From education to employment

University of Plymouth photography students chosen among Portrait of Britain winners

A student and graduate from @PlymUni are taking their places among 200 of the best portrait photographers in the country after being selected to feature in a prestigious exhibition and book.

Will Michell and Emma Booth were chosen from thousands of entries to the British Journal of Photography Portrait of Britain competition, which sets out to capture the many faces of modern Britain.

Their photos – which depict the strain of life during the COVID-19 pandemic – will be displayed nationwide on JCDecaux’s network of digital Out-of-Home screens during September, in railway stations, shopping malls, high streets and bus shelters. They will also be in the Portrait of Britain book, Vol. 3, published by Hoxton Mini Press and distributed worldwide.

Will, a third year student on the BA (Hons) Photography programme, submitted a portrait of his mum, Jane, sitting on a bed at her home in Truro, Cornwall. He says:

“Jane is my mother and a full-time matron. I took this portrait after a 12-hour shift. I think it embodies how a lot of nurses feel: exhausted yet having to maintain a strong image to reassure others.”

The work was among 100 chosen by the British Photography Journal as a winner in the competition.

“Seeing my work among some of the most talented photographers in Britain, many of whom I take inspiration from, is surreal,”

Will added.

“My style of photography is environmental portraiture, influenced by a book entitled ‘Poetics of Space’. Reading this altered my perception of the physical and psychological connection to ‘home’. This new perspective led to a body of work in which I photographed subjects within their home environments. Knowing that my work has been well received is extremely motivating and I will continue to make work that I love.”

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