Each year, I am looking forward to this Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition. I enjoy photographic portrait for the diversity of faces and body language as well as the intimacy and narrative behind each portrait . This competition is also interesting because it is open both to amateur and professional photographers. Finally, another reason for my great enthusiasm, is that it is a great example of a very successful sponsorship initiative bringing together a law firm, Taylor Wessing, and a cultural institution such as the National Portrait Gallery. As Tim Eyles, the managing partner of the firm states it: “While the legal sector isn’t traditionally associated with creativity, Taylor Wessing is proud to be strongly committed to supporting arts and culture.” They should indeed be very proud to support this particular exhibition.
If you have not yet seen the 2011 selection, please rush as it closes on 12 February. For information look at the National Portrait Gallery website
Below, you will find a small selection:
Photographer Jooney Woodward won the First Prize for this portrait of Harriet and Gentleman Jack taken at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show in Builth Wells, Powys. The artist explains how she was immediately struck by “the visual potential of Harriet’s red hair and the similar colouring of the guinea pig”. It is indeed very harmonious and aesthetically pleasing to watch.
Jooney Woodward has an amazing eye for colour and atmospheric situations. Look at the photographs she posted on her website.
Jasper Clarke won the Fourth Prize as well as ELLE Commission for his portrait of Wen. This is part of a series of portraits of artists, musicians and other creative people taken in their respective working environment. Through the choice of colours and pose, artist Wen looks like one of the art pieces hanging on the wall. I really love the composition with the women figures on the background. Other photographs of the same series can be seen on his website.
Malega, Surma Boy, Ethiopa, a portrait by Mario Marino, is also among my favourite ones. It is the one featuring on the cover page of the exhibition catalogue. The perfection of this young man standing in front of the dark background is a masterpiece. The light reflecting on his face, particularly on his lips and forehead is perfectly balanced. Mario Marino captures the faces of Africa like anyone else. For other examples and dates of his exhibitions, look at his website.
Finally, I cannot resist to add a last picture from Frank Balbi Hansen. I was simply struck by it, by the radiancy of this beautiful lady, her elegance and femininity, while seating near the portrait of her young husband. It is a beautiful tribute to the passing of time and love.