The National Portrait Gallery has announced that Claudio Rasano has won first place in the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2016. The Swiss-Italian photographer was awarded the respected accolade, and £15,000 prize, for his portrait of 18-year-old Johannesburg school boy Katlehong Matsenen.
The photograph is part of a series titled Similar Uniforms: We Refuse to Compare, taken in February this year, which explores issues surrounding the preservation of individuality in the context of school uniforms.
Claudio 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.” It was shot outdoors in daylight in front of a plain white paper background, inkjet printed.
Second prize went to American photographer Joni Sternbach for her large-format tintype shot of surfers Thea Adler and Maxwell Schultz, taken in Santa Cruz, California, and selected from her series Surfland.
Third prize was given to Kovi Konowiecki, also American, for his photographs portraying Orthodox Jews from around the world, taken from the series Bei Mir Bistu Shein.
British artist Josh Redman won the John Kobal New Work Award for his piece, Frances. The award is given to a photographer under 35 who has been selected for the exhibition, which this year received 4303 entries.
The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2016 exhibition is on at the National Portrait Gallery until 26 February 2017.