Shibasish Saha

Interview Caroline Hunter

© Shibasish Saha

“I like images that pull me in, suspend time, and make me reflect on what it is the photographer is trying to convey.” – Caroline Hunter

─── by Josh Bright, March 8, 2022
  • Caroline Hunter, judge of The Independent Photographer’s 2022 Emerging Talent Award, is an award winning photo editor who, over the course of her two-decade-long career has worked with some of the most prominent names in contemporary photography.

    Color portrait of man with flower headress, Bali, indonesia, by Michael Dean Morgan
    From the series "Looking for Bali" © Michael Dean Morgan

    In addition to her work as a photo editor, she is an educator and portfolio reviewer and has served as a juror and nominator for such leading photography awards as, World Press Photo, Leica Oskar Barnack Award, and the Deutsche Borse Photography Foundation Prize. She is currently working as a photo editor for The Guardian Saturday magazine, (formerly Guardian Weekend), where she commissions groundbreaking work that spans a diverse range of photographic styles and genres.

    Color photography portrait of woman with red gloves by Anna Karvounari
    © Anna Karvounari
    Color Photography, Landscape, Yellow Fog with Purple light Jessica Bizzoni
    "Flag of Light" © Jessica Bizzoni - Winner, Color Award, 2019

    When did you first become interested in photography?

    CH: As a teenager, I was fascinated by magazines. I loved the mix of great writing and strong visuals and I used to collect different titles. After A’levels, I took a Foundation course in Art and Design and spent time with friends who were studying photography and film. We were always experimenting – creating our own fashion shoots or trying to make pop videos. I guess my interest in photography grew from this. 

    Black & white photography by Luciano Cagliardi, water, feet
    "Stepping strong", Buenos Aires, Argentina © Luciano Cagliardi - Finalist, Black & White Award, November 2018

    CH: Later I moved to London to study fashion journalism and one of the modules was photography. We looked at the work of photographers like Irving Penn, Helmut Newton, and Richard Avedon. I became interested in how a photograph reveals so much about the attitudes of the time – even in images that aren’t intended to be journalistic – and the lasting impact that an iconic image can have. We were encouraged to attend as many exhibitions as possible and my knowledge grew. I also had a keen interest in current affairs from a young age, and photojournalism and documentary photography helped me make sense of a complex world.

    Color photography portrait of couple by Peyton Fulford
    © Peyton Fulford - Finalist Emerging Talent 2016

    What is the most memorable moment from your time at the Guardian?

    CH: There have been so many. Working on a newspaper supplement is stimulating and fast-paced, so it’s hard to pinpoint one particular moment. When I first started at the Guardian Weekend magazine, we planned a 16th birthday special issue with a portfolio of celebrities shot by David Bailey. That felt very special. 

    Color photography by Yael Gadot, ceremony, religious, candles
    "Holy Fire Ceremony" © Yael Gadot

    Which 3 photographers/artists most inspire you?

    CH: Gordon Parks, Malick Sidibe, and Guy Bourdin – three very different artists who were all ahead of their time.

    What is the one piece of advice you would give to up-and-coming photographers?

    CH: Have a strong website that is easy to navigate; some social media presence, and be part of a creative community where you can exchange ideas and make good connections – so many opportunities are often the result of chance meetings or recommendations. Be curious about the world, build resilience and for every commission, do research. Sorry, that’s more than three!

    artistic fashion studio portrait of a woman by Boyang Hu
    © Boyang Hu - Finalist Emerging Talent 2021
    black and white portrait of a kenyan boy by Jack Lawson
    "Kenyan Boy", Nairobi, Kenya © Jack Lawson

    You’ve served as a juror and nominator for numerous prestigious awards and competitions, when working in this capacity, what do you look for in an image?

    CH: I like both simplicity and complexity – an image that grabs my attention, but the more I look, the more layers or questions are revealed. I like images that pull me in, suspend time and make me reflect on what it is the photographer is trying to convey.

    An elderly woman prepares threads of red paprika on September 19, 2020 in Donja Lokosnica, Serbia
    “Serbia’s Red Gold: Pepper” - Donja Lokosnica, Serbia © Vladimir Zivojinovic

    What do you hope to see change/develop in the photography industry over the coming year and beyond?

    CH: Recent global events have sparked discussions about the role of diversity and inclusion in the creative industries. I’ve enjoyed seeing the visibility of emerging photographers of color, many of who are now thriving. I hope the role of inclusion in photography will become more and more important as we rethink our ideas about the representation of those who work and exist outside the mainstream.

    color portrait photograph of a man and his horse in Dakota, USA by Noam Azouz
    “A friend and ally”, Dakota, USA © Noam Azouz
    color portrait photograph by Keren Lasme
    Untitled - Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire © Keren Lasme - Finalist, Color Award 2021

    All images in this article were entrees to previous awards. Since our inception, we’ve provided a platform for emerging visual artists both through our monthly awards and through our magazine, where, alongside the work of more established artists, we feature and give exposure to award entrees that catch our eye.

    abstract black & white medium format film landscape photograph by Warren Agee
    “Uncertainty I” © Warren Agee

    Our Emerging Talent Award is dedicated to discovering the best up-and-coming photographers from all ages and backgrounds working across all photographic styles and genres. There are no boundaries or restrictions, thus affording entrants the space and freedom to showcase their vision, creativity, and skill.


    All images © their respective owners