The Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize is an annual exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, London. I’ve been going every year for the past few years and every year it inspires me. This year I went to see it and nothing had changed. I think the exhibition is just the right size, enough for you to pay attention as it is not too big but also the space isn’t one long room you have to move around. The exhibition is designed so you have to see at least some images before you see the four placed images. I quite like that idea almost like the visitor can see the judge’s workings. The exhibition is really good value too, only £2 per person.
My favorite pieces from this year are Dylan Collard’ s ‘12th Man: Jordan’. I think the lighting is great, with nothing too dark or too light. I really like the meaning behind the piece too, looking at how everyday people still play sport in London even with tower blocks and flats near by. I thought the piece was really fitting especially for when it was taken, before the Olympics. Running with the theme of sport I liked the portraits of Mo Farah, by Kate Peters. I liked how he was shot on a dark background even with his dark skin. His pose was him looking above the camera like he was preparing himself for the Olympics (the photo was taken in March 2012).
However, this year I was disappointed by a couple of things. I realised that the photos that seem to do well have really good backstories or are taken in places where not many have photographed. First prize was given to Jordi Ruiz Cirera who travelled to Bolivia to photograph the Mennonites. I thought the photo was good but there were better photos such as the one by Dylan Collard. The second thing that disappointed me this year was one of the pieces was taken on an iPhone. Mobile photography in itself annoys me because people call themselves photographers after taking a half decent photo on a mobile phone, and I feel this only encourages it. Granted the image is interesting, taking a photo of someone taking a photo of themselves and the way the light spotlights it. However, this picture was a lot smaller than all the other pieces, which sort of ruined the pattern. Although, when discussing this with my dad (we went to the exhibition at the time) he believed there was nothing wrong with this and that we have to change with the times, as phone cameras are getting better and more powerful they will also take better photos.
All in all I thought it was still a great exhibition with some beautiful imagery.