Vanessa Winship

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Vanessa Winship

Born1960 (age 60–61)
Notable work
  • Sweet Nothings
  • She Dances on Jackson
Spouse(s)George Georgiou

Vanessa Winship HonFRPS (born 1960) is a British photographer who works on long term projects of portrait, landscape, reportage and documentary photography. These personal projects have predominantly been in Eastern Europe but also the USA. Winship's books include Schwarzes Meer (2007), Sweet Nothings (2008) and She Dances on Jackson (2013).

Her first retrospective exhibition was at Fundación Mapfre gallery in Madrid in 2014.[1] Her first major UK solo exhibition is at Barbican Art Gallery, London, in 2018. Her work has also been exhibited twice in the National Portrait Gallery in London and prominently at Rencontres d'Arles in France.

Winship has won two World Press Photo Awards, 'Photographer of the Year' at the Sony World Photography Awards, the HCB Award (the first woman to do so) and in 2018 an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society. She is a member of Agence Vu photography agency.[2]


Winship grew up in Barton-upon-Humber,[3][4] rural Lincolnshire.[5] She studied at Baysgarth School;[4] Hull Art College[4] (which included a photography module); photography at Filton Technical College, Bristol;[4] and photography, film, and video at the Polytechnic of Central London from 1984 to 1987, graduating with a BA (Hons). She met her husband, the photographer George Georgiou, on the degree course.[5]

From 1999 she spent a decade living and working in the Balkans and surrounding territories of Turkey and the Black Sea. First she lived in Belgrade, for a short while in Athens, and five years in Istanbul.[6]

Her work is about the concepts of borders,[6] land, desire, identity, belonging,[6] memory and history, how those histories are told and how identities are expressed.[7]

Her books have been widely acclaimed. Sean O'Hagan, writing in The Guardian, said "She is perhaps best known for Sweet Nothings, one of my favourite photography books of recent years".[6] She Dances on Jackson was considered by Simon Bainbridge (editor of the BJP),[8] Sean O'Hagan,[9] Rob Hornstra[10] and other reviewers to be shortlisted amongst the best photography books released in 2013.[11][12][13][14] Phil Coomes, Picture editor at BBC News said "This is pure photography, and in my view, when viewed as a whole, is about as good as it gets."[15]

Winship is a member of Agence Vu photography agency[2] and the World Photographic Academy.[16] As of 2012 and 2013 she was based in London and Folkestone, England.[5]


Winship and George Georgiou travel together,[6] alternating between one working and the other either supporting them or experimenting with their own photography.[5]

She uses black-and-white photographic film in natural light.[17] For her work in a reportage—or street—style she has used a 35 mm hand-held camera,[n 1] for her landscape work she has at times used a medium format camera[3] and for her portraiture work she has at times used a 5×4-inch large format camera.[n 2][6][15][17][18] She says of the difference between using 35 mm and large format that "Each methodology makes for a different relationship with my subjects [and] both have their own beauty for me".[19]


  • Georgia in Transition (2004)
  • Ukraine, Spring (2005)
  • Imagined States and Desires: A Balkan Journey 1 (2006)
  • Ashura – Turkey, Istanbul (2006)
  • Black Sea: Between chronicle and fiction (2007)
  • Sweet Nothings: The Schoolgirls from the Borderlands of Eastern Anatolia (2007)
  • Georgia, a Small Piece of Eden (2009)
  • Georgia, Schoolchildren (2011)


Publications by Winship[edit]

  • Schwarzes Meer (Black Sea). Hamburg: Mare, 2007. ISBN 978-3-936543-95-7.[20]
  • Sweet Nothings.
  • She Dances on Jackson. London: Mack, 2013. ISBN 978-1-907946-36-3.[15][21][22] Reprint edition. London: Mack, 2018.
  • Vanessa Winship. Madrid: Fundación Mapfre, 2014. ISBN 978-8498444681. A retrospective.
  • And Time Folds. London: Mack, 2018. ISBN 978-1-912339-09-9. A retrospective. Published to accompany an exhibition at Barbican Art Gallery, London. Photographs from seven series, made in the Balkans, Turkey, the Caucasus, Georgia, America and the UK, as well as Winship's personal archival material and an essay by David Chandler.
  • Seeing The Light of Day. B-Sides Box Set, 2019. Set of 50 cards. Edition of 1000 copies.
  • Sete 19. le bec en l'air, 2019. With a text by fr:Christian Caujolle.

