fri 24/11/2017

Portraits from the 2015 Taylor Wessing Prize | reviews, news & interviews

Portraits from the 2015 Taylor Wessing Prize

Portraits from the 2015 Taylor Wessing Prize

Browse our gallery of the best images from the annual photography prize at NPG

Dont say 'cheese': David Stewart's winning entry 'Five Girls 2014'© David Stewart

At first glance David Stewart’s Five Girls 2014, the winning entry in this year’s Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, is a very ordinary scene. Five young women sit behind a table, obligatory mobile phones within reach and lying amongst the remains of a rather dismal-looking lunch. They’re not looking at each other, and nor are they looking at us – in fact they are not even looking at the same thing: they embody the disengagement we like to insist is the malaise of the young. And yet, while fulfilling our low expectations, they also confound them: they are not hunched over their phones, and in their physical closeness to one another the girls silently proclaim the unbreakable bonds of friendship.

Now in its 22nd year, the competition attracts entries from all over the world, from amateur and professional photographers alike, highlighting the scope and versatility of what might seem a restrictive genre. From family pictures to more formal portraiture and reportage, the prize has become something of a barometer of contemporary photographic practice.

This year’s highlights include Anoush Abrar’s Caravaggesque cherub, Hector, which won second prize, while Teena Taylor’s elegant portrait Norma takes similar delight in the play of light and shade. Exquisite tonal gradations and the dramatic contrasts of black and white characterise Peter Zelewski’s Nyaueth, which won third prize.

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