Now in its 14th year, the British Journal of Photography’s International Photography Award recognises the best of contemporary photographic talent. Today, it reveals its shortlist for 2018 with five finalists from India, Thailand, Denmark, Poland and the UK.
The award has been instrumental in launching the careers of some of the most influential and respected photographers of our time, giving them the opportunity to be recognised and celebrated by the international photographic community.
Let's take a look at who is up for the top prize of the £5,000 exhibition grant and a show at leading London gallery TJ Boulting, opening on 13 July 2018.
Independent Copenhagen-based photographers Sara Galbiati, Peter Eriksen and Tobias Markussen have been shortlisted for their series The Merge, an in-depth investigation of artificial intelligence and robotics that aims to explore and visually interpret the possibility that we are living inside a simulation.
The artists came together as a collective in 2015, to document issues founded on theories and first-person accounts, rather than fact. Their first solo exhibition Phenomena was exhibited in 2016 at Rencontres d’Arles and coincided with the publication of an accompanying book. The trio has been previously nominated for Prix de la Photo Figaro and has work in the Musée Réattu.
Polish-born and London-based photographer Paulina Otylie Surys has been shortlisted for her Dreamatorium series, which delves into the phantoms of her early childhood, growing up in the Polish People’s Republic.
Using Communist motifs like ornate Soviet rugs and family portraits set against backgrounds of red meat, Dreamatorium combines nostalgia with fear. Surys is a multi-disciplinary artist who merges the boundaries of photography, painting and mixed-media installation. Her projects are often autobiographical in nature, maintaining a focus on womanhood, memories and the development of society.
Poulomi Basu’s Centralia is a complex portrayal of the protracted fight for land and resources in Central India over a course of 50 years. The series draws on contemporary documentary practices to reflect the bewildering atmosphere of the region, using pictures of foreboding landscapes and festivities, alongside images of locals uncovering crime scenes, and found material selected from different sources.
Basu has become known for documenting women’s experiences in isolated communities and conflict zones. In 2017, her series A Ritual of Exile was shortlisted for the Tim Hetherington Trust Visionary Award and earned her the Magnum Emergency Fund grant in 2016.
Harit Srikhao’s shortlisted Mt. Meru series reflects on the political crisis that gripped Thailand from 2007 to 2014, prompting an awakening that called into question long-accepted social norms. The series draws on idolatry and Hindu cosmology; “The function of image in Mt. Meru is to distort remembrance, control dreams and motivate an ultimate desire,” says Srikhao.
The series has been featured by Foam Magazine in their annual Talent issue, as well as in an exhibition at the Foam Fotografiemuseum in Amsterdam. Harit also received the second prize for the Gomma Grant in 2016, for his series Whitewash, and was shortlisted in 2017 for the BJP Breakthrough Award.
London-based photographer Alys Tomlinson has been shortlisted for her Ex-Voto series, which developed from an interest in markers left behind at pilgrimage sites. Placed anonymously and often hidden from view, ‘Ex-Votos’ are offerings left by pilgrims as signs of gratitude and devotion, that create a tangible narrative between faith, person and landscape.
The images were taken at pilgrimage sites in France, Ireland and Poland, encompassing formal portraiture, large format landscape photography, and small, detailed still lives. Tomlinson is an editorial and fine art photographer, works from her Ex-Voto series have previously been shortlisted for the 2017 Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize, and have won the Hotshoe Award/Renaissance Photography Prize, among others.
This year, the IPA judging panel was composed of Fariba Farshad, Founding Director at Photo London; Simon Bainbridge, Editorial Director at BJP; Mark Sealy MBE, Director of Autograph; Alona Pardo, Curator at the Barbican; Fiona Rogers, Business Development Manager at Magnum Photos and Hannah Watson, Director at TJ Boulting.
Winners will be announced on 27 March 2018. To find out more, visit bjp-online.com.
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