BJP Photography Award winners shine light on childbirth during the pandemic and ancestral history
Throughout the one Series winner, two runners-up and 20 Single Image winners, the British Journal of Photography panel highlights “the closeness of attention” paid by this year’s winners.
- Liz Gorny
- 31 August 2022
This year, the BJP International Photography Award has been judged by a panel including writer and curator David Campany, Fotografiska New York’s Amanda Hajjar, Pier 24 Photography’s Allie Haeusslein, and BJP’s editorial director Izabela Radwanska Zhang. Though the shortlisted work spans several continents, David Campany stated that the winning photographers were united in “the closeness of attention” each has paid to their work. “In the end photography is about paying attention, which is easier said than done,” he says. The panel has voted one Series winner, two runners-up and 20 winning works from the Single Image category. Delving into diverse themes, including selfhood, strangeness, motherhood, and authorship, the 17 artists behind the 20 winning single images will be exhibited this November at Seen Fifteen gallery, London.
Among the Single Image winners, Fernanda Liberti submitted an environmental portrait capturing Glicéria Tupinambá, an Indigenous leader, advocate and artist in Brazil. Through the presence of a Tupinambá cape – one of only seven present in the world; all of them held in European museums and collections – the work offers a reclamation of ancestral culture. Jessica Gianelli, whose self-portrait, To Be, looks at how Black women can engage in the re-authorship of their own narrative through images, is another Single Image winner.
Elsewhere, reflecting on the landscape of the pandemic, Maggie Shannon explores the experience of childbirth during lockdown – when social distancing restrictions meant giving birth added another layer of complexity. The photographer contributes a strangely surreal black and white portrait taken at the New Life Midwifery Birth Center in Arcadia, California. Reexamining a selection of archival imagery, Mia Salvato has reimagined an album of erotic pictures of Black women claimed to have been taken by an anonymous Cleveland policeman in the 1960s.
Hajar Benjida’s 2019 exploration of dancers at Atlanta’s world-famous strip club, Magic City, has been awarded the prize for Series winner. When It’s Nice That spoke to Hajar about the project in 2020, the photographer explains the series to have allowed her to learn about how the dancers: “approached their work, their sexualities, ownership over their images” and, crucially, “their relationships to motherhood.”
Series runner-up Bowei Yang offers an exploration of Chinese queer masculinity with the project If Spring Could Feel Ache. Using 4×5 analogue prints, the photographer unpicks the relationship between love and punishment using visual techniques that convey the asphyxial intimate relationship. Another Series runner-up, Argus Paul Estabrook, presents a rare insight into one of the border towns directly south of North Korea in How to Draw a Line. In a project statement, the photographer states: “I felt a personal connection to this space caught between two worlds – where military camps, secluded villages, and tourist attractions all coexist while separating the North and South still officially at war.”
British Journal of Photography will publish both Yang and Estabrook’s projects as a two-page supplement this year. As the BJP International Photography Award Series Winner, Hajar Benjida has been awarded the prestigious solo show at London Gallery, TJ Boulting, in December. Explore the full gallery of BJP winners here.
Fernanda Liberti: Thousand in one, BJP Single Image winner (Copyright © Fernanda Liberti)
About the Author
Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating in Film from The University of Bristol, they worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, INDIE magazine and design studio Evermade.