Portrait celebrating neurodiversity wins
Portrait of Britain

An MFA Photography student at the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) has been named one of the winners of Portrait of Britain, celebrating Britain’s diversity.

15 Jan 2024

Priyanka Pattni at Home by Naoto Yoshida

Naoto Yoshida’s photograph, Priyanka Pattni at Home, captured the subject playing with a stim toy – something they play with when they feel sensory overload.

It is one of 100 winning photographs, which have been published in Portrait of Britain Volume 6, (Bluecoat Press), and are on display on the British Journal of Photography’s 1854 digital platform.

Photo by ©Naoto Yoshida

And throughout January, all winning entries are being displayed on digital advertising screens (by JCDecaux) located in high streets, shopping centres and transport hubs across the country.

© Naoto Yoshida

Naoto’s portrait is part of a larger body of documentary work focused on celebrating the ordinary, lived experience of neurodivergent people, particularly the moment of repose, helping show the interplay between them and their surroundings.

“The impetus for this project was a sense of unease from the realisation that I simplified the lived experiences of neurodivergent individuals when I, as a journalist, reported about the challenges faced by Japanese young people with disabilities in their job search,” said Naoto. “Research led me to ponder how to visualise ‘invisible’ disabilities.”

Naoto has always loved taking pictures of people he met and places he visited, but his main inspiration for photography was his dad’s aspiration to be a photojournalist, photographing the Indochina refugee crisis or indigenous culture.

Photo by ©Naoto Yoshida

Having been introduced to Professor Anna Fox, a forerunner in British photography, by a friend and UCA photography alumni, Naoto enrolled in the two-year MFA course. The course has enabled him to acquire first-hand practical experience, expand his ways of working and researching, and take him out of his comfort zone.

The subject of his photograph, Priyanka, encouraged Naoto to submit their image to the competition, which is seen as a celebration of identity, capturing the many faces of modern Britain.

Mick Moore, one of the judges and CEO and Creative Director of the British Journal of Photography said: “Portrait of Britain captures the quirky, the mundane, the here and now of the extraordinary every day in which we live.”

To learn more about studying photography at UCA, visit the course pages.

Follow Naoto on Instagram.