• 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. List

    I’m not sure how well Only Fools And Horses translates as a cultural reference point to our international readers; there’s something quintessentially British about the sitcom featuring a get-rich-quick ducker and diver in his (pre-trendy) Peckham flat. But young London-based photographer Nadia Lee Cohen took Del Boy’s now-iconic home – with its charming hodge-podge of faux sophisticated stylings – and used it as the backdrop for this slightly unsettling shoot. Nadia’s work has a very pronounced slick, shiny and colour-saturated aesthetic that fits this slightly odd narrative perfectly – this mysterious femme fatale seems at one moment confidently at home in Del Boy’s surroundings, at others slightly bewildered. It’s weird, and I love it.

  2. Boy7list

    Shot at his house in Brooklyn, New York, David Armstrong’s series 615 Jefferson Avenue creates an aura of mysticism around the young male models. Some are muscular, some are boyish, but they all seem strangely ethereal. They exist in a world apart from the everyday; free from work, from worries, from the washing-up. Armstrong’s apartment is a wonderland of sorts, filled with masks, gilded mirrors and flower wreaths. His “muse,” Boyd Holbrook, even has pixie pink hair (although I suspect this particular Peter Pan left Neverland quite some time ago). For you, dear reader, we’ve picked a selection of portraits which are free from bed sheet, ruff and top hat.

  3. Main

    Where is the limit of what the camera can capture? Can the paranormal be pictured? So asks Alexander Gehring’s series Messages from the Darkroom, exploring photography’s ability to portray paranormal phenomena.

  4. Main8

    With over 600,000 snap happy visitors a year, you can imagine that Elvis Presley’s infamous Graceland mansion is pretty well documented. But it takes someone truly special to photograph something famous and still make it seem brand new, which is why we’re glad that Hedi Slimane – lover of rock and roll, and young, good-looking, rebellious men – took a trip to Elvis’ Memphis home late last year and brought his camera along.

  5. Main

    Stripped of snow, Ettore Moni’s alpine landscapes are scarred by access roads, crisscrossing electricity wires and ski lift cables. The raw beauty of his scenes is interrupted by ugly concrete buildings, plastic fencing and piles of pipes. If Maria and the von Trapps came skipping over these mountains, the sound of music would hit a rather discordant note.

  6. List

    This time last year Sam Bradley had just moved up to London to concentrate on his fashion photography – which we have to say, he was pretty damn good at. This year he’s still busy working away on fashion editorials, including a lovely shoot for the latest Wonderland, but he’s been getting outside a lot more, shooting mountaineers, skateboarders and racing drivers in a style so crisp you feel almost able to reach out and touch the scenes he’s captured. I’ll admit a certain bias towards photographers working in nature – I go mad for a mountain view – but Sam’s managed to make even tedious, high-budget motorsports look exciting and unusual, for which he deserves an enormous amount of praise.

  7. List

    When Rapha launched their brand ten years ago they did it with an exhibition on cycling history and a book that documented some of the greatest stars and stories of competitive road racing. The book showed candid shots of legendary riders like Fausto Coppi hanging out in his pyjamas and Bernard Hinault in a grump on the train, exposing these famous gents out of the saddle, carrying on like normal human beings. To celbrate their tenth anniversary Rapha have re-printed and re-released the book (no long out of print) upping the print and finish quality in the process. The results, we think you’ll agree, look pretty spectacular!

  8. Main8

    Whether catching a glimpse of a funeral ceremony over a black-clad shoulder or seeing young boys play football in dappled sunlight, Noah Rabinowitz’s beautiful images truly make you feel like you’re observing something intimate, something special.

  9. Pino

    Dino Ignani spent the early 1980s in many a “discoteche o video-bar" capturing the “dark” wave. From hanging out in cafés and bars with artists in Rome, he began to follow these newcomers with big barnets and kohl a-plenty to music events and club nights. He would create an ad-hoc set, and invite everyone there to have their portrait taken. The result is an enormous gallery of 400 images, mostly black and white, wonderfully random and totally intriguing. Who are these people?

  10. List

    For an image maker whose craft relies on capturing light to take all of his photographs by moonlight might seem a little impertinent, but Alejandro Chaskielberg doesn’t seem to care about following any preconceived ideas. The Buenos Aires-born photographer has fully replaced lighting equipment with the natural environment by taking images by the light of the full moon. His technique comes as a breath of fresh air to those familiar with photographic projects which aim to muster sympathy for subjects living in underprivileged areas; this is something else else entirely.

  11. List

    Belgian photographer Wouter Van de Voorde started out as a painter in his homeland before discovering that photography offered him more of the creative freedom and opportunity for introspection than his original medium. Since taking up photography he’s exiled himself to Autralia where he uses his outsider status as a driver for creative expression, exploring the quirks and nuances of Australian culture and landscape in the hope of creating a sense of belonging through his work.

  12. List-2

    I’m sure there are plenty of documentary photographers for whom going to Brazil to capture the World Cup would be something of a dream, but as far as I’m concerned none of them even come close to the exceptional Jane Stockdale. After having her application to photograph the crowds watching the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow turned down three times, she decided to take matters into her own hands, and jumped on a plane to Brazil to shoot audiences there instead.

  13. List

    Colombian-born, Spanish-based photographer Manuel Vazquez was an economics student before he decided to make his living from image-making. A quick transfer to Spain, some courses at New York’s School of Visual Arts and a Masters in Photography and Urban Cultures at Golsmiths later and he’s quite the photographic talent. The economy’s loss is photography’s gain. Now he shoots regularly for the likes of The Guardian, The Times, The Sunday Times and The British Journal of Photography predominantly taking slick portraits.