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William Eggleston Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery

Time Out reviews the William Eggleston Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery until 23rd October 2016

©William Eggleston

©William Eggleston

Legendary Memphis photographer William Eggleston has created a whole genre of psychologically ambiguous Americana, much of it centred on apparently mundane bits of his home town. I expected that isolating his portraits from the rest of his work wouldn’t work. How would they fare, without all those existential landscapes and unanswered questions to problematise them? In fact, this show really makes you realise all over again this man’s extraordinary genius and oddness.

Two photos in this show, both from the early 1970s, really nail the whole Eggleston thing. The first is a tiny photobooth black-and-white self-portrait. In it, Eggleston seems remote: a fine-boned, bespectacled, Mahleresque face, a foppish college scarf, one of those monied, long-all-over haircuts. The second is a photo of his friend, weirdo Memphis dentist TC Boring. Boring is in the house in which he would later be murdered and incinerated. He is standing naked in a moment of reflection. The bedroom is blood red, with ‘God’ and ‘Tally Ho!’ sprayed on the wall. The colour hums, as though the print itself were struggling to keep Boring alive: it’s terrible, hilarious, disturbing and uncontrived, all at the same time. How did that man take this photo?

It’s one thing to imply alienation and dread with a grim motel room or a deserted parking lot. It’s quite another to manage to do so – as Eggleston does here – in a picture of your nephew sitting at home in an armchair. A portrait of the dead blues musician Fred McDowell in his casket is way less troubling than a shot of Eggleston’s wife taking a nap on a bed in front of a buzzing untuned TV and a sinister open closet. Time and again, Eggleston shows us that a picture of a person is never a simple thing.

This is not a big show, for a man who is supposed to have taken more than a million photographs, but I could spend a week in it, happily. Or a year. You have to see Eggleston’s work edited in this way. And you have to see his photos in the flesh (including Mr Boring’s knob). If I could give it six stars, I would.

©William Eggleston

©William Eggleston

©William Eggleston

©William Eggleston

National Portrait Gallery

St Martin’s Place
London
WC2H 0HE
020 7306 0055
Contact us

Opening hours

Daily 10.00 – 18.00
Thursdays and Fridays until 21.00.
Last admission to the exhibition is one hour before the Gallery closes.
Exiting commences ten minutes before the closing time.

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2015: David Stewart wins

We wrote about this award earlier in the year and showed the shortlist, you can see that post here

The winner has now been announced.

London’s National Portrait Gallery announced Stewart won the prestigious £12,000 award for his image that updates a photograph he originally submitted to the annual contest back in 2008.

In Stewart’s original photograph, his daughter and friends were about to start their GCSEs, and in the new version he re-staged the 2008 shot showing the same five girls having just graduated from university.

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“I have always had a fascination with the way people interact – or, in this case, fail to interact, which inspired the photograph of this group of girls,” Stewart says. “While the girls are physically very close and their style and clothing highlight their membership of the same peer group, there is an element of distance between them.”

Organisers pointed out that this year marks for Stewart, from Lancaster, the 16th time he has had an image selected to appear in the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition.

Second prize went to Anoush Abrar’s image of a young boy, inspired by Caravaggio’s painting Sleeping Cupid, while Peter Zelewski claims third prize for his image of a woman he spotted on Oxford Street while working on his series Beautiful Strangers.

Ivor Prickett won fourth prize for his portrait of a displaced Iraqi family who fled their village near Mosul after Isis took control of the area.

All the winning portraits will be on display as part of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2015 exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 12 November 2015 to 21 February 2016. Admission is £4.

No I don’t get it either although more interesting are the images that are rejected, many of these are collected for The Portrait Salon

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2015

For a little while now I have written about the refugee crisis and the impact photography has had on the publics’ awareness, so serious and important stuff. However never wishing to be too intense I now have the chance to bring you news of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2015. This is a very serious (sorry) portrait award and usually is won by a picture involving an animal, see last years winner and the winner from 2011 As I say it is a serious prize to win, the trouble is usually the majority of people, photographers and ordinary people alike just don’t get it. As with many areas of contemporary art the choices confuse those outside the world of contemporary art, like so many things you need to be in the club. Anyway now there is this years prize.  The Guardian article lists all the shortlist contenders, here is what they say about the images and the photographers

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Ivor Prickett’s photograph, Amira and her Children, taken at the Baharka refugee camp. Photograph: Ivor Prickett/PA

A photograph of a displaced Iraqi family who fled their village after the area fell under Isis control is on the shortlist for the 2015 Taylor Wessing prize, theNational Portrait Gallery has announced.

Ivor Prickett, a London-based documentary photographer, took the image, Amira and her Children, in northern Iraq in September 2014 while working on an assignment for the UN refugee agency.

Prickett met Amira and her family in their tent at the Baharka camp near Erbil. They had fled their village near Mosul after Isis took control of the area.

“I spent some time speaking with Amira about what her family had gone through,” said Prickett. “As they became more comfortable with me being there, they really started to express their closeness and became very tactile. It was a beautiful moment to witness in the midst of such a difficult situation.”

