Stunning photos of a Barnardo’s Girl and teenager who was supported by the charity chosen from 13,000 entries to appear in Portrait of Britain 2018 book

A “Barnardo’s Girl” and a man who was supported by Barnardo’s as a teenager are celebrating after their photographs were chosen out of thousands of entries to appear in a collection of stunning portraits illustrating modern Britain.

Following an open call for submissions, the British Journal of Photography received more than 13,000 images and these were eventually whittled down to 200 shortlisted photos to appear in the Portrait of Britain 2018 book.  

Photographer Matt Grayson, from Leyton, previously worked with Barnardo’s on a book to commemorate the charity’s 150th year, which featured photographs and quotes from former service users such as Isaac Harvey, who was supported by the charity in his teens, and Linda Bowley, who grew up in Barnardo’s care at the former Girls’ Village Home in Barkingside.

Two years on and Matt decided to enter his photos of the pair into the Portrait of Britain competition and to his delight they were shortlisted.

The stunning portraits of both Linda and Isaac were chosen to appear in the 2018 book.

Matt, 38, said:

I really enjoyed meeting Isaac and Linda for the initial project and I’m delighted their portraits have been chosen to appear in the book.

I really wanted to capture their characters and the sense of independence that they both have and I feel their portraits do this.

Both of them are really inspiring.

It’s wonderful to be able to raise more awareness for Barnardo’s as well as the charity does fantastic work.

Isaac Harvey, 23, from Ilford, Essex, was supported by Barnardo’s as a teenager, having respite care which saw him stay overnight at one of Barnardo’s projects once a month. After this experience, he decided he wanted to give back to Barnardo’s and became a volunteer and a mentor for young boys at an afterschool club.

Isaac, who was also chosen to carry the Olympic torch in 2012, said:

It’s a real privilege and honour to have been chosen to be part of the Portrait of Britain as I feel that I am representing Britain.

The book is really interesting as it has lots of people from different backgrounds and walks of life in it and I’m proud to be a part of it.

Being in this book has given me another platform where I can show people that even though I have a disability and I use a wheelchair I am still able to do the same things as others! It is amazing being able to share my story with more people.

I’m very happy for Matt as well, two years on and we are still making things happen!


Linda’s portrait was additionally chosen as one of 100 winning portraits which are now appearing as part of a digital exhibition which appear at different locations such as bus stops, shopping malls and train stations, throughout Britain.

Linda, 63, who returned to live in a retirement cottage in Village Way, near the site of the original Barnardo’s homes, eight years ago, was also thrilled that her photo had been chosen.

She said:

I’m really pleased for Matt that the photo has been chosen to appear in the book and as part of the exhibition as he was a nice young man.

He really made an effort to find out about Barnardo’s when he came for the photoshoot and was so interested to learn about the charity which was wonderful.

I’m really pleased the portrait has been chosen, I feel quite honoured that my photo will appear in the book, and I’m very happy for Matt as well.

Linda Bowley

Lynn Gradwell, Director of Barnardo’s London, said:

We are thrilled that Linda and Isaac’s photos were chosen to appear in The Portrait of Britain.

It’s a big honour and will hopefully help to raise more awareness of Barnardo’s and how it helps children and young people.

We are so grateful to them for sharing their stories and to Matt for taking such stunning photos and for continuing to promote our work.

The Portrait of Britain is currently available to buy from for £20.  

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