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The Wining Images of The Female in Focus Photography Awards 2021

The Female in Focus award from 1854 Media and the British Journal of Photography addresses the gender imbalance in photography. Globally, 70-80% of photography students are women, yet they account for only 13-15% of professional photographers. This selection of work demonstrates a tapestry of women’s experiences from around the world

Camo 2.0 4415 – single image winner

‘Beauty and greatness do not belong to the gods alone’ (African proverb). Beadwork in hair inspired by beads worn and treasured by the artist as a child growing up in Kenya. There, the more colourful the beads, the more beautiful one’s hair was deemed. Accessorising hair with beads is common in beauty cultures across Africa (Thandiwe Muriu/Female in Focus 21)

More: 1854 Media h/t: guardian

Rules for Fighting (Reglas para pelear) – series winner

When Paola Jiménez Quispe was five, her father was murdered in their native city of Lima, Peru. After googling his name one day, she found an article showing a photograph of her father covered in blood on the passenger seat of his car. ‘My father and mother wrote in a notebook before getting married … about love, relationships, parenting. I use this notebook as canvas, I include writings from both of them, and the object itself as I found it. This is my mother in her teens … This is a page of my mother notebook … she loves plants’ (Paola Jiménez Quispe/Female in Focus 21)

Rules for Fighting (Reglas para pelear) – series winner

A compelling amalgamation of photographs, texts and objects relating to Jiménez’s research into her father’s death and a manifestation of her grief. They include rolls of film her father made, his notebook, belongings found on him when he was killed, and police documents from the case. But more than simply a reinvestigation of his murder, the work is about ‘who my father was to my family’, says the artist. ‘What kind of partner he was to my mother … and finally, what his loss meant and the trauma that has been with us for a long time.’ (Paola Jiménez Quispe/Female in Focus 21)

Paola Jiménez Quispe –series winner

My mother was left with three children: my sister (14), my brother (12) and myself (five). She struggled with depression for many years. She never remarried and we all kind of were left without a father and mother. ‘After several years, I began to investigate deeply into his murder,’ says the artist. ‘I had an urge to build a relationship with him; this is what motivated me.’ (Paola Jiménez Quispe/Female in Focus 21)

Untitled, from the series My Hijab has a Voice: Revisited – series winner

A series of portraits of the artist and her sister, which investigate the experiences of Muslim women from an autobiographical perspective. Shot in Bateman’s home in Surrey, England, the series invites audiences into a Muslim woman’s private space with the intention to humanise. (Jodie Bateman/Female in Focus 21)

Untitled, from the series My Hijab has a Voice: Revisited – series winner

Adopting poses that mimic historical paintings famous for their objectification of women, Bateman and her sister sit fully clothed and defiant, turning outdated stereotypes on their heads. ‘It is vital to listen to Muslim women’s voices, as often they are silenced and spoken for by men,’ she says. (Jodie Bateman/Female in Focus 21)

Untitled, from the series My Hijab has a Voice: Revisited – series winner

‘Often Muslim women are only seen to wear black, and are portrayed as old-fashioned or backwards for their choice to cover their bodies. Western society continuously feeds the stereotype of oppression, which has been followed by acts of banning the niqab and burkini, and even going to the lengths of banning the hijab in professional places in some countries.’ (Jodie Bateman/Female in Focus 21)

Reeva Steenkamp, 29, shot three times by her boyfriend on Valentine’s Day – single image winner

Lebo Thoka/Female in Focus 21

Be and Madeline – single image winner

Be and Madeline, child and mother pictured in a loving embrace. Ancestral and Unceded Lands of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh peoples (Vancouver, BC, Canada), 2020. (Kali Spitzer/Female in Focus 21)

Twins Expecting. From the series Birth of a Mother, 2019 – single image winner

When does being a mother begin? The ordeal of birth? The moment of conception? Or is it something beyond and before that, rooted deep in one’s intentions? Behind the ‘miracle of conception’, innumerable tragedies, failures and unhappy accidents lie unspoken. Photographing the twins, pregnant at the same time, felt like capturing a spark of magic. Their individual journeys to motherhood are are completely unique and yet miraculously in sync. (Imogen Freeland/Female in Focus 21)

Time of Transparency – single image winner

This work explores the societal phenomenon that perceives women in the context of youth and beauty. During menopause, women change physically and mentally. For many women, it’s a time when children leave home and parents die; it’s a time of goodbyes but also of new beginnings, new relationships, new passions. Often at this age women define themselves anew. Gradually over time, women become socially invisible, which can affect them in various ways. (Marzena Hans/Female in Focus 21)

Noritz-Reyes Family, Toronto, 2021 – single image winner

The Noritz-Reyes family on a Sunday afternoon in April during lockdown in Toronto. Photographed remotely on an iPhone. From an ongoing series documenting my family during Covid-19. (Stephanie Noritz/Female in Focus 21)

Luz de Otoño – Autumn light – single image winner

This image was taken in October 2020 in Polanco, a neighbourhood with a large Orthodox Jewish community in Mexico City. During the first lockdown, when churches and temples were closed, the Jewish community used their balconies to pray twice daily. Even as some of the tightest lockdown restrictions began to lift, and as urban spaces could be visited once again, balconies were still used as an outdoor space for socialising and play. (Natalia Garcia/Stephanie Noritz)

Women of the sea – single image winner

For more than 10 years, Israeli women from the Machsom Watch organisation have taken Palestinian women and children to visit the sea; for most of them, it’s the first time in their life. (Orna Naor/Female in Focus 21)

The Triplets’ Fate – single image winner

The triplets wear a shirt embroidered with the word ‘united’, but their futures will be drastically different. Many Indians live with extended family; after marriage, the boys will stay in the family house. The mother lifts up her daughter’s chin for her to face her fate. When married, the girl will move in with her in-laws. The mother wears a set of bracelets, a sign of married women. (Anouchka Renaud Eck/Female in Focus 21)

Vittoria for Espacio Latino – single image winner

‘Part of a personal portraiture project I started working on at the beginning of 2021. My main focus was to portray the individuality of a group of Latino creatives living and working in London, bringing more visibility to an almost invisible community in the UK. I wanted to challenge traditional notions and perceptions of what it means to be Latino nowadays, to highlight individuality within a generalised group that experiences very marked stereotypes.’ (Paola Vivas/Female in Focus 21)

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