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Nyaueth  2015  © Peter Zelewski

Peter Zelewski is a London-based portrait and documentary photographer. Born in Detroit, USA, he moved to London in the late 80s and studied Graphic Design at North London Polytechnic. Through his fascination and love of the city, he was drawn to the streets of London to take photographs of its citizens. Zelewski now divides his time between graphic design, commercial photography and his personal street portraiture projects. Zelewski’s portrait Nyaueth was taken near Oxford Street as part of his series Beautiful Strangers. Zelewski explains: ‘The aim of Beautiful Strangers is to challenge the concept of traditional beauty with a series of spontaneous and powerful street portraits of everyday citizens who show character, uniqueness and a special inner quality, which I try to interpret in my photographs.’

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David Stewart’s portrait of his daughter and her friends. Photograph: David Stewart/PA

The fourth shortlisted work is Five Girls 2014, by David Stewart, a photographer born in Lancaster and based in London. The five girls of the title are his daughter and her friends, a group he first photographed seven years ago when they were about to start their GCSEs.

“I have always had a fascination with the way people interact, or in this case fail to interact, which inspired the photograph of this group of girls,” he said. “While the girls are physically very close and their style and clothing highlight their membership of the same peer group, there is an element of distance between them.”

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Anoush Abrar photo of a young boy, inspired by Caravaggio’s painting Sleeping Cupid. Photograph: Anoush Abrar/PA

Anoush Abrar, a photographer born in Iran who now lives and teaches in Lausanne, Switzerland, is shortlisted for Hector, a photograph of a young boy inspired by his fascination with Caravaggio, and particularly the artist’s 1608 painting Sleeping Cupid.

“Somehow I needed to make my own Sleeping Cupid,” he said. “I found my portrait of Hector so powerful and iconic that it inspired me to continue this project as a series called Cherubs.”

This is what TW say about themselves…The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2015 is the leading international competition which celebrates and promotes the very best in contemporary portrait photography from around the world. The selected images, many of which will be on display for the first time, explore both traditional and contemporary approaches to the photographic portrait whilst capturing a range of characters, moods and locations.

With over 2,200 entries, this year’s Prize continues to uphold its reputation for a diversity of photographic styles submitted by a range of photographers, from gifted amateurs to photography professionals, all competing to win one of the four prestigious prizes including the £12,000 first prize.

All four photographs will be included in an exhibition of the best of this year’s entries. The winning photographer, to be announced on 10 November, will receive £4,000 and a commission. The four photographs were chosen from 4,929 submissions entered by 2,201 photographers from 70 countries.

Nicholas Cullinan, the director of the National Portrait Gallery, who chaired the judging panel, said: “The strength of the four shortlisted works reflects the outstanding level that photographers across the world are working at today.

“The exhibition will be especially exciting this year as we will be displaying a number of photographs that were submitted as a series of portraits, as well as new and unseen work by acclaimed photographer Pieter Hugo.”

The exhibition of the prize winners and other entrants is at The National Portrait Gallery, London from November 12 to February 21

There are also events going on in support of the award, here is one but you can find the full list here

Weekend Workshop: Classic Photographic Portraits

28 November – 29 November 2015, 11:00-17:00
Please check signage on the day for details
Tickets: £150 (£125 concessions and Gallery Supporters) Book online, or visit the Gallery in person.

Taking inspiration from the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2015, hone your skills in this two day practical workshop.

We also have a Portrait Photography Course where you will learn how to take portraits of your family, friends but generally not small animals, nor will we inspire you with images from……

Here is a link to our post about the 2014 TW prize

and here, the 2013 TW prize   and the 2012….oh and the 2011 and finally our post about the 2010  We are thorough

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2014

Its that time of year, all the major awards and competitions produce their winners, yesterday we reported on the Landscape Photographer of The Year and now it is The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize. We did report on the alternative version of this prize, the one that represents the ones that didn’t win the  Portrait Salon 2014 – Pictures rejected by Taylor Wessing I admit I was a bit harsh on the Taylor Wessing Prize in that piece, I suggested that to win the TW you either had to have red heads holding a small furry animal. Well I was wrong, this time it is a chicken, and I also said that every subject had to look bored out of their brains, again I was wrong, it is just most of them have to be bored. The winner this time can barely be called a portrait, this is what The Telegraph said

The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize tends to draw a vocal crowd. This year more than 4,000 submissions have been whittled down to 60 exhibits, plenty capable of eliciting an “awesome” or an “awful”. However, as the last prize to be hosted by the outgoing director Sandy Nairne, there is little doubt that this is a fine swansong, delivering portraits that are variously elegant, jubilant and unsettling from a consistently accomplished selection.

Tongues will still wag. Not least because many will consider that the winning image, David Titlow’s Konrad Lars Hastings Titlow, is not a portrait at all. If you photograph a bowl of fruit, you’d be hard pressed to call it a landscape. Likewise, I’m not sure you can describe as a portrait a composition in which three adults, a baby and a dog vie for prominence (if anything the dog wins) and which focuses on the moment rather than the subjects. It’s a strong image, resonant of the Golden Age of Dutch painting (more of which later). But is it a portrait?

