• Jordi_ruizcirera_maria-

    Jordi Ruiz Cirera : Maria Teichroeb © Jordi Ruiz Cirera

Photography

Prestigious Taylor Wessing portrait prize shortlist unveiled

Posted by Rob Alderson,

How come shortlists are always unveiled rather than released? I like it, it brings to mind the image of a ruddy-faced dignitary pulling away a velvet curtain. To be honest I don’t think that’s how The National Portrait Gallery does it when it comes to announcing the shortlist for the prestigious Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize, but nevermind because the four photographs in the running are, as ever, stunning.

Some 5,340 portraits were submitted this year by 2,352 photographers so the competition to make even the 60-strong exhibition list is fierce. But the four chosen to go forward and battle it out for the very top prize should be the cream of the crop.

Spanish photographer Jordi Ruiz Cirera’s shortlisted shot (top) shows Maria, a Mennonite Protestant from the Swift Current Colony in Bolivia. He said: “Sitting in front of the camera was not easy for Maria, photography is forbidden for Mennonites and having her direct portrait taken was quite difficult so I could only take two frames of her. Even though we were enjoying the situation, Maria posed with this sort of awkward expression.”

  • Alma_haser_theventriloquists

    Alma Haser: The Ventriloquist © Alma Haser

Alma Hauer: The Ventriloquist

This year young German-born photographer Alma Haser brings a lovely dose of weird with her work The Ventriloquist, a photo of her friends Luke and James in her South London house. “I asked them to sit on a tiny, wobbly coffee table, forcing them to almost cling onto each other,” she said. “Ultimately I wanted to turn their verbal banter into a visual image. The title is designed to help viewers make up their own stories about what is going on.”

  • Spencer-murphy_mark-rylance

    Spencer Murphy: Mark Rylance © Spencer Murphy

Spencer Murphy: Mark Rylance

The obligatory celebrity portrait comes form long-time friend of the site Spencer Murphy but there’s nothing run-of-the-mill about his wonderful shot of the actor ark Rylance. It was commissioned for The Telegraph magazine to coincide with the thespian’s return to The Globe to play Richard III. Spencer said: “I’ve always enjoyed working with actors as there’s no awkwardness or discomfort in front of the camera and they are able to understand direction and react to it very easily. Mark was no exception.”

  • Jennifer-pattison_lynne_brighton

    Jennifer Pattison: Lynne, Brighton © Jennifer Pattison

Jennifer Pattison: Lynne, Brighton

Since graduating from the London College of Printing, Jennifer Pattison has pursued a career as a photographic agent and producer but now it’s her own work that’s in the spotlight. Her portrait is of her friend Lynne taken in a derelict house in Brighton. “There is an interesting shift in the consciousness of the sitter during the slow process of making these portraits; a moment in the quiet where they become unaware that they are naked,” Jennifer said. “I capture them as they drift to another place. With no direction Lynne adopted this straightforward pose, bare and undaunted, looking straight down the lens and beyond.”

The winner will be announced (or we hope, “unveiled”) on November 5 with the show running from November 8 until February 17.

Ra

Posted by Rob Alderson

Editor-in-Chief Rob oversees editorial across all three It’s Nice That platforms; online, print and events. He has a background in newspaper journalism and a particular interest in art, advertising and photography. He is the main host of the Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Photography View Archive

  1. _rusty

    French photographer Paul Rousteau sounds like a nice chap – one with a bright outlook on life reflected in the bold pops of colour he adorns his editorial work with. “Being cynical is too easy because everyone has a lack of something”, he told Art Book Guy. “So I try to see the beautiful things in people, even if it’s a bit naive or even in a cynical way.”

  2. List

    I have to confess that the name 02gb didn’t ring any bells for me, but it turns out the photographic duo, which is made up of Max von Gumppenberg and Patrick Bienert, is a pretty big fish on the German fashion scene. Looking through their portfolio this comes as no surprise; they’ve worked for the likes of Hussein Chalayan, Kostas Murkudis, and shot numerous times for Vogue. It’s their lookbook for couture master Valentino that we were seduced by however.

  3. List-p.48-9-st-benedictus-%c2%a9-paul-koudounaris

    Ever wondered what happens when you die? Do our souls live on in heaven, frolicking about with those of our lost loved ones? Is there a dark, black nothingness? Or do we get stuffed to the eyeballs with gems and a big shiny crown thrust on our heads until we’re all trussed up like a little skeleton Liberace?

