Visual Stories

18 Winning Photographs From BJP's 'Portrait of Humanity' Award That'll Have You Speechless

By Ellen Clipson - 4 min read

Get your first look at the 'Portrait of Humanity' photo award winners along with the breathtaking stories behind the images. The collection of outstanding images challenge us all to push creative boundaries and tell human stories from diverse locations around the globe.

When two photography powerhouses come together, you know that incredible work and unique perspectives will come to the forefront. Built by the expert creative minds of 1854 Media, publisher of British Journal of Photography, and Magnum Photos, The Portrait of Humnanity Award is no exception.

Today we get to share with you the 18 photos from the list of winners, alongside the unique experiences or subjects that shaped the images.

Inspiring Visual Collaboration Like Never Before

The annual photography award is a new global initiative sparked by the outstanding work from BJP’s photo competition – Portrait of Britain. The Portrait of Humanity aims to visualize the unique details and differences that unite our global community. Another example of how creative collaboration and the power of photography can echo the call of invididuals around the world.

The 200 shortlisted images will be published in Hoxton Mini Press’ new book, ‘Portrait of Humanity.’ The outstanding collection of images is availble for pre-order here.

By David Cantor

‘Samy Chabiani’ - London, UK:

Samy was raised in western France but towards adulthood he found it challenging to reconcile the conservatism of his home region with his own flamboyant nature. Samy moved to London where he found the freedom to be himself.

Fabian Muir

‘The Hands That Rock the Cradle’ - Nampo, North Korea:

These children live in an orphanage. They make me think not only of their own future but also of their country’s future. I hope they will grow up in a North Korea that opens up and emerges from the time capsule within which it has been locked for well over half a century.

Iorgis Matyassy

Faso on the Horse - Ougadougou, Burkina Faso:

Faso is a horseman and master of equestrian vaulting. I was impressed by how easily he got the horse to lie down, as though the animal was a pet dog.

Roland Schmid

Preserving the Boy in the Man - Karviná, Czech Republic

This is Augustin Drezdowicz, the father of my best friend. Born in 1908, Augustin was a miner, and during World War II he was arrested by the Germans because he helped to source dynamite for partisan forces. He was sent to Zwickau concentration camp and freed by American troops at the end of the war. Although he had a very difficult life he never lost his sense of humour and was the kind of person everybody loved.

Sabiha Çimen

Embracing Soulmates - Istanbul, Turkey

Nehir embraces her soulmate, Yaren, at a school event where they sing songs and eat watermelon. She whispers in her ear a secret that is between just them.

Luka Łukasiak

Remembering Life - Warsaw, Poland:

This is a portrait of Szymon Bojko when he was 97 years old. The last months of Szymon’s life were difficult. He did not remember many things and wrote down his most important thoughts on small pieces of paper that were distributed everywhere. He was a very charismatic man, an artist, a dandy and a huge womaniser. I spent time with him during the last three years of his life, making portraits of him almost every day.

Katinka Herbert

Luis Pattterson Arboine, Cuban National Fencing Team - Havana, Cuba

Fiona Yaron-Field

Uncle Tim, Noa and Ophir:

Born in 1906, Uncle Tim grew up in an old Jewish community in the north of England, served in the British Army in India, lived through two world wars, saw communism rise and fall and witnessed the technological revolution, yet he appeared untouched and unmoved by change. He barely spoke but his silence filled my imagination with stories of the past.

Giulia Frigieri

Surfing Iran - Ramin, Iran

Since 2013, Shahla Yasini has been challenging stereotypes of Middle Eastern women by pioneering the surfing scene in southeast Iran. She represents a new Iranian youth who are proud, courageous and ready to fight for their freedom.

Manos Chatzikonstantis

Jewish Children Celebrating Purim - London, UK:

I photographed these children in Stamford Hill, which is known for its Jewish Hasidic community. They were dressed up to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim. There was a carnival-like atmosphere – people were playing music and dancing in the streets.

Patricia Gutiérrez

Niyonshuti Daniel - Kayonza, Rwanda

Niyonshuti was five years old when he became an orphan and found himself living on the streets. At the age of 10 he was taken in by the Streets Ahead Children’s Centre Association and had the chance to go to school. At 26, Niyonshuti graduated from the College of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of Rwanda.

Li Wei

Horse Rider - Hulunbuir Grasslands, Inner Mongolia, China:

A horse rider wearing traditional Mongolian horse racing attire poses in the vast livestock grazing area of northern China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

Ying Wang

Under the Skin - Shijiazhuang, Hebei, China

Sanming Bai is a Mao Zedong impersonator, one of many in China. The makeup he is wearing on one side of his face points to Bai’s experiences as a performer in opera and we also see him in role as Chairman Mao. Bai works as a farmer.

Karen Kumar Sachdev

Horse Rider - Hulunbuir Grasslands, Inner Mongolia, China:

A horse rider wearing traditional Mongolian horse racing attire poses in the vast livestock grazing area of northern China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

Javier Caso

Adrian and Sofia at the Beach - Barcelona, Spain

The artist and political activist Adrian Monzón, his wife Yordi and their daughter Sofía are a young Cuban family living in a little beach town a few miles away from Barcelona. I had the opportunity to document a truly beautiful moment of love, happiness and connection between Adrian and Sofia.

Federico Redin

Beauty Centre - Kampala, Uganda:

A hairdresser works on the balcony of a commercial building while her clients relax. Competition for trading space in central Kampala is fierce.

Roland Kilimanjaro Blazejewski

Family - Berlin, Germany

I met this couple in Berlin. They were sitting together on the side of a street when I started a conversation with them. We talked for a long time and the man repeated, ‘We are a family, we are together, we are strong’ over and over. When I got up to leave I glanced back at them and took this photograph.

Sandra Cattaneo Adorno

A Strange Day in Ipanema - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Famed for its beaches, Rio de Janeiro is often referred to as ‘cidade maravilhosa’ or ‘the wonderful city’. On this day, the sea was very rough as the sun set.

Take a look at the full gallery of winners and find out more about how to see the touring exhibition here

Feeling inspired? Upload your portrait photography to your EyeEm Profile now, or join our recent Mission – Springtime Decadence – to show our editors your unique visual storytelling.