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The 2014 winnerKonrad Lars Hastings Titlow by David Titlow. Photograph: David Titlow/National Portrait Gallery

Ah nice doggie…..

Here is the ubiquitous red heads with animal

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Shortlisted imageBraian and Ryan by Birgit Püve. Photograph: Birgit Püve/National Portrait Gallery

See what I mean about bored?

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Shortlisted imageSkate Girl by Jessica Fulford-Dobson. Photograph: Jessica Fulford-Dobson/National Portrait Gallery

The Guardian has an easy to access gallery here

I am not sure I can go on, the mirth is overwhelming, anyway here are some more images to tempt you along to the exhibition at the NPG

THE EXHIBITION

The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2014is a unique opportunity to see sixty new portraits by some of the most exciting contemporary photographers from around the world.

The selected images, many of which will be on display for the first time, explore both traditional and original approaches to the photographic portrait through intimate images of friends and family alongside revealing portraits of famous faces.

This year the competition attracted over 4,000 submissions in the form of editorial, advertising and fine art prints and the selected works in the exhibition include the four prize winners as well as the winner of the John Kobal New Work Award.

Please note this exhibition contains nudity.

Also on display, in Room 39 is Hana Knizova′s portrait of Olivia Colman which was commissioned as part of the John Kobal New Work Award 2013. 13th November – 22nd February 2015

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Longlisted imageArvi, by Sami Parkkinen. Photograph: Sami Parkkinen/National Portrait Gallery

and just to prove how wrong I can be here is one that incorporates a smile, still a bit doubtful as a portrait though, more street scene

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Longlisted imageVijay Rudanlalji Banspal, by Karan Kumar Sachdev. Photograph: Karan Kumar Sachdev/National Portrait Gallery

Here are the links you will need

The Telegraph for an appraisal

The Guardian for a selection of images in a nice gallery format

A review and explanation in The Guardian

More of the same from the BBC

Good luck

Marilyn Monroe: A British Love Affair

The National Portrait Gallery is holding an exhibition of photographs of Marilyn Monroe. Photographs and magazine covers from 1947 to 1962 celebrate the transformation of the world’s most popular pin-up to acclaimed actress, highlighting the British photographers and personalities who admired her and worked with her.

National Portrait Gallery, St Martin’s Place, London WC2H 0HE

29 September 2012 – 24 March 2013 The exhibition is free and in room 33

Marilyn Monroe; Cecil Beaton, by Ed Pfizenmaier, 22 February 1956 - NPG  - © Ed Pfizenmaier

© Ed Pfizenmaier

Edith Sitwell and Marilyn Monroe, 1953 Photograph by George Silk/LIFE – © Time Inc

© Cecil Beaton Studio Archive, Sotheby’s London

Marilyn Monroe, by Cecil Beaton, 22 February 1956 - NPG  - © Cecil Beaton Studio Archive, Sotheby's London

© Cecil Beaton Studio Archive, Sotheby’s London

See more of the NPG Monroe archive here

Jooney Woodward wins Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize

From the BJP and the BBC we learn of the winner of the prestigious Taylor Wessing Portrait award

“The winning image was taken in the guinea pig judging area at the Royal Welsh Show, says winner Jooney Woodward. “I found her image immediately striking with her long, red hair and white stewarding coat. She is holding her own guinea pig called Gentleman Jack, named after the Jack Daniel’s whisky box in which he was given to her. Using natural light from a skylight above, I took just three frames and this image was the first.” Woodward used a Mamiya RZ medium format camera to shoot her winning image.

Woodward, who studied graphic design at the Camberwell College of Arts, received a £12,000 cash prize last night, as the National Portrait Gallery unveiled its 2011 Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait exhibition.

The exhibition is opened until 12 February 2012 and features a selection of 60 portraits chosen from among 6033 submissions entered by 2506 photographers.”

Harriet and Gentleman Jack, 2010 by Jooney Woodward © Jooney Woodward

Jasper Clarke’s Wen was taken from a personal project depicting artists and musicians who live in their work spaces.

David Knight’s picture of 15-year-old Andie Poetschka was commissioned by Loud for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance to raise awareness of the condition throughout Australia. This is the third year running that his work has been included in the exhibition, but is the first time on the shortlist.

Dona Schwartz’s portrait captured Christina and Mark Bigelow in their son’s empty bedroom as part of a series of photos which explore moments of change in parents’ lives. Last year, her portrait of expectant parents was chosen for the exhibition.

Jill Wooster captured her friend Lili for her picture, which was taken as part of a series of photos portraying women in their forties and fifties at “pivotal stages of their lives”, Wooster said.

“For the first time five photographers – instead of four – have been shortlisted for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize. …The winner receives £12,000, but there are smaller cash amounts for all four runners up….The final shortlist was determined by a panel of judges from 6,000 submissions from a mixture of established and emerging photographic talent. The judges also selected 60 images, which will be exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery…..Sandy Nairne, director of the National Portrait Gallery, said determining the shortlist always “produces much creative debate about what makes an exceptional portrait today”. …… The exhibition begins on 10 November and will run until February next year. The winner was announced today.”

For the full article from the BJP written by Olivier Laurent please go here