Publications with contributions by Winship[edit]


Solo exhibitions[edit]

  • Black Sea, Vannes, 2008; Paris, 2008; Shenyang, 2008; Newcastle, UK, 2009; Sète, 2011; Rome, 2011.
  • Sweet Nothings: The Schoolgirls from the Borderlands of Eastern Anatolia, Rencontres d'Arles, France, 2008;[23] Athens, 2008; Lillebonne, 2009; London, 2009; Rotterdam, Netherlands, 2009; Newcastle, UK, 2009; Saint-Denis, 2010; Foligno, 2010; Milan, 2010; Vichy, 2013.
  • Georgia, Rencontres internationales de la photographie en Gaspésie, Canada, 2012; Third Floor Gallery, Cardiff, Wales, 2013.[24]
  • She Dances on Jackson, Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation, Paris, 2013.[3][25][26]
  • Retrospective, Fundación Mapfre gallery, Madrid,[27] during PHotoEspaña, 2014.[n 3]
  • Vanessa Winship: And Time Folds, Barbican Art Gallery, London, 2018[28][29][30] Work from Imagined States and Desires: a Balkan Journey, Black Sea: Between Chronicle and Fiction, Sweet Nothings, Georgia: Seeds Carried by the wind, Humber, And Time Folds, She Dances on Jackson as well as ephemera.

Exhibitions with others[edit]


  • 1998 – First prize, Arts Stories category, World Press Photo Awards, for Junior Ballroom Dancers[6]
  • 2003 – Honorable mention, Leica Oskar Barnack Award, awarded by Leica Camera AG at Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie, Arles, France, for "Albanian Landscape"[20]
  • 2008
    • Godfrey Argent Award for the best portrait in black and white (part of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize), National Portrait Gallery, London, for the series Sweet Nothings[33]
    • Iris D'Or (overall winner), Photographer of the Year, Sony World Photography Awards, World Photography Organisation (WPO)[6]
    • Winner, Portraiture category, Professional Competition, Sony World Photography Awards, World Photography Organisation (WPO), for a photograph from Sweet Nothings[34]
    • First prize, Portraits Stories category, 2007 World Press Photo Awards, for Sweet Nothings[35]
    • FIOF (Fondo Internazionale Orvieto Fotografia) Book Prize 2008 (AKA the Orvieto Book Prize), Reportage section, awarded by Associazione Fotografi Italiana, Orvieto, Italy, for Schwarzes Meer[20]
    • Final selection, Leica Oskar Barnack Award, awarded by Leica Camera AG at Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie, Arles, France, for Schwarzes Meer[20]
  • 2009 – Second Prize, Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, National Portrait Gallery, London, for Girl in a Golden Dress from the series Georgia for a Song[36]
  • 2010
    • PHotoEspaña (PHE) Discovery Award for best portfolio (Premio PHotoEspaña Descubrimientos al mejor portfolio), International Festival of Photography and Visual Arts, Madrid, Spain, for the series Sweet Nothings[37][38]
    • National Media Museum 2010 Photography Award, Bradford, England[39]
  • 2011 – Prize-winner, HCB Award [Wikidata] 2011, Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation, a €30,000 grant for She Dances on Jackson (then known as Out there: An American Odyssey)[6][25]
  • 2018: Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society, Bath[40]


  1. ^ Schwarzes Meer was shot using 35 mm.
  2. ^ Sweet Nothings was shot using a large format camera.
  3. ^ Not being Spanish, her show is not officially included within PHotoEspaña 2014 as in that year it focused on Spanish photography.


