Privacy Note: Source uses cookies or similar technologies to analyze trends, administer the website, track users’ movement around the website and to gather demographic information about our user base as a whole. The technology used to collect information automatically from Source Users may include cookies, web beacons, and embedded scripts. In addition, we and our analytics providers (such as Google), and service providers (such as PayPal and Mailchimp) may use a variety of other technologies that collect similar information for security and fraud detection purposes and we may use third parties to perform these services on our behalf. If you continue to use this site, you agree that we can place these types of cookies on your device. 

Source Photographic Review - Web Articles

Writers Prize

In 2023 Source ran the third edition of its prize for new writing about photography. The winner of the prize was Klara Fritz and her submission is published in Source. The runner up submissions from this and previous years are all published here.

Writers Prize: 29 / Nov / 2023
‘The Carte de Visite Widow’
by Annette Richardson

On July 5th 1861, a young woman visited the fashionable London studio of French photographer Camille Silvy to have her portrait taken (Fig.1). Silvy was meticulous in keeping records of clients but on this occasion he initially made a mistake as to his sitter’s identity: recording her instead as the sister who accompanied her, then having to score through his flowing script and write the correct name. What is significant about this incident is not Silvy’s mistake – he had many sittings in a day – but how he identified the woman from her image. . . [ Full Article ▸]

Writers Prize - The Carte de Visite Widowby AnnetteRichardson

 Read Article ▸

Writers Prize: 29 / Nov / 2023
‘Beyond Romanticism’
by Sarah-Jane Field

My relationship with the machine began the moment I did. I slid out of my mother's body with relative ease but was hurriedly popped into an incubator because I was too cold. I survived. And that was the start of our connection. Soon afterwards, my mother and I were carried by the machine through the sky to meet my father waiting in Southern Africa. But not before the machine suspended little moments of us in London, surrounded by geriatric ladies in floral dresses. And there I am again, suspended in time in Cape Town, wearing a feather boa behind some drums. . . [ Full Article ▸]

Writers Prize - Beyond Romanticismby Sarah-JaneField

 Read Article ▸

Writers Prize: 29 / Nov / 2023
‘Losing Your Head’
by Sarah Crozier

Earlier this year, Madrid’s Reina Sofia Museum held an exhibition, Documentary Genealogies. Photography 1848-1917, that compared the rise of socialism and the development of photography. Among the many portraits of different social classes and “types”, one photograph stood out. A figure, whose head is out of the frame, stands naked but for some white stockings and a black shoe on the right leg, which is raised on a step. . . [ Full Article ▸]

Writers Prize - Losing Your Headby SarahCrozier

 Read Article ▸

Writers Prize: 28 / Nov / 2023
‘Hold On’
by Neva Elliott

Our relationship was meant to be casual, an intermittent distraction. The first photograph I took of him was less than a month after we met. That night I dreamt of drowning. In the morning, I photographed his hand lying on his chest, Christ-like, corpse-like, too beautiful to be real or alive. We continued to see each other, more often than planned. I kept photographing him – in his flat, my house, hotel rooms, holiday apartments, forests, the back of my car. Naked, laying bare his human fragility. This is what we do we’d joke, sex and photography. . . [ Full Article ▸]

Writers Prize - Hold Onby NevaElliott

 Read Article ▸

Writers Prize: 28 / Nov / 2023
‘What Remains’
by Liam Etheridge

The last photo of my mum was taken shortly after she was. The photo is of our hands holding, and it is shut away in a folder where I can’t see it. This is because when I once glimpsed the picture by accident, it put me in a bad mood for days. Nevertheless, I couldn’t simply delete it – it seemed disrespectful somehow, like flushing her ashes down the toilet. So I am stuck with it, tucked away somewhere in the digital recesses of my old laptop. . . [ Full Article ▸]

Writers Prize - What Remainsby LiamEtheridge

 Read Article ▸

Writers Prize: 25 / Jul / 2023
‘What’s in a Title?’
by Francesca Butterfield

The 1962 Italian film 'Mondo Cane' is not suitable for all audiences. It is filled to the brim with taboos—some harmless, some not—such as nudity, polyandry, animal cruelty, cross dressing, and violence. Written and directed by Paolo Cavara, Franco Prosperi, and Gualtiero Jacopetti, the film has a runtime of 108 minutes and is comprised of thirty-six Technicolor vignettes shot around the world. Despite being denounced as low-brow exploitation and 'shockumentary', 'Mondo Cane’s' box office success is a testament to the power of the masses.(1) It was used internationally as the model for a throng of successive films that featured graphic content under the guise of factuality. . . [ Full Article ▸]

Writers Prize - What’s in a Title?by FrancescaButterfield

 Read Article ▸

Writers Prize: 24 / Jul / 2023
‘Mandy O'Neill's Photograph of Diane’
by Oana Sânziana Marian

I don’t know Diane, but when I catch her gaze at eye level (as the photographer Mandy O’Neill captured her), there’s a complicated pain I haven’t felt since I was a teenager. But first, the photograph: Diane, a young woman of 17-18, standing, wearing a school uniform – white button-down shirt, navy-blue tie with thin diagonal stripes of maroon, yellow and green – against a featureless light blue background. There’s something retro, and institutional, about it: the pastel backdrop of school portraits in the 80’s and 90’s, when I was coming up. . . [ Full Article ▸]

