used his position to promote the Black race as inferior. Huber discovered these daguerreotypes, along with five others of enslaved individuals from the same community, and dressed them using a staple gun. The garments are inspired by important abolitionists of the time. Drana’s, for example, is fashioned on that of Sojourner Truth, the first Black woman to win a court case against a white man, in 1828, recovering her son from slavery. The resulting portraits hold tension. The staple gun is a violent act, yet their dressing in this shimmering armour serves to decolonise the image, restoring dignity.

The work is on show at Autograph, London, until 25 March 2023, and is part of a wider campaign of unnaming landmarks titled after Agassiz. British Journal of Photography was established in 1854, just four years after these images were first commissioned, and placing this image on the cover is a small part of our responsibility to acknowledge and redress photography’s prejudiced history. 

This issue is available from the BJP shop.

Izabela Radwanska Zhang

Starting out as an intern back in 2016, Izabela Radwanska Zhang is now the Editorial Director of British Journal of Photography in print and online. Her words have appeared in Disegno and Press Association. Prior to this, she completed a MA in Magazine Journalism at City University, London, and most recently, a Postgrad Certificate in Graphic Design at London College of Communication.