Portrait of Humanity winners 2022 released, revealing stories from around the globe as it opened up
Winning entries explore a community-based circus troupe in Dakar, the tradition of beekeeping, and SAGE, an organisation supporting LGBTQIA+ elders in the US.
- Liz Gorny
- 17 March 2022
The winners of Portrait of Humanity Vol. 4 have been announced, featuring stories from across the globe that proved that there is “light at the end of the coronavirus pandemic-induced tunnel” last year, says the award site. 30 images and three bodies of work make up this year’s winning selection, curated by 1854 Media and British Journal of Photography, reflecting on subjects including a circus troupe in Senegal, to our connection with marine algae in a world dramatically changed by the climate crisis.
Among the three winning bodies of work, which included work from Florence Babin-Beaudry and Jonathan Liechti, London-based photographer Claudia Gschwend captured a series of portraits on the Sencirk circus troupe. The group are made up of nearly 30 artists who train daily and work with Quranic schools and hospitals in Dakar. “It’s a community built on resilience – a group of young people working through shared trauma who are strengthened by their potential to overcome it together,” Gschwend explains. “In January 2021, I travelled there with a Swiss charity to photograph the delivery of their donation: a container full of circus equipment.”
Among the other 30 winning entries is a portrait taken by Karsten Thormaehlen of Lujira, an activist with SAGE, the advocacy and services organisation supporting LGBTQIA+ elders in the US. The photographer explains that in the 1960s she worked at the YMCA, “which was a haven for gay men and a safe zone for her, an openly gay Black woman, living in New York City”. Another entry from London-based Fred Borghesi explores the first time the photographer was able to see his grandmother in Italy following the pandemic. Similarly, Chiara Luxardo captured the tradition of beekeeping through the photographer’s great auntie’s dedication to raising honeybees.
Across the works, themes of family, community, isolation and the upkeep of tradition in a changing landscape reflect many of the seismic shifts to have taken place over the past year. The 200 shortlisted images will be announced in mid-April and featured in a book, published by Hoxton Mini Press. Mick Moore, CEO of 1854 and British Journal of Photography, states: “The prize-winning photographs, which have been selected from photographers of all abilities, display a striking mix of the contemporary and the timeless. Face masks, the realities of climate change and Personal Protective Equipment are all present while elsewhere, portraits depicting universal themes such as birth, tradition, farewells and death are made manifest.”
The full selection of winning images is available to view at the 1854 online gallery.
GalleryPortrait of Humanity Winners Vol.4
Copyright © Claudia Gschwend, 2021
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.