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The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Award Winners Announced


Showcasing talented young photographers, gifted amateurs and established professionals, the competition features a diverse range of images and often tells the fascinating stories behind the creation of the works, from formal commissioned portraits to more spontaneous and intimate moments capturing friends and family.

The selected images, many of which are on display for the first time, explore both traditional and contemporary approaches to the photographic portrait whilst capturing a range of characters, moods and locations. The exhibition of fifty-seven works includes the four prize winners and they are as follows:

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait

1st prize – Claudio Rasano

Katlehong Matsenen 2016 from the series Similar Uniforms: We Refuse to Compare by Claudio Rasano, February 2016

© Claudio Rasano

First Prize: £15,000

The winning portrait, part of Rasano’s series Similar Uniforms: We Refuse to Compare, was taken in Johannesburg, South Africa and focuses on issues of preserving individuality in the context of school uniforms. The photograph was shot in daylight, outdoors and in front of a plain white paper background. The sitter for this particular inkjet print is eighteen-year-old Katlehong Matsenen. Rasano explains: “Children themselves have been known to rebel against uniforms, especially as they approach the awkward age characterised by the need to fit in and the desire to stand out, all at the same time. Some experts too have spoken against school uniforms on the grounds that they suppress individuality and diversity.”

The judges’ commented: “This year’s winner stood out for its simplicity and powerful directness, and was commended by the judges for its ability to create something beautiful out of the everyday.”

2nd prize – Joni Sternbach

16.02.20 #1 Thea+Maxwell from the series Surfland by Joni Sternbach, February 2016

© Joni Sternbach

Second Prize: £3,000

3rd prize – Kovi Konowiecki

Shimi Beitar Illit (left)Tilly and Itty Beitar Illit (right) from the series Bei Mir Bistu Shein, by Kovi Konowiecki, May 2016

© Kovi Konowiecki

Third Prize: £2,000

John Kobal New Work Award – Josh Redman

Frances by Josh Redman, February 2016

© Josh Redman

John Kobal New Work Award: £5,000

The competition was judged on an equal and anonymous basis from original prints by:

Nicholas Cullinan, Director, National Portrait Gallery (Chair)

Philip Prodger, Head of Photographs Collection, National Portrait Gallery 

Carole Sandrin, Curator, Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne

Christiane Monarchi, Editor, Photomonitor 

Nadav Kander, Photographer 

Tim Eyles, Managing Partner, Taylor Wessing

The competition portraits are available to view at the National Portrait Gallery until 26th February 2017


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