This Brilliant Set Of Pandemic Portraits Captures Brits To An Absolute Tee

Marcus Rashford, Miriam Margolyes and an acrobat-turned-decorator all feature in the Portrait Of Britain shortlist.
David - All Dressed Up & Nowhere To Go by Joe Short
Joe Short
David - All Dressed Up & Nowhere To Go by Joe Short

The past two years have changed our lives in more ways than we could have imagined, and this is certainly reflected in the entires for the Portrait of Britain awards.

This 2021 shortlist features Brits like David, who worked as an acrobat before the pandemic hit. When performances were cancelled, he pivoted to paining and decorating. Photographer Joe Short is nominated for his striking shot of David’s two world’s colliding.

“Everybody has been fixing up their homes so I was able to find work painting and decorating homes, so the money has kept coming in, but I’ve desperately missed performing,” says David. “I’ve learned I’m resilient, I can always find purpose, so my mental health has been ok through this time.”

Another one of the shortlisted portraits shows an unnamed woman dressed to the nines in Dior outside Tesco. And why not? An outing to the supermarket did become the event of the week during lockdown, after all.

LADY IN DIOR by Brock Stanley
Brock Stanley
LADY IN DIOR by Brock Stanley

“I was shopping in Tesco when I noticed her walking by, through the glass at the
checkout. I was in awe,” says photographer Brock Stanley, who snapped the image.

“I ran out the shop and asked for a photo, she was completely prepared and ready to be photographed, as you would be in an outfit like that! I love how much effort went in to every little detail of her look, and the way she peers just above the line of the camera like she’s done it 1000 times before. And maybe she has.”

The Portrait of Britain – run by the British Journal of Photography in partnership with JCDecaux – is designed to celebrate “the rich tapestry of people that make up Great Britain, by turning their stories into public art.”

The 200 shortlisted images also feature some famous faces, including footballer and campaigner Marcus Rashford waiting patiently in his garden between filming takes, and an outtake of Miriam Margoyles having a whale of a time in her kitchen during a shoot for Radio Times magazine.

Hope, by Ross Cooke
Ross Cooke
Hope, by Ross Cooke
Miriam Margoyles, by Mark Harrison
Mark Harrison
Miriam Margoyles, by Mark Harrison

The shortlisted images will be published in the Portrait of Britain book, vol. 4, published by Hoxton Mini Press and available to buy from February 3.

You’ll also spot the 100 winning images on digital screens in rail stations, shopping centres, high streets and bus stops nationwide throughout January.

Check out more of the shortlisted entries and the stories behind them below.

Sam & James' Wedding Renewal, by Natalia Poniatowska
Natalia Poniatowska
Sam & James' Wedding Renewal, by Natalia Poniatowska
Airy, 2021, by Anna Louise Brooks.<br><br>"We wanted to create a series of images that captured Aaron in their drag persona and all the moments that led up until their final look. This was taken on set, in a moment of rest in between the makeup, wig and styling."
Anna Louise Brooks
Airy, 2021, by Anna Louise Brooks.

"We wanted to create a series of images that captured Aaron in their drag persona and all the moments that led up until their final look. This was taken on set, in a moment of rest in between the makeup, wig and styling."
Sasha at 10, by Antonina Mamzenko. <br><br>"During both summers of the pandemic we found calm and serenity amongst the chaos of the world by connecting with the sea at every opportunity we got."
Antonina Mamzenko
Sasha at 10, by Antonina Mamzenko.

"During both summers of the pandemic we found calm and serenity amongst the chaos of the world by connecting with the sea at every opportunity we got."
Most Worshipful Christine Chapman, by Caitlin Chescoe<br><br>"Christine told me: 'We think that Freemasonry empowers women, we think it gives you self confidence and makes you believe in yourself. You can go forward in life, knowing that you are a women, but you can still do everything, it's not going to hold you back. If you want to take part in charity events and raise money for them, we will give you the tools to do it. If you want to discover some spirituality in life, we will give you the tools to do that as well. That's what it's all about.'"
Caitlin Chescoe
Most Worshipful Christine Chapman, by Caitlin Chescoe

