A portrait by AUB student, Lauren Forster has been recognised by British Journal of Photography (BJP). Lauren is an Associate Lecturer in Photography and Lens Based Media on the Diploma in Art and Design – Foundation Studies (Media) course, in addition to being a student on the MA Commercial Photography course

‘DAD IN UNIFORM’

Lauren’s portrait ‘Dad in Uniform’ was highlighted as one of the contemporary photography publication’s favourite weekly Portrait of Britain entries. It then went on to be voted as the People’s Choice favourite by BJP’s Facebook community, becoming the publication’s first weekly winner.

Lauren’s father was a minister in the Salvation Army for 45 years. He moved back to the UK in 2016 after Lauren’s mother was diagnosed with secondary brain cancer. Since caring for her mother, her father has experienced a deep sense of emptiness without his role in the Salvation Army, which he devoted most of his time and energy to. The portrait depicts a man of high importance – his uniform a symbol for his sense of purpose. However, the way in which the image is lit combined with his contemplative expression could be signifiers of the deeper emotional pain Lauren describes.

HIGHLY PERSONAL PROJECT

Lauren had this to say about her photography project and involvement with BJP:

“The portrait is part of a broader series entitled ‘Ground Control to Mother Hen’, that documents family life since my mother’s cancer diagnosis, which has now been rendered inoperable. The series captures strength and fragility during dark moments of pain, struggle and loneliness, offering an intimate insight into this period of loss and transition.

The images are defined above all else by a range of emotional forces that we as a family are experiencing, it is this psychological interior that drives the work, which is a universal psychology that many people will be able to relate to.

The project that I have been working on is highly personal and has been difficult to make; subsequently I feel that it is my responsibility to do the work justice and winning the Portrait of Britain People’s Choice Award and having a feature written by The British Journal of Photography has given my work the opportunity to reach a wide audience.

There is always the desire to try and raise awareness with a project of this nature; the showcased work from The Portrait of Britain becomes part of the public sphere and changes the ways in which people can experience and discover art, it becomes more accessible.  It is exciting to be involved in such a rare opportunity for my work to reach an audience outside of a gallery context.” 

EXPLORES SOCIOLOGICAL THEMES

Lauren tackles sociological themes in her work and is largely concerned with the human condition. Her work has been exhibited at The New York Photo Festival, The AOP Gallery, and The Candid Art’s Trust, and she has been a finalist for both The Observer Hodge Award and The Nikon Discovery Award.

Follow Lauren on Instagram to see more of her work @laurenforster_photo

Find out more about our MA Commercial Photography course.

Image: Lauren Forster’s winning portrait ‘Dad in Uniform’.