Thursday, 12 June 2014

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize (2013) - The Wilson

Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou , Untitled (Citizens of Porto-Novo), 2012
The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, 2013 is at The Wilson, Cheltenham until 20 July 2014.
The exhibition comprises 60 portraits selected from a competition entry of over 5000 submissions which were first shown at the National Portrait Gallery at the end of last year.
The winner of the £12,000 first prize was Spencer Murphy for his photograph of jump jockey Katie Walsh.

Spencer Murphy, Katie Walsh, 2013
Judge Rebecca Valentine commented: I think the quality of the photography  – the colours, the colour balance and the palette that he’s used – really stood out from everything else in the over 5,000 images we looked at. Her expression is almost one of defeat, she seems exhausted and looks so female, and clearly emotional, in what is a very masculine sport. All sorts of reasons: primarily the photography; secondarily the portraiture and thirdly the celebrity, make it a winner. (From NPG blog) 
 Second prize was awarded to Giles Price for Kumbh Mela Pilgrim Mamta Dubey and infant. His portrait is from a series shot at the 2013 Kumbh Mela Festival in Allahabad India. Taken outside the main hospital in a pop up studio, the portrait shows Mamta who was on a pilgrimage to the Kumbh.  

Giles Price, Kumbh Mela Pilgrim: Mamta Dubey and infant, 2013
Judge Suki Dhanda commented: What struck me about this portrait was that it is not a typical portrait of an Indian woman, photographed in India. Because of the plain, contrasting backdrop it could have been taken anywhere – it doesn’t have the busy background of a street scene or crowds typical of photographs made there. But the light is so beautiful it has to be in India and the combination of fabrics, the way she is isolated and the expression on her face as she looks at the camera, really caught my attention. (From NPG blog)
Third prize went to Anoush Abrar for Kofi Annan, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Anoush Abrar, Kofi Annan, 2013
Judge Rebecca Valentine commented: The reason this particularly resonated was the power of the use of black and white and his expression. Ordinarily when people are photographed with their eyes closed, they look very serene and rested whereas he doesn’t. He looks troubled – he seems to have the weight of the world on his shoulders. I thought it was the perfect portrait of Kofi Annan. (From NPG blog)
Fourth Prize went to Dorothee Deiss for The twins. Her portrait, from her project VisibleInvisible, is of twin sisters she visited in their house. ‘I took a lot of more conventional portraits of them’, she says, ‘but when I found the bathrobe in a corner, perfectly fitting to the bedspread, that was when I knew I had the picture’.

Dorothee Deiss, The Twins, 2013
Judge Suki Dhanda commented: What’s interesting about this portrait is the composition and the layering of different colours in what is, on first glance, a very quiet picture. The restricted palette of tones that have been used for the bed sheets and the dressing gowns all seem to reflect the colour of the twins’ hair – these combined elements all made this portrait stand out. The way the two women are entwined means that they seem to merge. It’s complicated, but it doesn’t feel contrived. (From NPG blog)
Other shortlisted photographs include the pictures below and at top of post. To see selected portraits from previous competitions, see posts for 2012, 2011 and 2010.

Richard Alexander Pilnick , Cat & Phil - Painting of Love, 2013

Erik Almas, Holy Mother, 2012

William Lakin, Martyn, Sean and Jacob

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