  4. List

    These photographs in the latest issue of the ultra-slick men’s fashion mag, Arena Homme+, are so incredibly perfect, never have I felt so giddy at the combination of slouched, neutral knitwear and ambiguous, colourful props.

  5. List

    With a portfolio bursting with fashion, editorial and portrait photography, it’s no surprise Tung Walsh’s client list is constantly growing having shot for big-wigs including A.P.C, Dolce and Gabbana, BON and W magazine among others. Capturing a mixture of models and famous folk, his style is cool, edgy and setting the standard in achieving that originality and freshness many photographers can only imitate.

  6. List-1-dai-kannon.-sendai_-japan_-100m-(330-ft).-built-in1991

    Statues are an eternal recognition of a person or event’s impact on society – once erected they become a symbol and a part of the community forever. What interests photographer Fabrice Fouillet is when these effigies are on a monumental scale and take over towns, becoming just as exceptional at the political or religious power they’re representing.

  7. List-conorbeary-3

    When these flaming barrels rolled into our consciousness, we were instantly intrigued. While it’s nothing new to see photographic documentation of strange customs and traditions (James Pearson-Howes, for instance, has captured British Folk traditions to brilliant effect), these images by Conor Beary are no less fascinating. The photographs document a 200-year-old tradition in the wonderfully-named village of Ottery Saint Mary in Devon, which sees the streets filled with fire and wild enthusiasm.

  8. List

    There’s a real appetite here on the internet for old black and white photos being presented in colour, but in the main they tend to focus on historic or social themes. It’s less common to see sports photography undergoing this treatment, which is why we were so struck by the work of Gooner Frog when we came across it on Facebook.

  9. List

    It’s hard to tell at what point Julian Faulhaber’s images are captured; if he’s the first person on site after the completion of a new modernist structure or whether he employs the skills of some exceptionally talented retouchers to clean up all the human detritus that clutters the purity of manmade structures. Either way his images evoke a sense of futuristic newness; of ultra-sleek new buildings awaiting their human occupants. They pay homage to the craft of architecture, celebrate the artistry of interiors and simultaneously poke fun at the absurdity of our aesthetic tastes – seriously, who thought purple, yellow and green stripes was a good idea? They’re also exceptionally visually arresting, so gawp on at the work of this talented chap.

  10. List-tagd10

    Nick Turpin succinctly captures some of Londoners’ least comfortable moments – cooped up in the hot breath and bad smells of a sweltering bus in winter. It’s sticky, it’s awful, and time seems to stop still as the wheels crawl wheezily along. The beauty of Nick Turpin’s work is that it almost makes you forget all that, instead turning these seemingly endless minutes into painterly portraits of Londoners at their most bored, tired and exasperated.

  11. List

    It’s one thing slapping a Valencia Instagram filter on a photo of your roast dinner and mentally patting yourself on the back for your old school photography skills, but it’s quite another to have your subjects dressed up like they’ve just been zapped in from another era and then photograph them to an extremely high standard accordingly. Photographer Robbie Augspurger describes the motivation behind his practice thus – “I like to think of what I wished existed, and then make it” – which is very admirable, really. Especially as what he wishes existed is a series of glamorous headshots so decidedly retro in both styling and format that you wouldn’t think twice if you found them in an old shoebox in your loft.

  12. List

    Kids are weird. Granted I say this as a 30-year-old man with no children, no nieces and nephews and no godchildren, but in the limited dealings I have had with babies and toddlers and whatever you call those ones that are older than toddlers, they are all pretty bizarre. Artist and longtime friend of the site Lenka Clayton has confirmed my suspicions with her project called 63 Objects Taken From My Son’s Mouth..

  13. Main

    No one photographs teenagers like Jamie Hawkesworth. For years we’ve been posting about his ability to capture the infinitely curious in-between stage of adolescence, and quietly knowing that he’s the guy who’s currently got the monopoly on this topic. Recently though, alongside shooting youngsters for mags such as AnOther and The New York Times Style, Jamie’s has been lending his skills to some corporate magazines and brands – a far cry from his time roaming the bus shelters of northern England or the Whitby Goth Festival. This year Jamie was approached by Lexus’ magazine Beyond to follow two chocolatiers on a journey into deepest Vietnam on the hunt for a rare cacao bean. Slight change of scenery.