Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Prizewinners - Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Competition 2015

A view of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize Exhibition 2015 showing three prizewinners

First Prize (£12,000): David Stewart

Back in 2008 David Stewart created a portrait photograph of five girls about to start their GCSEs titled Five Girls, Four Cartons, Three Cups (subtitle 'United by hair').

Last night he won the £12,000 First Prize in the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2015 with a follow-up group portrait of the same five girls just after graduating from university with the more prosaic title of Five Girls 2014.  The hair is still pretty prominent!

It's the 16th time one of his photos has been selected for this exhibition.

David Stewart, Winner of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2015
with Five Girls 2014
with smartphones, coffee cups and sushi and salad cartons - and equal emphasis on the hair
Prizewinning portrait © David Stewart | This photo © Katherine Tyrrell
Here's the photograph proper minus reflections

Five Girls 2014 by David Stewart© David Stewart 
Compare it to the photograph taken in 2008 (below) - which was shown at the Taylor Wessing Exhibition in 2008.

In 2014, he's repeated the Five Girls (sat in the same order with the same pose) plus four cartons and three cups - but the type of food and drink they like has changed even if the obsession with good-looking hair has not!
I have always had a fascination with the way people interact – or, in this case, fail to interact, which inspired the photograph of this group of girls. While the girls are physically very close and their style and clothing highlight their membership of the same peer group, there is an element of distance between them.’ 
His daughter is the one in blue in both photographs.

Five Girls, Four Cartons, Three Cups
© David Stewart
pre GCSEs in a burger bar - with small pink phones
I hope he - and the girls - continue to do repeat this photograph at intervals. It's got the same universal appeal as the "7 Up" series of television programmes - of seeing people grow up in an image.

Plus we've all done "repeated photographs" - I know I have!

Name: David Stewart
Age: b.1958
Nationality: David is from Lancashire
Current home: London
Current occupation: He works on both working in advertising and fine art photography in commercial commissions and personal projects.
Art / Photography Education: Blackpool and The Fylde College
Previous prizes: his 2007 Taylor Wessing entry, "Alice & Fish," featuring his 14-year-old daughter, was shortlisted for the overall prize.
Represented by: see website

The Exhibition

The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2015 exhibition is on display at the National Portrait Gallery from tomorrow (12 November 2015) to 21 February 2016.

This annual portrait  competition began in 1993 and over time has grown to become one of the most prestigious photography awards in the world. It's regarded as a very important platform for portrait photographers as it showcases new work by some of the most exciting and cutting-edge contemporary photographers - both young and old, professionals and amateurs.

Below are more details about the other prizewinners

Tomorrow I comment on the exhibition generally - which is very different this year.

Other Prizewinners

Second Prize ( £3,000) - Anoush Abrar for Hector

Second Prize: Hector by Anoush Abrar
Prizewinning portrait © Anoush Abrar | This photo © Katherine Tyrrell
Anoush Abrar is doing a series of photographs of small boys between the ages of 18 and 20 months old. His aim is to photograph 'cherubs' - before they lose their chubby legs and dimples!  He intends to take about 17-18 to get a final selection of 15.

Caravaggio sleeping cupid
Sleeping Cupid by Caravaggio
He was originally inspired by the paintings of Caravaggio and in particular his painting of the "Sleeping Cupid" (1608).

Somehow I needed to make my ownSleeping Cupid. I found my portrait of Hector so powerful and iconic that it inspired me to continue this project as a series called Cherubs.
The portrait photo which has won second prize is the second one he took in the series.  Apparently Hector is a serious child and doesn't smile very often. He arranged the legs and Hector decided the rest of the post.

It's a very striking photograph and I suspect might have won if a baby photo had not worn last year.

Anoush has a process for taking photographs of children.
  • he always takes the photograph in the presence of the child's family
  • he does the photo in the family's own home and uses the black fabric he favours over illows and cushions to make it comfortable for the child
  • he keeps very calm and proceeds slowly (no jokes for the child or loud noises which might upset them)
  • if the child is not comfortable on the day he packs up and goes home - and makes an appointment to come back in six months time.

In terms of the competition, he only submitted one photo this year.