  1. ^ Hodgson, Francis (27 June 2014). "PhotoEspaña: the gaze turns inwards". Financial Times. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Photographers". Agence Vu. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Jobey, Liz (10 May 2013). "Looking for America". Financial Times. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d "Former pupil turned photographer returns to school as part of project". Scunthorpe Telegraph. 2 February 2011. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d Bainbridge, Simon (2013). "The Long Road". British Journal of Photography. 160 (7814): 48–73.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i O'Hagan, Sean (28 June 2011). "Vanessa Winship's poetic portraits". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  7. ^ "Portrait Society Gallery presents Vanessa Winship's 'Dancers and Fighters'". World Photography Organisation. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  8. ^ Bainbridge, Simon (2013). "Best photobooks of 2013". British Journal of Photography. Incisive Financial Publishing Limited. 160 (7819): 84.
  9. ^ O'Hagan, Sean (8 December 2013). "Photography books of the year – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  10. ^ Hornstra, Rob (3 January 2014). "Best books 2013: Rob Hornstra". Photo-Eye. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
  11. ^ Colberg, Jörg (23 December 2013). "My favourite photobooks in 2013". Conscientious Photography Magazine. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  12. ^ "Time Picks the Best Photobooks of 2013". Time. 25 November 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  13. ^ Andrews, Blake (1 January 2014). "Best books 2013: Blake Andrews". Photo-Eye. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
  14. ^ Hido, Todd (5 January 2014). "Best books 2013: Todd Hido". Photo-Eye. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
  15. ^ a b c Coomes, Phil (15 May 2013). "Each picture paints 1,000 words in Vanessa Winship's US photos". BBC. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  16. ^ "Sony World Photography Awards 2012 L'Iris d'Or and Winners Announced". World Photography Organisation. 26 April 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  17. ^ a b "Portrait Society Gallery presents Vanessa Winship's 'Dancers and Fighters'". World Photography Organisation. 2 August 2010. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  18. ^ "School Photos – Vanessa Winship in Rural Turkey". 8 July 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  19. ^ Lane, Christopher (22 February 2009). "Vanessa Winship". Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  20. ^ a b c d Jobey, Liz (18 December 2008). "Photographer Vanessa Winship: Anatolian borders". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  21. ^ Newman, Cheryl (5 August 2013). "Captivating black and white photographs of the US wilderness". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  22. ^ Peces, Juan (19 May 2013). "Norteamérica como ensoñación". El País. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  23. ^ O'Hagan, Sean (13 July 2008). "Arles dressed up for the summer". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  24. ^ "Third Floor Gallery Cardiff – Exhibitions. "Georgia" by Vanessa Winship". Third Floor Gallery. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  25. ^ a b O'Hagan, Sean (27 May 2013). "American beauty: Vanessa Winship's photos of still, small-town US life". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  26. ^ "Vanessa Winship – Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson". Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  27. ^ O'Hagan, Sean (17 June 2014). "Vanessa Winship: the great, unsung chronicler of the world's outsiders". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 June 2014.
  28. ^ "Press release: Vanessa Winship: And Time Folds". Barbican Centre. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  29. ^ Dickerman, Kenneth; Winship, Vanessa (6 June 2018). "Deeply poetic photos focus on the nexus of 'chronicle and fiction'". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  30. ^ "Time Folds for Vanessa Winship at Barbican Art Gallery". British Journal of Photrography. 12 June 2018. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  31. ^ "Vanessa Winship". Le château d’eau, pôle photographique de Toulouse. 14 January 2015. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
  32. ^ "George Georgiou" Le château d’eau, pôle photographique de Toulouse. Retrieved 24 September 2016
  33. ^ "Vanessa Winship Recipient of the Godfrey Argent Award… News Photo". Getty Images. 4 November 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  34. ^ [1] Sony World Photography Awards at Cannes
  35. ^ "2008 World Press Photo Awards". CBS News. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  36. ^ [2] National Portrait Gallery – Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Priz
  37. ^ "The Israeli Yaakov Israel, winner of Descubrimientos PHE12". Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  38. ^ "Winner of Discoveries PHE Award 2010 Vanessa Winship Presents Her Solo Exhibition". artdaily. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  39. ^ "Winners of the National Media Museum 2010 Photography Awards Announced". National Media Museum. 25 November 2010. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  40. ^ "The Royal Photographic Society Awards 2018". Retrieved 10 December 2018.

External links[edit]