Portrait of Britain

source: portraitofbritain.uk
source: portraitofbritain.uk. Photo by Chris Baker

The October edition of BJP features an article on and images from the ‘Portrait of Britain’ competition, describing it as ‘an exhibition by the people of the people and for the people’. The 100 winners from over 4000 entries are exhibited on digital screens in selected railway stations and are available in an online gallery (link here).

I particularly enjoyed the humour in the image Sunday Football by
Chris Baker. Two hapless players, with no ball, looking of into the distance, with a backdrop of rusting goal posts and a residential tower block. It is a reminder that the ‘beautiful game’ can be played by anyone, anywhere and is in stark contrast to images from the English Premier League.

Also featured in the BJP magazine are interviews with a number of individuals responsible for commissioning portrait photographs for magazines. In the interviews we gain insights into what the look for in portrait work. Some comments:

  • ‘Good portraits have attitude and convey something about the sitter’s personality … are eye-catching and demand that you stop and stare at them … get under your skin and make you want to know more about the sitter’ (Kathy Ryan, New York Times)
  • ‘What makes a good portrait? Freedom! … a general direction … as much freedom to create as possible’. (Hayley Louisa Brown, BRICK magazine

For the development of my own practice, I have registered to be notified of future competitions and will submit an entry!


Portrait of Britain (2016). British Journal of Photography (October).  Issue 7852.

Portrait of Britain [website]. Available from: http://www.portraitofbritain.uk [accessed 26.9.16]

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