From a poignant documentation of child asylum seekers arriving in Europe to an exploration of iconic and influential fashion moments from the 20th and 21st centuries, the entries to this year’s International Photography Award represent a range of subject-matter and styles. Below, we present a selection of the strongest submissions so far.
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The International Photography Award was created to discover and celebrate the best of contemporary photographic talent. Bringing the work of both emerging and more established photographers to the attention of the international photography community, it has been instrumental in launching the careers of some of the most respected photographers today.
Lesaffre Laetitia, Childhood in Exile
© Lesaffre Laetitia
“Childhood and exile are two states that should bear no association to one another. However, in 2016, 90 thousand of all asylum seekers who arrived in Europe were children, fleeing poverty, abuse, exploitation and war.
What does an unaccompanied foreign minor mean? What will be the fate of these children? I attempted to answer these questions by meeting with unaccompanied minors who had arrived in France.
I am both a lacquer painter and photographer. My process involves taking a picture of my subject’s reflection on a lacquered canvas as a way to dissolve the frontier between painting and photography.
Living alongside these children, I collected their testimonies and photographed each of their reflections. Through doing this, I attempted to discover fragments of their lost identities and express, through my lacquered canvases, their confusion and extreme vulnerability, but also their strength and determination.”
Robin De Puy, If This Is True … 8000 Miles on a Motorcycle in the USA
© Robin de Puy
“I do not want to go back – no launch parties or openings anymore. Wearing the same pair of jeans every day, feeling the sun on my skin and deciding whether I will stay or go on the day itself. I also love that everything I own here fits into two saddle-bags and a backpack.
In 2014, I decided to go on this trip as a way of escaping the pressure of public expectations. My success as a portrait photographer has a downside: the constant flood of commissions left me almost no time for autonomous work and I feared losing my sense of creative freedom. My American road trip gave me a chance to go back to deciding for myself what to photograph.
I set off across America in May 2015. I followed no set route but toured the country looking for distinctive faces to photograph – people of all ages and both sexes whom I just happened to meet on my travels. I did not want to record social contrasts or the antithesis between urban America and the country’s endless empty spaces.
My work adds a new dimension to the classic genre of the American Photographic Road Trip, most famously practised by people like Robert Frank, Jacob Holdt and Alec Soth: my sympathetic portraits could have been taken anywhere, between Washington, Warsaw and Vladivostok.”
© Morvarid Kaykha
“Tackling the question of presence through absence, this body of work dissolves existing photographs from seven of my past major series. Each original and numbered photograph is fully and meticulously covered by kilometres of ink.
The pen, traditionally a symbol of expression, becomes the censor that throws an indelible weave over the photograph. Visibly obsessive, painful, relentless and extremely slow, the process of abstraction is unsettling and arresting. The viewer is left perplexed about what once existed before and its transformation with the ink.”
© Catherine Losing
“I am a photographer who predominantly concentrates on still life. This year I was approached by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, to create a photo story for their first fashion exhibition since 1944. The show presented 111 items of clothing and accessories that have had a profound impact on the world in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Working with set designer Anna Lomax and Stylist Grace Joel, I produced 18 photographs in total. Our eclectic list of subjects ranged from iconic Levis 501s and the advent of the bikini through to street style favourites, Nike Air Force 1s and concept pieces from Comme Des Garcons “Body Meets Dress, Dress Meets Body” collection.
Having being tasked with creating a photo story featuring very specific items my intention was to use my skills as a still life photographer to celebrate each of the pieces and share the detail and craftsmanship with the viewer. However, I also wanted to push the boundaries of traditional catalogue photography, keen to avoid the static and archival style usually employed by museums in their accompanying literature.
I researched each object, eager to include references to the pieces’ historical significance in a contemporary way. Life in 2016 and 2017 has also provided lots social, political, economic and environmental reference points for the question – Is Fashion Modern?”
© Gilleam Trapenberg
“Masculinity and Representation have always been central to my work as they are dominant themes in the social landscape of Curacao, an island in the Caribbean where I was born and raised.
Curacao is an island of paradoxes. Where the cliche of macho-culture exists alongside strong, independent women and pink coloured skies.Big Papi is a visual research project into the image culture of masculinity, set against a sunset lit Caribbean landscape; a time of day at which borders are less defined.
The stereotypes and clichés associated with macho culture form the starting point for the work, as is the same with most of my former projects. Since the series is very personal I am aware that although I am looking critically at the subject matter, I am also seducing and romanticising the subjects and landscapes I photograph.”