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1854 and British Journal of Photography announce the winners of Portrait of Britain 2021

Looking back at the events of the last two years, it’s easy to see nothing but struggle for Great Britain. But look closer: because in the cracks, there is beauty. There is the strength of our communities; the resilience of our health service, and the solidarity of our citizens.

I took this photo of partners Sam and Gary a few hours before the kick-off of the Euro 2020 final. Together they founded Charlton Invicta, Europe’s first LGBTQ+ football team to be affiliated with a professional club (Charlton Athletic). ‘Everything we do is to create a safe, welcoming and inclusive space for LGBTQ+ people in football.’ – Sam (left)

© Ali Wright

Against the backdrop of a nation still picking up the pieces, Portrait of Britain – the UK’s biggest annual photography exhibition – returns in collaboration with JCDecaux.

“Today, we announce the 100 winning images, each of them capturing the changing face of our nation in their own unique way. They have been selected by a panel of industry-leading judges including Tracy Marshall, director of Bristol Photo Festival; Mariama Attah, curator at Open Eye Gallery and Nicola Shipley, director of GRAIN Projects.”

Portrait of Britain will return to be showcased on JCDecaux screens across the UK for the month of January.

At the end of the first wave of Covid, the Guardian asked me to photograph the ICU staff at Barnet Hospital. I was taken aback by how friendly everyone was. You got the feeling that they had been through some terrible times together and had seen it all.

© Frederic Aranda

View the winners gallery


100 winning images will be exhibited on JCDecaux UK’s nationwide network of digital Out-of-Home screens from 1 January 2022, running for one month throughout rail stations, shopping centres, high streets and bus stops. Programmatic Digital Out-of-Home will enable the winning portraits to be broadcast efficiently across the country, at moments that matter, to the communities they matter to.

200 shortlisted images will be published in the Portrait of Britain book, vol. 4, published by Hoxton Mini Press and distributed worldwide (published 3 February 2022). The shortlist announcement will take place on 11 January 2022.

This volume features an introduction by Jess Phillips (MP and Sunday Times bestselling author) that sets the portraits within their cultural context and the full shortlist of 200 photographs alongside quotes.


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