Taylor Wessing Photographic Prize 2012

I visited the National Portrait Gallery’s exhibition of  The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2012, at the M-Shed Museum in Bristol.


The Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize  is “the leading international photographic portrait competition, which celebrates and promotes the very best in contemporary portrait photography. The competition was open to everyone aged 18 and over from around the world.

Organised by the National Portrait Gallery in London, the Prize has established a reputation for its diversity of photographic styles submitted by a range of photographers, from gifted amateurs and photography students to established professionals.

In the Prize’s search for excellence, photographers are encouraged to interpret ‘portrait’ in its widest sense of ‘photography concerned with portraying people with an emphasis on their identity as individuals.’

The 60 shortlisted portraits can be viewed on the NPG’s website at http://www.npg.org.uk/photoprize1/site13/index.php

The winner for 2012 was Margarita Teichroeb by Jordi Ruiz Cirera, 2011 © Jordi Ruiz Cirera – an image of a Mennonite woman, reluctant to be photographed, seated at a kitchen table, which is part of Ruiz Cirera’s long-term project to document the daily life of a religious community – one which forbids images. Having travelled to South America on two occasions, Ruiz Cirera gradually won the trust of the residents of several colonies located south of Santa Cruz.

See article in Daily Telegraph http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/photography/10064608/Taylor-Wessing-Photographic-Portrait-Prize.html

The exhibition was truly inspirational and I was fascinated to see the application of many of the lighting techniques which I have been studying in the most recent unit.

I particularly enjoyed seeing the portraits in such large format.


The M-Shed worked with a group of young curators from the Knowle West Media Centre, the University of the West of England and Young Arnolfini on the presentation of the exhibition. The Young Curators informed the hang of the portrait prize – they discussed different approaches to how the photographs could be displayed, the issues surrounding particular portraits and how the placement of the images can affect the experience for the visitor.





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