First Photography Exhibition


Four hundred photos from Portrait of Humanity were launched 40,000 metres into the stratosphere in October with the objective of “broadcasting a message of peace and unity from humankind – and possibly even our extraterrestrial counterparts”.




The initiative was a partnership between digital media organisation 1854 Media and “near space” experts Sent Into Space. A film captured the journey and descent of the exhibition, comprising photographs shortlisted from Portrait of Humanity 2019 and 2020, showcased on a specially fabricated framed-screen, and featuring portraits of individuals and communities from all over the world. Announcing details of the initiative, 1854 Media said, “While the global pandemic forces museums and galleries to remain closed, the film brings empowering photography into people’s homes around the globe. The images also translate into binary code and are beamed through the universe at the speed of light. These are messages which could continue on an infinite journey for the rest of time — or until another civilisation receives and decodes them.”

Portrait of Humanity is a global initiative established by 1854 Media, publisher of British Journal of Photography, “as a movement that seeks to prove that there is more that unites us than sets us apart. Portrait of Humanity wants to get an insight into the lives of people from across the globe; to capture laughter, courage and sorrow, moments of reflection, journeys to work, first hellos, last goodbyes, and everything that happens in between. “Inspired by individuality, community and unity, it is a unique opportunity for photographers to celebrate the many faces of humanity through the power of photography, and the 400 shortlisted images sent into space reflect this.”




Described as “the world’s longest running photography title”, British Journal of Photography has been showcasing pioneers of the art form since 1854, through a monthly publication that “takes an international perspective on contemporary photography, focusing on fine art and documentary, and the cutting edge of editorial and commercial practices”, as well as international photography awards.Over the past decade, Sent Into Space has launched more than 500 flights taking images of the Earth from the edge of space. The company’s work encompassses industries conducting viral marketing stunts, advancing scientific understanding of the planet, testing cutting-edge satellite and avionics equipment, inspiring future generations of scientists, engineers and astronauts, or scattering ashes on a “breathtaking final journey”. Photographs are taken “in front of the ultimate backdrop of the curving horizon of our planet, the faint blue glow of our atmosphere and the black vacuum of space”. /

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