Writers Prize - Mandy O'Neill's Photograph of Dianeby OanaSânziana Marian

 Read Article ▸

Writers Prize: 21 / Jul / 2023
‘Smile Though Your Heart is Aching’
by Xaver Könneker

Before Carole's smile became an object of study to be forensically examined in a mortuary, she lay dead in her English council estate apartment for over two years. Her body was slowly withering away in front of the flickering lights of a television that was left running the whole time. It was an automated payment system that, on behalf of benefit agencies, transferred half of her rent every month to the Metropolitan Housing Trust, leading officials to believe that she was still alive . . [ Full Article ▸]

Writers Prize - Smile Though Your Heart is Achingby XaverKönneker

 Read Article ▸

Writers Prize: 21 / Jul / 2023
‘The Body of Ulrike Meinhof’
by Chris Milton

Victors displayed the heads of the vanquished upon pikes, held aloft for yokel delectation and warning. This photo of Ulrike Meinhof, taken shortly after her suicide in the Stannheim prison mortuary in 1976 for police archives, leaked to the press by a police photographer to 'Stern' magazine, was intended to signal a victory and serve as deterrent to the public. But on its own terms, it fails. How could it not make the viewer question just what could have pushed this famously fervent, iron-willed woman to the point of self-murder? What they did to her? Whether it was indeed suicide and not murder? It is an image that sabotages itself through its very squalor. . . [ Full Article ▸]

Writers Prize - The Body of Ulrike Meinhofby ChrisMilton

 Read Article ▸

Writers Prize: 20 / Jul / 2023
‘Bad Photography’
by Jimi Cullen

The Scottish poet William McGonagall died in 1902, but is celebrated to this day, with dinners and events held in his memory well into the 21st century. Yet by every formal standard, McGonagall was a terrible poet. His work doesn’t scan, with lines of wildly varying rhythm and length, and he sacrificed imagery, metaphor, and meaning in service of painfully simple rhymes. . . [ Full Article ▸]

Writers Prize - Bad Photographyby JimiCullen

 Read Article ▸

Writers Prize: 07 / Sep / 2022
‘The Shabbiness of Beauty’
by Odette England

I dismember the book page by page. Isn't taking a photograph a sort of dismembering of the world? Consider subbing dismemberment for another word. Word is in world. There is no L in Moyra or Davey or Peter or Hujar or The Shabbiness of Beauty or Vanishing. Rather, lots of love, lonesomeness, lust, looking, and light. I tape the pages to my walls. Regret ensues. My daughter wants to know about the chickens. She grills me with questions. Whatever, she sniffs at the elephants, waves, babies, and the penis. What's for dinner? We rhumba for a week or so these pages and me. I stroke their edges, smile. I whisper to the high heels I love you. None of us says that often enough, much less mean it. . . [ Full Article ▸]

Writers Prize - The Shabbiness of Beautyby OdetteEngland

 Read Article ▸

Writers Prize: 16 / Jul / 2022
‘A Sinister Memoriam’
by Harvey Dimond

A photograph from Christina Sharpe’s book 'In the Wake: On Blackness and Being' has been branded on my memory ever since I first saw it two years ago. Reproduced as a black and white image in Sharpe’s book, the photograph shows a young Black girl, maybe around 10 years old, in the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. She had been pulled, miraculously, from the rubble of a building more than two weeks after the disaster, by which time most hopes of finding people alive would have abated. She is shown lying down, staring directly into the lens; stuck on her forehead is a piece of adhesive material with Ship written on it, in black marker pen. The material has been stuck on her head, branded almost, by US Army soldiers, as they wait to evacuate her from Port-au-Prince to an unknown destination. . . [ Full Article ▸]

Writers Prize - A Sinister Memoriamby HarveyDimond

 Read Article ▸

Writers Prize: 15 / Jul / 2022
‘Black Cats’
by Morwenna Kearsley

Pluto is often described as God of the Dead or Lord of the Underworld and I would add Photographer to that list. For what is a photograph if not a death? Down in the deep, dark shadows of his subterranean city, I imagine him printing photographs. Negative to positive, light to dark. Perhaps he uses the summer time, when Proserpina departs the Underworld, to really get to grips with the darkroom backlog. In his 1843 story 'The Black Cat', Edgar Allan Poe’s mercurial narrator names his pet cat Pluto. This brutal malefactor confesses to a pattern of abuse and violence meted out not only to Pluto but his wife also; a response to their consistent love and care and fear. Writing at a time when photography was still in its infancy, Poe plays on the prophetic image-apparition as central to superstitious beliefs and dreadful outcomes. In one scene, an image of the murdered Pluto appears on a scorched wall after fire consumes the narrator’s house. The white, negative image of the black cat communicates to observers the brutal manner of its death. In another scene, a replacement black cat’s tuft of white chest hair slowly begins to form a prophetic image of gallows. Poe tells us, through the use of black and white images that the positive photograph is bound to its negative in perpetuity, like a crime to its punishment. . . [ Full Article ▸]

