16 October 2018
Alice Mann has won the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2018 for her portrait series on the all-female teams of drum majorettes in South Africa’s Western Province. The £15,000 award was presented to the South African photographer at an awards ceremony at the National Portrait Gallery, London on Tuesday 16 October 2018.
For the first time in the competition’s history the judges have awarded the first prize to a series of four pictures rather than an individual photograph. Mann spent three months photographing different teams of girls across South Africa’s Western Province, beginning at the Dr Van der Ross Primary school in one of the poorer parts of Cape Town. Many of the drum majorettes, or ‘drummies’, come from South Africa’s most disadvantaged communities. Mann (05.09.1991) is a South African photographic artist based in London whose intimate portraiture essays explore notions of picture making as an act of collaboration.
"The images are part of a much larger body of work, which is a combination of a more documentary approach and portraits,’"says Mann. ‘"These four portraits are some of my favourite images, especially the one of Riley and Wakiesha because they are so charismatic. For these girls, involvement in ‘drummies’ becomes a vehicle for them to excel, and the distinctive uniforms serve as a visual marker of perceived success and represents emancipation from their surroundings. Continuing my consideration into notions of femininity and empowerment in modern society, it was my intent to create images that reflect the pride and confidence the girls achieve through identifying as ‘drummies’."
The judges’ commented: "Mann’s series is consistent in its evocation of a sustained and intriguing narrative. Each sitter is precisely framed within a carefully considered composition, and the girls confidently meet the camera’s gaze. Their pristine and vibrant outfits jar with the rundown surroundings, lending a surreal and enigmatic atmosphere to the portraits."
The winner of the £3,000 Second Prize is Enda Bowe for his photograph of a London mother holding her baby, part of an ongoing collaborative project with Gillian O’Brien entitled Clapton Blossom that focuses on the residents of a housing estate in Clapton, east London.
The joint winners of the Third Prize, each receiving £2,000, are Max Barstow for his double portrait of a pair of shoppers taken in London and Joey Lawrence for his photograph of a child from a remote village in the jungle of Sierra Leone’s Eastern Province.
The winning portraits will be on display at the National Portrait Gallery, London as part of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2018 exhibition from 18 October 2018 to 27 January 2019. While the photographs are judged anonymously from prints this was the second year in which the competition permitted digital entries for the initial sift. The prize-winning photographs and those selected for inclusion in the exhibition were chosen from 4,462 submissions entered by 1,973 photographers from 70 countries. A total of 57 portraits from 49 artists have been selected for display, of which 4 submissions are a series.
£3,000 Second Prize: Enda Bowe for Cybil McAddy with daughter Lulu from the series Clapton Blossom.
Enda Bowe (21.05.1972) is an Irish photographer based in London. Bowe’s work is concerned with storytelling and the search for light and beauty in the ordinary. He has had work exhibited at Red Hook Gallery, New York, The V&A Museum, London, Fotohof, Salzburg, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, and The Visual Centre Of Contemporary Art, Ireland. The photograph selected, a portrait of Cybil and Lulu, is from a series of portraits titled Clapton Blossom. Bowe says, "the series focuses on finding the colour and beauty in the urban, the light in the grey. At the centre of the housing estate where this project was made stands a huge cherry blossom tree, the unifying heart of the estate. The beauty of the blossom, symbolising hope, optimism and new beginnings connects the people within the project together."
The judges’ commented: "Bowe’s tender portrait traces the emotional connection between a new parent and her baby, evoking traditional compositions of a mother and child. Further scrutiny reveals details, including Cybil’s piercings, tattoos and adorned nails, which with the urban setting, give a contemporary update to this classical theme."
£2,000 Joint Third Prize: Max Barstow for Untitled from the series Londoners.
Max Barstow (25.05.1994) is a London-born photographer with an interest in images about city life, with his work inspired by a combination of studio and documentary photography. The photograph selected, a double portrait of two shoppers, has been taken from Barstow’s series titled, Londoners. Barstow says, "I began creating the series with the aim to make un-posed portraits with the intensity of images made by great studio portrait photographers such as Richard Avedon and Irving Penn. The photograph selected is a strongly composed and graphically-arresting image. It freezes a pair of friends shopping in the flow of a busy Summer Sunday afternoon in the centre of London. I believe the image is peculiarly interesting as a portrait in that it was taken swiftly in the middle of a crowd of passers-by – it is, unusually, both a formally successful portrait with a classic studio-aesthetic and a street photograph in the broad idiom of Henri Cartier-Bresson and Garry Winogrand."
The judges’ commented: "This arresting double portrait, with its stark white background, possesses a classic studio aesthetic, isolating the two women from their surroundings in an unexplained tableau. The precision and tonal balance of the composition is all the more remarkable for having been taken in a fleeting moment on a busy London street."
