Yesterday all the photograph group took a trip to the Capital to go and see the Taylor Wessing Prize exhibition in the National Portrait Gallery. I found the exhibition quite interesting and really enjoyed walking round and looking at all the photographs there. Once I had seen the winning photograph I thought to myself that now I knew why there was controversy to the winning image. I do believe it was a nice photograph but maybe not one that I would of personally chose to of won.
The exhibition is a collection of portraits from contemporary artists from all over the world. There are a range of images and mixed styles and themes throughout the exhibition and also a mix of portraits of public figures and then friends, family or a subject they don’t really know of the artist. Entrants included both amateur and professional photographers, and this years competition attracted over 6,000 submissions.
There was a lot of controversy around the winner of the prize as it had similar aspects to the previous winner of last years prize also.
It is the second year in a row that the winning portrait has featured a redheaded beauty with an animal. Last year’s winner was an unsettling image of a young girl carrying a dead buck on horseback from David Chancellor’s ‘Hunters’ series.
This year, though, the shortlist provided no controversy and little drama. It has just been won by Jooney Woodward for Harriet and Gentleman Jack, a portrait of a another flame-haired girl who is cradling a guinea pig. (At this rate, next year they will be inundated with portraits of red-haired teenage girls with animals.) Woodward describes her portrait as “unsettling”. Well, it’s a nice pic: the girl’s hair and the guinea pig’s fur complement each other nicely. And there’s a scratch on Harriet’s hand that suggests Jack may be no gentleman. But “unsettling” it isn’t. The bigger question is: was this really the best of the bunch – a total of 6,000 entries by over 2,500 photographers?
My own opinion on the winner is that the image itself is quite a strong photograph, the way the girls hair matches the guinea pig is quite smart, now if she randomly saw the girl with it or she made her pose with this animal because of this I’m not sure. I don’t think that the prize should have gone to a photograph that had such similarities to last years winner as of course that would causes controversy in itself!
One image really stood out to me as it very much related to the topic I have chosen for my assignment 2 was a photograph taken by Karsten Thormaehlen from the series Happy at One Hundred. I really think this photograph is truly wonderful. Its very detailed and definitely does pays homage to the people that were photographed for this series. I am definitely going to research this photographer in more depth for my assignment.