Writers Prize - Black Catsby MorwennaKearsley

 Read Article ▸

Writers Prize: 14 / Apr / 2022
‘The Only Photograph of Mr Pencil’
by Sinéad Corcoran

Mr Pencil survived the War by turning sideways. Every movement of his comrades looked like the worst case of having a fleshy body that Mr Pencil had ever seen. They heaved and dragged themselves up and down the mountainsides. Blinded by their own sweat and slowed by their own feet that rejected their duty to move, move, move, hide, hide, hide. They staggered under the weight of their own selves and when they fell, he – like a sliver, a ripple, a faint glint against the sky – watched the shrapnel and the bullets press into the thickness of them. Since childhood, Mr Pencil was always looking at the sky: the chance of rain, the chance of wind, the chance of a sudden summer storm. His mother said he was of a delicate constitution, a nervous disposition, running inside at any sign of danger. In fair weather, however, he was the finest scout in all of Western Macedonia. . . [ Full Article ▸]

Writers Prize - The Only Photograph of Mr Pencilby SinéadCorcoran

 Read Article ▸

Writers Prize: 15 / Mar / 2022
‘Things To Do With Photographs’
by Blaine O'Donnell

Individually, featherlight. Together, they are a weight in our house, the box casting shadows as the sun passes over the apples. I know they are there, always, waiting in the crate, as we move in and out of rooms, seasons. I come home for a week when the trees are in blossom and the rain batters the petals down into the earth. Some of the albums have shifted. Has my mother been in here looking? Her life is another life entirely. I draw a diagram of our overlapping lives. When everyone is elsewhere, I go back to the box of past happenings, the kaleidoscopic, overlapping mound of the camera's glances. A surfeit of existence has been gathered here, skimmed from the swim of things. I can not stop looking. I look at eyes looking into the future. I look at the family features appearing in faces. A gamut of facets. I look for their frst appearance, their most recent iteration. . . [ Full Article ▸]

Writers Prize - Things To Do With Photographsby BlaineO'Donnell

 Read Article ▸

Writers Prize: 15 / Feb / 2022
‘Shaking Out of Polaroid Nostalgia’
by Robert Lewis

During the last week of the 2020-21 school year, one of my middle school students asked to take a picture with his friends. The student, a seventh grader in my English Language Learners class, was a bit of a handful; he didn’t really ask, he told. 'We’re going to take a picture,' he said. But just as I was ready to verbally pounce, I saw him slip his hand into his knapsack and pull out a modern, instant camera. I melted. He unbuttoned the black case of his black Fujifilm Instamax Mini 11 and looked at me. I nodded. 'Great choice,' I said. . . [ Full Article ▸]

Writers Prize - Shaking Out of Polaroid Nostalgiaby RobertLewis

 Read Article ▸

Writers Prize: 22 / Mar / 2021
‘Through a Kitchen Window’
by Julie Dawn Dennis

At home I am, in normal circumstances, liberated by limitation, free to be myself inside my own room. Through my window I can be both seen and hidden. With soft curtains closed, I redact the outside world; with them open, I may gaze across the outside, and (if I choose to) photograph what I see. Looking through the viewfinder it is as though I am present in both places at once. Both the window and the camera complicate my interior and exterior worlds. If the human eye is window to one’s soul, is a camera an extension to this ‘soul-window’? You look into my eye to read me, to know me. I want to share with you an image of what my eye sees so that you may read me further and know me deeper. . . [ Full Article ▸]

Writers Prize - Through a Kitchen Windowby Julie DawnDennis

 Read Article ▸

Writers Prize: 22 / Feb / 2021
‘Looking at My Parents’
by Julia Tanner

“This is the last time you’ll see me in my twenties,” I said to my father in the car. He turned around and stretched his face into a smile with dancing eyes. My father is a quiet man, and rarely makes eye contact. His affection is as genuine as it is awkwardly expressed: he makes a caricature of himself in order to show it. His father was a photographer whose photographs rarely contained people. Those that did normally held faces turned away. When I think of portraits in photography - posed, the smiling gaze looking out - I think of the brief moments of eye contact between myself and my father before we hug goodbye. These are the rare times I look directly at him looking directly at me. . . [ Full Article ▸]

Writers Prize - Looking at My Parentsby JuliaTanner

 Read Article ▸

Writers Prize: 25 / Jan / 2021
‘Making Space to Speak From’
by Mads Holm

Riot police surround the entire group of protestors. Anonymous black shapes appear like shadows on the walls of the red brick houses on both sides of the street. Their gloved hands clutch the truncheons. I look to both sides. Like plucking flowers from a bouquet of black roses the riot police begin pulling out protestors from the crowd. One after another grabbed, forced to the ground, handcuffed and dragged down the side streets. Fleeting moments of crisscross eye contact spread an anxious energy. Heartbeats felt in finger tips. . . [ Full Article ▸]

Writers Prize - Making Space to Speak Fromby MadsHolm

 Read Article ▸