Chohee Courtois holding her award at the 2023 British Photography Awards gala press wall; photograph Stu Williamson
A self portrait which tells a very personal story
Chohee Courtois, a portrait photographer from Acton, has been honoured with a national photography award at this year’s prestigious British Photography Awards gala at the Dorchester.
Open to every photographer based in the UK, the competition attracts thousands of entries; 475 images were shortlisted in 19 categories, showcasing the best of British photographic talent. Chohee’s picture won the People’s Choice award in the Self Portrait category.
It tells a very personal story. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer and wanted to take a picture of her body, documenting it before surgery.
“Earlier this year, I faced the challenge of a breast cancer diagnosis along with other personal issues” she told The Chiswick Calendar. “This image was primarily to document my breast before surgery but also to symbolise the strength needed to overcome such a stressful period. It stands as a beacon of hope.”
In a gesture of solidarity, Chohee wishes to support others facing hard times.
“I extend my love and support to everyone in difficult circumstances, and I am deeply thankful for the support I received during my own,” she said.
She was diagnosed at Charing Cross hospital where she had excellent treatment, she told us:
“The diagnosis was good, and competent; the nurse was very comforting.”
Chohee had the surgery, a lumpectomy, at King Edward VII hospital.
She took her self portrait at her studio in Acton, using a tripod, and called it “Mountain before the cut”.
Chohee has also won awards for her pet photography
Describing the evening she received the award as “possibly one of the best nights” of her life, Mrs. Courtois said:
“I was already over the moon to be shortlisted for the British Photography Awards; however, winning the People’s Choice award left me beyond words. I’m eternally grateful to all who appreciate my work.”
She now intends to offer a limited number of prints of her award-winning image for sale, with proceeds going to a breast cancer charity, subject to interest. For details or to express interest, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Professionally, Chohee usually takes pet portraits. She has won other awards before for her pet portraits, winning the 2023 International Pet Photographer of the Year Silver and Bronze Awards, and being chosen as a finalist in the 2023 International Dog Photography Awards. She has been commended for the emotional depth and technical precision of her work, capturing the unique personalities of her subjects and the bond between pets and their owners.
She is now looking forward to opening her new purpose-built studio, currently under construction near West Acton tube station.
Images above: Some of Chohee Courtois’ pet portraits
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