Name: Anoush Abrar
Age: b. 02.06.1976
Nationality: Born in Tehran, Iran; lived in Switzerland since he was five years old
Current home: London and Luasanne
Current occupation: Magazine Photographer - with a range of prestigious clients
Art / Photography Education: He studied at the University of Arts in Lausanne. He has taught photography there since 2005.
Exhibitions: in museums and galleries around the world
Previous prizes: He was shortlisted in 2013 for his portrait of Kofi Anan and won Third Prize
Represented by : see website

£2,000 Third Prize: Peter Zelewski for Nyaueth

Third Prize: Nyaueth by Peter Zelewski
Prizewinning portrait © Peter Zelewski | This photo © Katherine Tyrrell
(You can find a much better image with no reflections on his website)

Zelewski’s portrait Nyaueth was taken near Oxford Street as part of his series Beautiful Strangers. Zelewski explains:
The aim of Beautiful Strangers is to challenge the concept of traditional beauty with a series of spontaneous and powerful street portraits of everyday citizens who show character, uniqueness and a special inner quality, which I try to interpret in my photographs.

Name: Peter Zelewski
Age: b.1964
Nationality: American - born in Detroit, USA
Current home: moved to London in the late 80s
Current occupation: divides his time between graphic design, commercial photography and his personal street portraiture projects
Art / Photography Education: studied Graphic Design at North London Polytechnic
Previous prizes: 2014 - Shortlisted, Professional Photographer of the Year, Professional Photographer magazine; 2013 - 1st Place, Professional Photographer of the Year, Professional Photographer magazine (50mm category)
Represented by :

£1,000 Fourth Prize: Ivor Prickett for Amira and her Children

Amira and her Children by Ivor Prickett
Prizewinning portrait © Ivor Prickett | This photo © Katherine Tyrrell

Ivor Prickett took the photograph Amira and her Children in Northern Iraq in September 2014 when working on an assignment for UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees). Prickett explains:
'I met Amira and her family in the tent where they were living in at the Baharka camp near Erbil; they had fled their village near Mosul after Isis had taken control of the area. I spent some time speaking with Amira about what her family had gone through. As they became more comfortable with me being there they really started to express their closeness and became very tactile. It was a beautiful moment to witness in the midst of such a difficult situation.'

Name: Ivor Prickett
Age: b.1983
Nationality: British
Current home: now based in London
Current occupation: documentary photographer who works on personal projects whilst carrying out assignments for a diverse range of international clients
Art / Photography Education: BA in documentary photography at the University of Wales, Newport
Represented by : see website

£5,000 John Kobal New Work Award: Tereza Červeňová for Yngvild

The John Kobal New Work Award is given to a photographer under thirty whose work has been selected for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition. The winner receives a cash prize of £5,000 to include undertaking a commission to photograph a sitter connected with the UK film industry for the National Portrait Gallery Collection.

Winner of the £5,000 John Kobal New Work Award for a photographer under 30
Yngvild by Tereza Červeňová
Prizewinning portrait © Tereza Červeňová | This photo © Katherine Tyrrell

The £5,000 John Kobal New Work Award has been awarded to Tereza Červeňová for her photograph Yngvild, a portrait of the photographer’s friend the day before their friend’s wedding at Veluwe National Park in Holland.

Tereza was particularly pleased to win this award and felt that at her age it was almost better than winning the main award.

She felt that studying photography at Middlesex University had been particularly helpful to her as they had a very strong track record of getting their students selected for this exhibition. She had a work selected for this exhibition during her third year

Her advice to anybody submitting to this competition in future is
Don't try to predict what the judges will like
This photograph didn't look like a 'signature' Taylor Wessing photograph but it was one of oher favourites and that's why she submitted it. Her view is that if a photograph gives you a good feel then that's then one you should submit.

NameTereza Červeňová
Age: age 24, b.1991
Nationality: Slovakian
Current home: currently living and working in London
Current occupation: Her work now focuses on portraiture and fine art photography.
Art / Photography Education: BA Hons 1st Class, Photography, Middlesex University
Exhibitions: work selected for Taylor Wessing in 2013. 11 other exhibitions 2013-2015
Previous prizes: 2015 - Magnum Graduate Photographers Awards 2015 - Nomination; 2014 - D&AD New Blood Awards - Yellow Pencil Winner; 2014 - Royal Photographic Society 157th Print exhibition - Shortlisted; 2014 - World Photography Organisation - Student Focus - Finalist
Instagram: @tereza_cervenova

More about Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize

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