How can you portray a nation of 60 million people? The 100 winning “portraits of Britain” gazing down at passers by in streets, shopping centres, stations and airports across the country are as diverse as the population: different ages, colours, activities, locations, culture and clothing combine to mirror the observers.
Portrait of Britain is the third annual competition organised by the British Journal of Photography, with the specific aim of showing how varied the people who live in the UK are.
The photo at the top of the page is by Nirish Shakya, who explains, “Every year, Nepalese people around the world celebrate Dashain by receiving blessings and red tika from elders. It is customary for the family to pose for a picture with tika smudged on their foreheads.”
The portraits are beamed onto the digital screens in public spaces that usually show advertising, bringing a little humanity into the daily commute. You can also see them all online. Each comes with a brief caption saying something about the person or people photographed, and often about the photographer too. It’s amazing how an image and a couple of dozen words can tell a complete story, whether it’s about a teenage boy going to boarding school or a woman sleeping in her armchair on her hundredth birthday. Some wear or carry the trappings of their profession. Some are with siblings, partners or sports teams. Photographed from the Scottish Highlands to the south of England, each one is tells an intriguing tale.
Photos: Nirish Shakya