[imagesource: Oded Wagenstein/LensCulture]
A portrait can tell you a lot about its subject.
This is why portrait photography is such a powerful medium.
However, there is an art to portraiture, and the best portraits are nuanced, able to relay emotion, send subtle signals of communication, and produce connections indirectly from the subject, photographer and us, the viewers.
In other words, this isn’t as easy as snapping a selfie.
LensCulture’s Portrait Awards 2021 brought together some of the most talented portrait photographers out there, and they’ve just announced the winners. There are 38 winners across a range of categories and a few nods sent in the direction of some noteworthy finalists.
Let’s check out some of the winners, with a couple of finalists thrown into the mix.
‘Transparent Curtains: Ageing Through the Eyes of Gay Elders’ by Oded Wagenstein:
Eze Raymond (born in 1936) sits for a portrait in Tel Aviv, Israel. Eze was born in Mumbai, lived most of his life in London, and today he lives in Tel Aviv, close to the proud center, where he takes part in weekly meetings and social activities. For many LGBTQ+ elders, these accustomed community-based social activities can reduce the sense of isolation and loneliness and enable community members to pay attention to the well-being of each other.
‘Self-Portrait With Dad During Lockdown’ by Lauren Forster:
Self-portrait with Dad during Lockdown. This image is a self-portrait with my father who has been staying with me during lockdown. There has been no escape from one another as we have been confined together. During this time, I have been able to capture moments of reflection.
Next up we have the jurors’ picks, where each of the jury members selected one photographer to be awarded a special distinction.
‘Donoghue Brothers, Irish Travellers’ by Joseph-Philippe Bevillard:
This one was selected by the Juror, Virginia Heckert:
Irish Travellers are recognised as an ethnic group in Ireland, sometimes referred to as tinkers or Gypsies by settled people (but this is politically incorrect). The Irish Travellers are not connected to Romany Gypsies; they often refer to themselves as Pavee or Minceirs and their culture and nomadic way of life distinguish them from the ‘settled’ population.
‘In Australia’ by Tajette Ohalloran:
This series was selected by juror, Magdalene Keaney:
Tajette O’Halloran’s series stood out for me in the tension between the suggestion of a gritty documentary project that are in fact tableaux scenes, or what she calls ‘constructed realities’. There is a sustained filmic point of view that progresses a fragmentary narrative apparently drawing on the artist’s own suburban youth. We see allusions to sex, teenage pregnancy, isolation, boredom and poverty — but there is tenderness, intimacy, beauty and longing too.
Lastly, we’ll show you a few finalists.
Alex Matraxia, ‘Backstage (Dylan)’:
This photo is from ongoing documentation projects paying tribute to queer life, memory, and the community that nurtures me.
Eva Watkins, ‘Untitled’, Synchronised Swimming:
Mariah Tyes, ‘Melanin Madness’, a celebration of black women in their unapologetic beauty:
Check out LensCulture for more images from all the winners – they’re stunning.
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