“In this year of unprecedented struggle, the message of hope, courage, reflection and resilience is now more important than ever.”
I’m very pleased and proud to have been shortlisted for the British Journal of Photography‘s Portrait of Humanity Award for this portrait of girls from London’s Womanhood Academy. Run by a passionate collective of volunteers all of African descent, the Womanhood Academy is a community youth group supporting the personal growth and empowerment of young women and girls. Their motto, Nurture A Girl, Raise A Nation.
Massive thanks to Peaches Cadogan and team at Womanhood Academy, and Aundrieux Sankofa and team at Manhood Academy, it was an absolute pleasure spending time with you all. Thanks also to the great editorial team : writer Sheryl Garratt, art director Jo Bell, photography assistant Julie Stewart, and the team at Perfect Bound magazine.
All shortlisted images will be featured in the accompanying book Portrait of Humanity Vol 3 published by Hoxton Mini Press. The judging panel were Kerri McDonald, picture editor New York Times; Sunyoung Kim, curator Museum of Photography, Seoul; Michael Weir, creative producer Belfast Photo Fest; Akinbode Akinbiyi, curator & photographer; and Elias Redstone, artistic director PHOTO 2021, Melbourne.
Jonathan is a volunteer with the RNLI, the charity that saves lives at sea. His most proud moment was when the crew saved the lives of two professional yachtsmen whose vessel had failed in gale-force winds. I asked Jonathan about his motivation and he said : “I try to help people, and if I got into trouble at sea, I would want to know there would be someone there for me.
This is a career highlight for me. My portrait of Jonathan Morgan, a volunteer lifesaver with the RNLI has been chosen as a winner of the Portrait of Britain award! There were over 13,000 entries to this photography competition, and the 100 winning images will be displayed in a public photography exhibition at the many JCDeceaux screens around the country.
NATALIE ADAMS volunteer RNLI crew member at Dungeness Lifeboat Station
I photographed Natalie at my pop-up studio at Dungeness last summer.
Her family have a long history with the RNLI and her father is the current
Coxwain at the station. They are very modest about their invaluable
work as volunteer lifesavers.
"I am the only female crew member at present but I would 100% recommend
volunteering to other women. I have always been made to feel so welcome
and part of the team. We are serious when we need to be but also have
a good laugh, and being part of a team you never feel like you are out
there on your own, and there is also great satisfaction knowing you've
helped someone at the end of the day. You don't need any sea going experience
as all training is provided, just a desire to learn and to get stuck in."
"Dungeness was famous for it's Lady Launchers in the past, so there
has always been a strong positive theme of female volunteers at the
station. One of our original Lady Launchers still volunteers as our
press officer, and we have other women on the team involved in station visits,
fundraising and youth education, and all give up their time to save
lives at sea."
Natalie also works full-time as Helm at GravesendLifeboat Station
on the river Thames. There are currently ten female crew and last year
they had their first all female shift.
"My proudest moment at the RNLI was my passing out ceremony as a Helm