"Christine told me: 'We think that Freemasonry empowers women, we think it gives you self confidence and makes you believe in yourself. You can go forward in life, knowing that you are a women, but you can still do everything, it's not going to hold you back. If you want to take part in charity events and raise money for them, we will give you the tools to do it. If you want to discover some spirituality in life, we will give you the tools to do that as well. That's what it's all about.'"
Airsoft player, Invicta Battlefield (2021), by Danny Burrows<br><br>"This portrait is from project I am working on about the martial sport of airsoft and its community of players, entitled 'Killing Me Softly' for my MA in photography at Falmouth University. The intention of the project is to discover who these self-imagined warriors are, why they play war in their leisure time and the social and cultural circumstances and symbols that inform and encourage their games."
Danny Burrows
Airsoft player, Invicta Battlefield (2021), by Danny Burrows

"This portrait is from project I am working on about the martial sport of airsoft and its community of players, entitled 'Killing Me Softly' for my MA in photography at Falmouth University. The intention of the project is to discover who these self-imagined warriors are, why they play war in their leisure time and the social and cultural circumstances and symbols that inform and encourage their games."
Seyon Amosu, by Fran Gomez de Villaboa<br><br>"25% of the young people between 16-25yo who are experiencing homelessness identify as LGBTQ+. Seyon was abused by his homophobic family as he was growing up and coming out as a queer person. He eventually left home with nothing at all and faced homelessness. Thanks to the support of the Albert Kennedy Trust he was able to overcome this period in his life and work on his career."
Fran Gomez de Villaboa
Seyon Amosu, by Fran Gomez de Villaboa

"25% of the young people between 16-25yo who are experiencing homelessness identify as LGBTQ+. Seyon was abused by his homophobic family as he was growing up and coming out as a queer person. He eventually left home with nothing at all and faced homelessness. Thanks to the support of the Albert Kennedy Trust he was able to overcome this period in his life and work on his career."
Jack, by Harry George Hall<br><br>Jack: "‘When I was 16, I had elective surgery to amputate my leg above the knee because of a condition in my leg that became progressively worse. Before my amputation, I considered myself as disabled and restricted by my condition. I have a theory that when you have an amputation you are reborn. Like a child, you need to start from scratch; learning how to walk, balance and face the world with confidence. The best way to practice this and develop motor skills is through sport and exercise."
Harry George Hall
Jack, by Harry George Hall

Jack: "‘When I was 16, I had elective surgery to amputate my leg above the knee because of a condition in my leg that became progressively worse. Before my amputation, I considered myself as disabled and restricted by my condition. I have a theory that when you have an amputation you are reborn. Like a child, you need to start from scratch; learning how to walk, balance and face the world with confidence. The best way to practice this and develop motor skills is through sport and exercise."
Wonder boy, by Marksteen Adamson<br><br>"George chose this outfit for his personal study "How Social Expectations of Masculine Attractiveness have Restricted Male Expression Through Fashion" He says "I think the way men are expected to be in society is detrimental. The expectation of ‘manliness’ – wanting all the ‘manly’ parts of the typical masculine attitude without any of the vulnerabilities. Limited emotional expression but still needing mature understanding of mental state. Its no wonder men struggle to develop a feminine side."
Marksteen Adamson
Wonder boy, by Marksteen Adamson

"George chose this outfit for his personal study "How Social Expectations of Masculine Attractiveness have Restricted Male Expression Through Fashion" He says "I think the way men are expected to be in society is detrimental. The expectation of ‘manliness’ – wanting all the ‘manly’ parts of the typical masculine attitude without any of the vulnerabilities. Limited emotional expression but still needing mature understanding of mental state. Its no wonder men struggle to develop a feminine side."
Intimacy, by Ryan Edy<br><br>"Genuine intimacy and connection between couples. This was shot during lockdown, a time when relationships are placed under even greater pressure."
Ryan Edy
Intimacy, by Ryan Edy

"Genuine intimacy and connection between couples. This was shot during lockdown, a time when relationships are placed under even greater pressure."