£2,000 Joint Third Prize: Joey Lawrence for Portrait of 'Strong' Joe Smart from the series Tombo's Wound.
Joey Lawrence (05.11.1989), is a Canadian-born photographer based in Brooklyn, New York celebrated for both his humanitarian projects and high-profile commissions. Lawrence has built his style by dedicating a vast amount of time and resources to passion projects which emphasise the humanity in underserved communities. Commissioned by WaterAid, Lawrence’s shortlisted portrait of Joe Smart is part of a series shot in Tombohuaun, translation ‘Tombo’s Wound,’ a remote village tucked into the jungle of Sierra Leone’s Eastern Province struggling with water-borne illnesses. "Rather than just creating images that underscored Tombohuaun’s plight", Lawrence says, "WaterAid and I envisioned a portrait study of the community that would highlight its resilience, its fraternity, its highly organized structure, and its work ethic. These are all the traits that will enable the village to thrive and sustain its clean water resources and practices long after the NGO has completed its work."
The judges’ commented: "Emerging from a lush palette of green foliage, ‘Strong’ Joe Smart’s expression proves utterly captivating. Lawrence’s use of focus draws attention to the young boy’s grass headdress, suggesting childhood games. This contrasts with his resolved gaze, of a maturity that belies his age."
The annual Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition is one of the most prestigious photography awards in the world and showcases new work that has been submitted by some of the most exciting contemporary photographers. Since the international competition began in 1993, it has remained a hugely important platform for portrait photographers and offers an unparalleled opportunity for celebrated professionals, emerging artists and amateurs alike. The competition is in its eleventh year of sponsorship by Taylor Wessing.
The competition judges have no knowledge of the identity of the entrants, and the diversity of styles in the exhibition reflects the international mix of entries as well as photographers’ individual and varied approaches to the genre of portraiture. For the third time, photographers were encouraged to submit works as a series in addition to stand-alone portraits. For the third year running, the rules also allow photographers to submit photographs on different supports to the competition – to encourage the demonstration of a range of different photographic processes.
Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director, National Portrait Gallery, London, says: "Many congratulations to all of the prize-winners and selected photographers for their exceptional portraits. What was particularly striking about this year’s entries to the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, was the variety of approaches, techniques and styles of the photographs submitted from around the world. I hope that the works selected for the 2018 exhibition continue to inspire and engage visitors with photographic portraiture today.’
Shane Gleghorn, Managing Partner at Taylor Wessing LLP, says: "Our huge congratulations to everyone shortlisted in this exceptional exhibition, especially this year’s winners. The diversity of perspectives that come from the portraits each year is fascinating to see. There are images that take your breath away. The variety of portraits entered is amazing, encompassing photographs from around the world that display a vast range of approaches and techniques, and shots that range from the spontaneous to the artfully constructed. This made selecting the prize winners this year even more difficult, but also a great pleasure."
This year’s judging panel was Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Chair (Director, National Portrait Gallery, London); Miles Aldridge (Photographer); Shane Gleghorn, Managing Partner, Taylor Wessing LLP; Sabina Jaskot-Gill (Curator of Photographs, National Portrait Gallery, London); Renée Mussai
(Senior Curator, Autograph ABP) and Sophie Wright (Global Cultural Director, Magnum Photos).
This year’s exhibition will also feature previously unseen prints from a new body of work by Japanese photographer Rinko Kawauchi. The prints will form the fourth In Focus display, an annual showcase for new work by an internationally renowned photographer, which will be exhibited alongside the photographs selected from the competition entries. Kawauchi is a Japanese photographer whose work came to prominence with the simultaneous publication of three books: Hanako (a documentary of a young girl of the same name), Hanabi (which translates as ‘fireworks’) and Utatane (a Japanese word that describes the state between wakefulness and sleep. In 2002 Kawauchi was awarded the Kimura-Ihei-Prize, Japan’s most important emerging talent photography prize, following the publication of her first photobooks. Kawauchi has had major exhibitions at Les Rencontres d’Arles, France and The Photographers’ Gallery, London. As well as being the recipient of the International Center of Photography’s eminent Infinity Award in the Art category in 2009, Kawauchi’s photography was shortlisted for the 2012 Deutsche Börse photography prize and the Prix Pictet in 2016.
In Focus is an annual showcase for new work by internationally renowned photographers.
TAYLOR WESSING PHOTOGRAPHIC PORTRAIT PRIZE 2018
18 October 2018 – 27 January 2019Supported by Taylor Wessing Admission £6 with donation (concessions £5)£5 without donation (concessions £4) npg.org.uk/photoprize
A fully illustrated catalogue including all photographs from this year’s exhibition features an interview with the In Focus photographer Rinko Kawauchi and interviews with the prize-winners by Richard McClure. Paperback. RRP £15.