Portrait of Britain 2018
Portrait of Britain 2018

‘Portrait of Britain’ photography competition highlights diversity of nation

13,000 submissions were made this year to the celebratory exhibition

Sabrina Barr
Thursday 26 July 2018 11:14

The multiculturalism and diversity of modern Britain has been highlighted in an annual photography competition, as the shortlist for the “Portrait of Britain” contest has been announced.

The competition was launched by the British Journal of Photography in 2016 following the Brexit vote in an effort to celebrate the nation and bring its inhabitants closer together.

This year, 13,000 submissions were made for a panel of experts to judge.

Brothers Lawand and Rawa are asylum seekers from Iraq. Photographed in Derbyshire

The 200 shortlisted photographs are going to be displayed in a book, published by Hoxton Mini Press and available to purchase on 6 September.

“These images, in all their diversity, reflect something of the richness of this nation and remind us what there is to be celebrated,” says Martin Usborne, co-founder of Hoxton Mini Press and Portrait of Britain judge.

“We hope the book is a powerful snapshot of a moment in our shared history that stands the test of time.”

One of the photographs included in the shortlist was taken by Gavin Li of a man called Richard who’s well-known within the LGBT community in London.

“Richard represents one of the many different walks of life you can find in the capital,” Li says.

“I wanted to celebrate his individuality, so I invited him over to the studio and photographed him in his characterful outfits.”

In the photograph, Richard can be seen wearing a wrestling singlet with a Union Jack design, juxtaposed against a pastel-coloured background.

Idris Elba talks diversity

Stephen Iliffe took a poignant photo in Derbyshire depicting a pair of brothers who had arrived in the UK from Northern Iraq as asylum seekers.

The brothers, six-year-old Lawand who’s deaf and his brother, Rawa, played games with Mr Iliffe during the photoshoot and interacted with him using sign language.

The shortlist also features a couple of well-known faces, most notably athletes Nicola Adams and Dame Kelly Holmes.

Greg Woodward, who photographed Adams in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, explained that he had to do so under time-constraining conditions.

Nicola Adams. Photographed in Sheffield, South Yorkshire

“It took me three attempts to get my shot at photographing Nicola as fitting me into her extremely busy pre-Olympic schedule was far from simple,” Mr Woodward said.

All 200 of the shortlisted images are going to appear in the Portrait of Britain book.

The exhibition itself will be taking place in September on JCDecaux screens across the country, and will feature 100 of the shortlisted photographs.

The winners of the competition will be announced at the end of August.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in