Killing Me Softly: Photography student shortlisted for Portrait of Britain

18 January 2022

An airsoft player emerging from smoke
Airsoft player, Invicta Battlefield (2021)
Type: Text
Category: Student stories

A captivating portrait of an airsoft player emerging from ‘battle’ by MA Photography (Online) student Danny Burrows has made the shortlist for Portrait of Britain, one of the UK’s biggest and most eminent annual photography exhibitions.

Underpinned by a mission to capture the many faces of modern Britain, Portrait of Britain is judged by a panel of international industry leaders, which this year included Mariama Attah, Curator at Open Eye Gallery and Nadine Persaud, Deputy Director of photography championing charity Photoworks.

Danny joined our online Photography master’s course with an impressive array of experience under his belt. Already an experienced editor and writer, he became a freelance photographer in 2013 after leaving his role as Editor in Chief at Onboard Magazine.

In 2015 he began documenting the refugee crisis in Northern France; a project entitled Indeterminate State which went on to gain recognition from multiple media outlets including The Guardian and Huck Magazine, as well as featuring in an exhibition at Wells Art Contemporary.

Being shortlisted for Portrait of Britain is the latest accolade Danny has received for his photography. The image in question - Airsoft player, Invicta Battlefield (2021) – is a striking leisure-time martial sports portrait which forms part of Killing Me Softly, a project about the airsoft community which Danny is working on as part of the master’s.



He told us: "The intention of the project is to discover who these self-imagined warriors are, why they play war in their leisure time and the social and cultural circumstances and symbols that inform and encourage their games."

On being shortlisted, Danny said: “It is a real honour to have a photograph shortlisted for the Portrait of Britain book. The book and exhibition of selected works provides photographers with a tangible context in which their creativity can be seen by both the photographic community and the wider media. Exposure that we as artists all need and crave.”

Of his experience on the master’s course, he added: “I think it is interesting as it shows that although studying, you can at the same time progress your career in the bigger photographic community.”

The work in progress behind Killing Me Softly was so rich that Danny decided to create a zine dedicated to the materials, which includes a signed A5 print of Airsoft player, Invicta Battlefield (2021) and two other prints and comes in a stylised MOD folder to add context. Find out more about the magazine here or check out his instagram @dannyburrowsphoto.


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