When a young photographer commits to making a living out of their passion, they enter a dauntingly competitive and occasionally lonely world. Having a good agent can ease both of these problems, and tonight, five photographers will be looking forward to the start of two fruitful years when they are announced as the winners of Lisa Pritchard Agency’s biennial competition to find emerging talent for its books.
LPA shouldn’t have too much trouble identifying some initial target markets for its new recruits. Portrait photographer Martin Usborne’s pictures of dogs in cars are both humorous and sinister a combination that makes this guy hip enough to shoot album covers and cool lifestyle brands. Fellow winner Michael Whelan’s painterly portraits and Toby Coulson’s quirky series of white-coated men with rabbits equip them both well for portrait and editorial work.
Olly Burn makes the sort of work that suits the sides of buses. His series of soft summer meadows, models and skateboarders is all about youth, freedom and aspiration, yelling ’high-street fashion’.
Another commercial soul is Rowan Fee, whose obsessive, contrived compositions make a natural fit with luxury brands. Fee’s offerings include the ghostly imprint of a watch in powder and an unsmoked cigarette left to burn itself out both playing with the idea of suggested presence. You can almost hear Fee talking intensely about the ’concept’ when you look at his pictures, but they make up for this with their slick, masculine, 1980s brashness.