The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2017 assembles a fascinating collection of photographic portraits from around the world; some shedding light on unsettling realities of our time.

The featured image is a photo of President Trump taken as he left a room in the White House.  The photographer, Benjamin Rasmussen was with Time magazine reporters invited to the White House for a tour with the President.  Apparently Trump refused to take direction and walked away. Rasmussen captured this image of him as he walked away into his private living room.  His face is reflected in the glossy wood to the right, while on the left there’s a silhouette of his features cast by the evening light.

The annual Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery showcases new work which has been submitted by contemporary photographers from around the world.  There’s always a very varied selection of in this show (which has been going for 10 years) – from studio portraits to reportage to images captured on the hoof or in a split second or maybe just incidental scenes of human life which have been cleverly shot to present intriguing narratives.

The winning portrait was of Amadou Sumaila taken by Cesar Dezfuli.  Sumaila is a sixteen-year-old from Mali who travelled across the Mediterranean from Libya and was was rescued by an Italian NGO vessel.  The portrait captures his hopes, fears, difficulties and concern about his future in a new country.

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It was the more incidental portraits which I particularly liked.  On the day of the press preview several photographers had brought their subjects. I enjoyed meeting the gang of little boys who’d been captured playing Minecraft on a computer while a woman in the kitchen beyond is busy creating food.  Taken by Hania Farrell, the photo was taken on holiday in Mykonos, Greece and captures both sets of characters unawares, absorbed with their activities.

 

Also loved the snap of a family having a picnic on a beach when Laurence Cartwright captures the moment the dog steals a sandwich.  Apparently the scene is Southwold in Suffolk and the cheeky dachshund called Bingo stole his niece’s sandwich from her picnic plate.  Note the shock and alarm on the faces of the group and jealous eye of the black dog behind.

thumb_IMG_8084_1024I was also impressed by a portrait of the painter Jack Vettriano by Ian McIlgorm.  Both photographer and subject were at the event and I managed to snap them both. Not a good photo by me, I’m afraid.

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