The Commission

Energy for Change: Fractured Stories will give one photographer the opportunity to capture the untold stories surrounding fracking in the UK for an exclusive British Journal of Photography commission, supported by Ecotricity. The selected photographer will win a £5,000 project grant; travel and accommodation expenses will also be covered. The series will receive extensive coverage on BJP’s website, including three dedicated features.

Fracking is a divisive social, political and environmental subject. It has long been a major issue across the US; over 100,000 oil and gas wells have been drilled and fracked in the country since 2005.  The UK has large shale gas reserves, but not a single well has been fracked since a ban on the process was lifted in 2013. This year, however, has seen renewed efforts by the UK government to encourage the development of drill test sites throughout England.

Photographically, this subject presents a challenge. Fracking takes place below ground; the process involves pumping a mixture of water, sand and chemicals at high-pressure deep underground to break apart rock, and extract natural gas and oil. Although the volume of shale gas in the UK that can be technically recovered is unknown, in 2013, David Cameron stated that if just 10 percent of the known reserves were extracted, this would provide the equivalent of the country’s total gas needs for 51 years.

“Local opposition to fracking is simply being ignored – it’s the most unpopular energy source ever, but it’s being forced on people by the government,” explains Dale Vince, OBE, founder of Ecotricity.

Fractured Stories offers a unique opportunity for the winning photographer to develop their own creative approach to documenting fracking in the UK. Looking beyond the headlines, the series should approach the subject from a new perspective.

The project period will last six weeks, from mid-August to the end of September 2018. During this time, the selected photographer will have the freedom to structure the commission as they see fit. They may choose to travel around the UK or remain in one location. This flexibility will allow for the series to evolve in line with the practitioner’s experience on the ground.

The resulting body of work will stand as a visual record of this complex and, in many ways, imperceptible subject-matter

The six week project period will run from mid-August to the end of September 2018.

The Winner

The winning photographer receives:

 • A £5,000 project grant
• Travel and accommodation expenses during the commission period
• Extensive coverage of the project on BJP’s website, including three dedicated features
• Promotion on BJP’s social media channels


Agata Bar Editorial Director, NOOR Photo Agency

Agata Bar is the editorial director of the international photography agency and foundation Noor. Headquartered in Amsterdam, Noor is owned and directed by its impressive roster of member photographers under a cooperative model. Bar has been working in photography for over a decade. In 2006 she joined the team of the Krakow Photomonth Festival, going on to work with a number of photographic organisations, including, Foam Magazine and Unseen Amsterdam, before joining Noor.

Izabela Radwanska Zhang | Assistant Editor, British Journal of Photography

Izabela Radwanska Zhang is the assistant editor of British Journal of Photography; the world’s longest-running photography magazine, in print since 1854. Radwanska Zhang holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City University, London. Before joining BJP, she worked as a freelance journalist, writing for The Independent, Disegno magazine and Press Association.

Dale Vince, OBE Founder of Ecotricity

Dale Vince is a green industrialist and inventor. A former New Age traveller, Vince founded Ecotricity in 1995 as the world’s first green energy company; today it provides 100 percent renewable electricity from the wind and sun, along with gas from frack-free sources. Ecotricity is at the forefront of the drive to make Britain greener, campaigning across the areas of energy, transport and food. In 2004, Vince received an OBE from the Queen for services to the environment.