Portrait of Britain, a collaboration between the British Journal of Photography and out-of-home advertising giants JCDecaux, is an attempt to present Britain as it is to the British public. In recent weeks, the 13,000 submitted images have been whittled down to a shortlist of 200, and today that’s become a final 100 winning photographs, with the result being the largest exhibition of contemporary portrait photography ever held.
Throughout September 2018, those images will be displayed on digital screens across the nation, with high streets and airports, shopping centres and train stations temporarily transformed into contemporary exhibition spaces.
As is to be expected with a brief so wide-reaching, the winning work takes in everything from Tom Oldham’s sensitive shot of a slumbering child in transit, to Christopher Soeder’s striking portrait of a teenager mid-haircut, via Euan Myles’ image of a Nigerian marine biologist who has found himself working in the far reaches of Scotland, and Joe Lang’s glorious photo of Roxy Gore at this year’s Margate Pride event.
The BJP’s editorial director Simon Bainbridge says: “Taken from all walks of life, these subjects share the same space, looking back at the public from the screen. The effect is a lingering glance, and witnessed by millions of passersby,” with the exhibition’s public-focused nature meaning it’ll be “confronting the public with a reflection of themselves as they go about their daily business.”
As we reported back in July, a collection of the Portrait of Britain images have been collated by Hoxton Mini Press, with an eponymous book arriving on 6 September.