The Taylor Wessing Photography Prize is one of the most internationally recognised competitions in the photographic world.
In its 7th year, the prize is growing ever popular and has vast amounts of entries, last year 60 portraits were selected for the exhibition from 5,410 submissions entered by 2,435 photographers
Taken from the Taylor Wessing website: ‘The Photographic Portrait Prize is not about capturing an image of the world’s most photographed. Indeed, you will never know who many of the people in the pictures are and may never see these sights in the course of your everyday life. Each image tells its own story and will inevitably evoke its own reaction.’
‘The Prize encourages and cultivates new talent, while emphasising the importance of hard work with a forward thinking and creative attitude.’
The prize is about photographers expressing themselves in their own way; the fact that the subjects are often not know by the viewer means that the photographs give the viewer a slight insight into their life and personality.
When looking through previous winners, I noticed that the photographs are often simple and understated, they are not over the top and trying to show off, the people are the focus. By having normal and simple photographs without the high tech gimmicks, the photographs echo and symbolise the people and how they are all normal people being photographed.
There are very little distractions in the photographs, the people are the focus and the viewer’s eye is able to concentrate on them due to the lack of these distractions. If there are other items or interesting backgrounds in the photographs, it is to enhance the understanding of the people being photographed and their life.
To me each photograph shows slight clues about the people being photographed, their personality and lifestyle can often be seen in the photographs.
For my work in this module, on representation through portraiture, I will take influence from the existing winners of this competition as I am addressing this brief as though I would be entering the competition. For my own portraits I want them to be simple, with little distractions so that my person is the main focus. I will show their personality through their body language and how they react to the camera when awake, as well as showing their ‘true personality’ when they are asleep and unaware of the camera. My photographs of an important object to them will further help to emphasise the idea of their lifestyle and personality.