NPG Taylor Wessing Photographic Prize 2018 winner announced

30 August 2018

Competitions, Exhibitions

Exhibition open: 18th October 2018 – 27th January 2019


16/10/2018 Winner announced as Alice Mann for her All-Female Drum Majorette Series. Mann was also the recipient of the Joan Wakelin Bursary 2017, which is administered by The RPS in partnership with The Guardian. You can view Mann's bursary project here. 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. The winner of the £3,000 Second Prize is Enda Bowe and the joint winners of the Third Prize Max Barstow and Joey Lawrence, each receiving £2,000.

The annual Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, organised by the National Portrait Gallery, 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. The winner of the first prize receives £15,000. The second prize winner receives £3,000 and the third prize £2,000.

Photographers were again encouraged to submit work as a series in addition to stand-alone portraits, and there was no minimum size requirement for prints.

In the competition’s second year of digital entry, 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.


Keisha Ncube Cape Town South Africa 2017 from the series Drummies by Alice Mann

Winner: Keisha Ncube, Cape Town, South Africa, 2017 from the series Drummies by Alice Mann
Alice 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. Her shortlisted series was shot in South Africa’s Western Province, focusing on the all-female teams of drum majorettes. Alice Mann says, ‘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’.’

Cybil McAddy with daughter Lulu from the series Clapton Blossom by Enda Bowe

Second prize: Cybil McAddy with daughter Lulu from the series Clapton Blossom by Enda Bowe
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.’


Untitled from the series Londoners by Max Barstow

Third prize (joint): Untitled from the series Londoners by Max Barstow
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.’

Copyright Joey Lawrence Portrait of Strong Joe Smart

Third prize (joint): Portrait of 'Strong' Joe Smart from the series Tombo's Wound by Joey Lawrence 
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 vast amount of time and resources to passion projects which emphasize 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.’


Exhibiting photographers:
Anoush Abrar, Rhiannon Adam, Pedro Alvarez, Meredith Andrews, Richard Ansett, Max Barstow, Shahid Bashir, Enda Bowe,  David Brunetti, Maria Konstanse Bruun, Alejandra Carles-Tolra, Nigel Clarke, Michael Clement, Tom Cockram, Dylan Collard, Toby Coulson, Robin de Puy, Vincent Desailly, Guen Fiore, Charlie Forgham-Bailey, Sophie Green, Mohamed Hassan, Erica Hawkins, Adam Hinton, Kovi Konowiecki, Joey Lawrence, Claudia Legge, Kati Leinonen, Kurtiss Aaron Lloyd, Andy Lo Po, Alice Mann, Max Miechowski, Riina Monthan, Eddie Mulholland, Dan Nelken, Colin Pantall, Baud Postma, Phil Sharp, Aline Smithson, Jared Soares, Juan Trujillo Andrades, Carla van de Puttelaar, Muir Vidler, Trisha Ward, Eddie Wrey, Sam Wright, Darrin Zammit Lupi, Francesco Zinno and Alice Zoo.


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.


Judging panel:
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).


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.


National Portrait Gallery,
St Martin’s Place,

Nearest Underground: Leicester Square/Charing Cross

Tickets: £6 with donation (concessions £5), £5 without donation (concessions £4).



Picture copyright: Portrait of 'Strong' Joe Smart from the series Tombo's Wound by Joey Lawrence 2017 © Joey Lawrence