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Female in Focus award explores strength, migration, miscarriage and belonging

Dreamscape(Image credit: © Minxu Li,)

The winners of Female in Focus 2022 from British Journal Photography and 1854 have just been announced. Now in its fourth year, the award highlights the work of exceptional female photographers all over the world and this year's submissions were based on the concept of home. 

Female in Focus is “a celebration of women in photography” but it also aims to address the issues of gender inequality in the photography community (opens in new tab). Research shows that although 70-80% of photography students are women (opens in new tab) they only account for 13-15% of professional photographers and this is something Female in Focus hopes to change.

• Read more: 22 pioneering women in photography you need to know about (opens in new tab)

2006(Image credit: © Persia Campbell)

This year's Female in Focus (opens in new tab) winners explore themes of gender, miscarriage, survival against all odds, dementia and divorce. From Gala Semenova’s portrait capturing the unbreakable bond between mother and daughter to Marie Smith’s series of self-portraits examining her identity, nature and climate change within her South London surroundings. This year's entries differ as much in style as they do in metaphor and cover an extraordinary range of subject matter. 

Collective memory(Image credit: © Valentina Fusco)

Italian documentary photographer Valentina Fusco (opens in new tab) and social documentary and portrait photographer Lina Geoushy (opens in new tab) were selected as this year's series category winners. Fusco explores immigration and emigration through a series of triptychs, collages and self-portraits that depict the sea as a place of unity between nations.

She explains in the supporting words, “Documenting this passage was useful to me in order to expand the meaning of migration as a social fact that does not only concern the person who decides to undertake the journey, but extends to the whole community and affects it profoundly.”

Chasing Pavements(Image credit: © Lina Geoushy)

Geoushy’s deeply personal project, titled, Shame Less: A Protest Against Sexual Violence was a reaction to the #MeToo which took place in Cairo in June 2020. She called out to women on Instagram who had been the victim of sexual violence in Cairo and began creating portraits layered with the women’s handwriting. Using gold, sh she masked the identity of those that requested it and out of the 10 portraits submitted, just two revealed their identity. 

The winning images from both the single image and series category will be part of an exhibition taking place at Photofusion (opens in new tab), London in October and a US exhibition in 2023. To see the full gallery, head to the Female in Focus Winners 2022 page (opens in new tab) or scroll below to see a selection of our favorite. 

A Mother's Journey(Image credit: © Sonali Ohrie)

The Wanderer(Image credit: © Marie Smith)

We don't fight alone in this family(Image credit: © Gala Semenova)

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Hannah Rooke

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.