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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

Portrait Salon 2014 – Pictures rejected by Taylor Wessing National Portrait Gallery Photographic Portrait Prize

It is almost a standing joke amongst many photographers, the Taylor Wessing Prize. Of course it is taken seriously by the photographic elite, academic, arts council, grant funded world but by practising photographers, no it is generally not. For a couple of years the joke was any portrait to be considered had to have a red head holding a small furry animal, previously it needed a fried egg but the overwhelming requirement was bored, the subject had to look so bored. No personality, not engagement, blank, tired, uninterested faces.

Now there is an alternative, the Portrait Salon, and looking at the images on the BBC site in the piece written by Phil Coomes I am not sure they have done much more than sweep up the not so bored, those portraits that express the smallest suggestion of subject involvement with the process that TW have rejected.

I am being reactionary but in all hyperbole there is some truth, just listen to Russell Brand rant.

This is what Phil Coomes says on the BBC website

Portrait Salon is perhaps unique in the world of photographic exhibitions as it comprises material rejected from another show. This is the fourth year that material submitted to, and rejected by, the Taylor Wessing National Portrait Gallery Photographic Portrait Prize has been brought together.

This year Christiane Monarchi (editor of Photomonitor), Emma Taylor (Creative Advice Network) and photographer Martin Usbourne (Hoxton Mini Press) selected 70 portraits from 1,184 submissions.

Emma Taylor notes that the judges had to follow their “gut instincts” when selecting images, due to limited time to assess each entry, though she feels that “there’s something rather liberating about this, something pure”.

She adds the chosen pictures are “images that made us smile, images that made us question, images so beautiful we unanimously cheered their submission”.

As you would expect, the work is engaging and diverse. It carries on the tradition of past shows and feels like one put together by photographers for photographers. The pictures are what is important, and the viewer will find much to delight.

Portrait Salon was founded by Carole Evans and James O Jenkins in 2011, and this year the show opens at Four Corners, London on 6 November. It will then tour to Fuse Art Space in Bradford, Oriel Colwyn Gallery in Clwyd, Napier University in Edinburgh as well as Birmingham, and Bristol.

Further details can be found on the Portrait Salon website.

Here is a selection of the pictures in the exhibition.

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_78741997_6benjaminhaywood

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There are more to see here