Taylor Wessing Award 2014

20 November 2014

Exhibitions, Competitions

Fashion photographer David Titlow has won the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2014 for his intimate portrait of his baby son being introduced to a dog, the National Portrait Gallery has announced. 

The winning portrait, Konrad Lars Hastings Titlow, was captured by Titlow the morning after a large midsummer party in Rataryd, Sweden. ‘Everyone was a bit hazy from the previous day’s excess’, says Titlow. ‘My girlfriend passed our son to the subdued revellers on the sofa – the composition and back light was so perfect that I had to capture the moment’.

David Titlow (b. 1963) works as a photographer in fashion and advertising. He has exhibited widely and has been commissioned by numerous magazines and newspapers, including The Guardian, The Sunday Telegraph, Vice and Vanity Fair. Originally a musician from Halesworth in Suffolk, Titlow switched to photography in the early nineties and has since worked in the industry.

Second prize has been awarded to Jessica Fulford-Dobson for her portrait of a seven year-old Afghan girl, taken at a skate school in Kabul, and third prize has been awarded to Birgit Püve for her portrait of identical twin boys, Braian and Ryan, with their great grandmother’s hen in the Estonian countryside. The fourth prize was awarded to Blerin Racaj for his portrait of a group of young Kosovars.

The winning portraits will be on display as part of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2014 exhibition (13 November 2014 – 22 February 2015), which showcases the work of some of the most exciting contemporary photographers from around the world, including emerging talent, established professionals, photography students and gifted amateurs. Selected anonymously from an open competition, the diversity of styles reflects the international mix of entrants as well as the range of approaches to the portrait genre, encompassing editorial, advertising and fine art images. The judges have selected 59 portraits for the exhibition from 4,193 submissions entered by 1,793 photographers.

Sandy Nairne, Director, National Portrait Gallery, says: ‘I congratulate David Titlow on making such a fascinating and compelling image which wins the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize 2014. And I offer my thanks to all the many photographers who submitted this year, allowing the judges to choose such a strong exhibition.’

Tim Eyles, Managing Partner, Taylor Wessing LLP, says: ‘As we enter our seventh year of sponsoring the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, we continue to be amazed and inspired by the thousands of photographs that have been submitted. Each entry offered us an intimate insight into the lives of individuals from all around the world. These exquisite winning portraits shone through with their fantastic quality and emotive subjects and our congratulations go to all the shortlisted photographers.’

£3,000 Second Prize: Jessica Fulford-Dobson for Skate Girl

Skate Girl is from the series The Skate Girls of Kabul, which documents young Afghan girls who attend the unique NGO Skateistan. Born out of a small skateboarding school that originated around an old, disused fountain in Kabul in 2007, Skateistan now provides education for children, teaching leadership and cultural awareness. She says of the photographs: ‘With the Skate Girls of Kabul portraits, I wanted to show these young Afghan girls with their skateboards within the liberating environment that Skateistan provides for them. It is here that for a few hours a week they are able to have some semblance of a childhood in a place that is detached from the war and their working life on the streets. Like so many other girls across the world, when given the chance to do something positive that they love, each starts to discover their own identity and strength, their own distinctive style and personality.’

Jessica Fulford-Dobson (b. 1969) has worked as a freelance photographer since 2000. Her photographs have been widely exhibited throughout Europe and have been published in The Telegraph Magazine, Vogue and the Evening Standard.

£2,000 Third Prize: Birgit Püve for Braian and Ryan

Braian and Ryan is from the series Double Matters. Püve was working on the series for a photography book on twins and triplets living in Estonia. Püve visited the nine-year-old twin boys at their great grandmother’s house in Saue, an area of idyllic countryside outside Tallinn, where she spent a few hours photographing them in different locations in the surrounding land.

Birgit Püve (b. 1978) lives and works in Tallinn, Estonia. She has exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions and has been commissioned by publications such as The Sunday Times Magazine, The Washington Post, Der Spiegel and Ryanair Magazine.

£1,000 Fourth Prize: Blerim Racaj for Indecisive Moment

Indecisive Moment is from a recent and unpublished series about young Kosovars - a project triggered by the socio-political landscape in Kosovo and high level of unemployment amongst an increasingly young population. The photograph was taken at the base of the National Library, a place chosen by the sitters as an ‘escape zone’. Racaj says: ‘The photograph signifies that moment in time infused with uncertainty and vulnerability whilst knocking on the door of adulthood.’

Blerim Racaj (b. 1964) is a London-based freelance photographer. Racaj grew up in Kosovo and studied Economics before moving to London in 1995. Following the completion of a BTEC course in Photography at City of Westminster College in 2004, early photographs from Racaj’s ongoing project, entitled Kosovars, were published in the British Journal of Photography in 2006. Photographs from the project have since been exhibited in Italy, Kosovo, Croatia and the UK.

£4,000 John Kobal New Work Award: Laura Pannack

The £4,000 John Kobal New Work Award has been awarded to Laura Pannack for her photograph Chayla at Shul, a portrait of a young Jewish girl. Laura Pannack was educated at the University of Brighton and Central Saint Martins College of Art and is now a photographer based in London. Her work has been extensively exhibited and published both in the UK and internationally, including the National Portrait Gallery, the Houses of Parliament, Somerset House, and the Royal Festival Hall.

The John Kobal New Work Award award is given to a photographer under thirty whose work has been selected for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition. The winner receives a cash prize of £4,000 and a commission to photograph a sitter connected with the UK film industry for the National Portrait Gallery Collection.

The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2014 was judged from original prints by Sandy Nairne, Director, National Portrait Gallery (Chair); Robin Muir, Writer, Curator and Contributing Editor to Vogue; artist Bettina von Zwehl; Phillip Prodger, Head of Photographs Collection, National Portrait Gallery and Niri Shan, Partner and Business Group Director, Taylor Wessing LLP.

The John Kobal New Work Award was judged by by Simon Crocker, Chairman of the John Kobal Foundation and Terence Pepper, Senior Special Advisor on Photographs at the National Portrait Gallery.

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2014

13 November 2014 – 22 February 2015

Porter Gallery, Admission £3 (concessions £2)

Supported by Taylor Wessing

Image: Chayla at Shul by Laura Pannack © Laura Pannack