Portrait Heaven


Yesterday we took the time out of our hectic weekending to catch the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize at the National Portrait Gallery, and we got just what we wanted – a few great images, a few great moments captured by the lens, and quite a few interesting photographers to research.

Here’s a special selection of the ones that stuck with us, among those that capture the different sides to femininity. The exhibition is worth a visit especially for the context it offers each photograph. Without this, an image could be many things to most.

Maria and Corrine, From the series After Sargent, Lydia Panas, July 2012 (Image Source: http://www.fototazo.com/)

The portrait is of Maria and Corinne, part of a series inspired by the work of John Singer Sargent. The twins’ mother is a friend of the photographer. Panas says: ‘When she told me she had twins, I was excited to take a portrait of them. It was curious how little they looked like one another, but still very compelling.’

Sisters, Tereza Červeňová, April 2013 (Image Source: http://www.terezacervenova.com/)

The portrait is of three sisters at a swimming pool in the photographer’s native Bratislava. Červeňová was working on a series that recalled the atmosphere and mood of her memories of growing up in Slovakia. On returning to the swimming pool she would visit as a child, she was struck by the chance encounter with the girls standing by the locker she had habitually used in her youth; with their mother’s permission she made this portrait.

Taylor Wessing Prize 2013: Holy Mother by Erik Almas, 2012
Holy Mother by Erik Almas, February 2012 (Image Source: http://www.theguardian.com/)

The portrait is of Sarah, a model working with Almås on a fashion image with visual references to the Holy Mother. Almås says: ‘It came at a time when my photographic curiosity changed from just observing to truly connecting with my subject.’

Taylor Wessing Prize 2013: Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait  Prize 2013
The Twins by Dorothee Deiss, March 2013 (Image Source: http://www.theguardian.com/)

The portrait is of identical twins Esther and Ruth. The photographer saw the women at a socialgathering and contacted them to ask if they would allow her to take their portrait. They posed together at Esther’s house and were surprised to be asked to wear bathrobes and lie on the bed. Deiss says: ‘I wanted to depict their relationship in all its honesty, tenderness and strength’.

Taylor Wessing Prize 2013: Katie Walsh by Spencer Murphy
And the Prize winner is: Katie Walsh, Spencer Murphy, March 2013 (Image Source: http://www.theguardian.com/)

The portrait of Irish jump jockey Katie Walsh was commissioned by Channel 4 to promote TV coverage of the 2013 Grand National. Murphy photographed several jockeys in their mudspattered silks on a race day at Kempton Park. Walsh was the only woman included. She is the Grand National’s highest placed female jockey, achieving third place on Seabass in 2012.

Elza and Nellie, From the series Family Matters, Hana Knizova, June 2013 (Image Source: http://hana-knizova.tumblr.com/)

The portrait is of identical twins Nellie and Elza and is from a series that explores physical resemblance. Knizova says she was fascinated by ‘the twins’ similarities, differences, and their mutual close attachment.’ The young women have recently moved to London, hoping to further their media careers after being seen in the television series New Zealand’s Next Top Model.

Three Colours Red, Tom Stewart, May 2013 (Image Source: http://www.pinterest.com/)

The portrait is of Katie and Jojo, two of the photographer’s friends from university. They are posed with Stewart’s Maine Coon cat, Tex. Stewart originally intended to make a moving image piece, but found a photographic portrait communicated the idea more clearly.

Patrick Fraser Taylor Wessing Prize
Carla Korbes, Patrick Fraser, March 2013 (Image Source: http://www.friendandjohnson.com/)

The portrait is of Carla, a friend of the photographer who is a Principal Ballerina for the Pacific Northwest Ballet Company. Fraser says: ‘I wanted a raw, natural setting. The portrait was made in the early morning by the coast, west of Seattle, when the mist was still hanging in the air.’

Sofia, From the series Vivi. Women with a present life, Néstor Díaz, April 2013 (Image Source: http://www.codigovisualweb.com.ar/)

This portrait of Sofia is part of a series that the photographer has dedicated to his late wife, Vivíana, and all women affected by breast cancer. Díaz says of this portrait: ‘Sofía looks us in the eye and tells us who she is and how she lives today: accepting her new reality, valuing a different kind of beauty, more authentic and more profound.’

Three Generations, From the series Family Extension, Sipke Visser, April 2013 (Image Source: http://www.artphotoindex.com/)

The portrait is of Visser’s newly born daughter, his girlfriend and her mother. He says of the portrait: ‘My daughter was born at 3am. The photograph was taken towards the end of the morning when everyone involved was exhausted and had fallen asleep.’

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize
National Portrait Gallery
Till 9 Feb 2014

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