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National Portrait Gallery's Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2019 shortlist announced
The Hubbucks from the series England by Garrod Kirkwood 2018 © Garrod Kirkwood.

LONDON.- Three photographers have been shortlisted for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2019, the international photography award organised by the National Portrait Gallery, London, now celebrating twelve years under Taylor Wessing‘s sponsorship.

The prize-winning portraits include a thoughtful sitter from the Belfast Conway estate; a family ready for their day out on Whitley Bay beach, England; and works from a series depicting the photographer’s late mother in Los Angeles.

The annual Portrait Prize is one of the most prestigious photography awards in the world and showcases new work 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 and offers an unparalleled opportunity for celebrated professionals, emerging artists and amateurs alike. The winner of the first prize will receive £15,000. The second prize winner receives £3,000 and the third prize £2,000.

This year’s exhibition will also feature previously unseen prints from a new body of work by New York based photographer Ethan James Green. The prints will form the fifth 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. Green’s first monograph ‘Young New York’ was published by Aperture in March 2019. These striking black and white portraits were made between 2014-2018, focusing on the artist’s friends and community, many taken in Corlears Red Hook Park on the Lower East Side. His new series of portraits sees him continue to work with his own generation this time photographing couples. Green mixes personal projects with work as a high profile fashion photographer working for magazines including Arena Homme +, i-D, LOVE, Self Service, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Vogue Homme, Vogue Italia, Vogue Paris, W and WSJ. Magazine.

The following three photographers have been shortlisted for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2019:

Neil from the series Love’s Fire Song 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 VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art, Ireland. Bowe’s shortlisted work portrays Neil, a young man photographed as part of Bowe’s series on the Belfast Conway estate. Bowe says, ‘l concentrated on the ordinary, the everyday. The photographs use a saturated colour palette with only subtle symbolisms, and without reference to the specific locations they were taken. Free from political and geographical context, the photographs speak of longing, yearning, aspirations and vulnerabilities of young people in Belfast today.’

The Hubbucks from the series England by Garrod Kirkwood
Garrod Kirkwood (29.05.1979) is a British photographer based on the North East coast of England. His work is driven by environment and the people that inhabit it. Kirkwood’s shortlisted photograph shows a family of individual personalities, on the cusp of a holiday adventure. Kirkwood says, ‘this is a magical moment and portrait of a family and group of individuals that we all can relate to.’ Kirkwood describes the photograph, taken in Whitley Bay, England as ‘a cinematic scene from real life.’

Gail and Beaux; Mom (our last one) from the series Goldie (Mother) by Pat Martin
Pat Martin (10.07.1992) is an American photographer from Los Angeles, California. Martin uses photography to connect with personal memories, while also working to understand his own relationship with time. He sees the present as an opportunity to build upon an empty family album, while also finding new connections through portraiture. Martin’s shortlisted works intimately documents his late mother who struggled with addiction issues throughout her life. Martin says, ‘For most of my life, I misunderstood my mother and witnessed how the world misunderstood her. Photographing her became a way of looking into a mirror and finding details never noticed. There were always new ones to discover, and something new to hide.’

Judged anonymously, the diversity of styles in the exhibition reflects the international mix of entries as well as photographers’ individual and varied approaches to the genre of portraiture. Photographers were again encouraged to submit works as a series in addition to stand-alone portraits, and there was no minimum size requirement for prints.

In the competition’s third year of digital entry, the prize-winning photographs and those selected for inclusion in the exhibition were chosen from 3,700 submissions entered by 1,611 photographers from 70 countries. A total of 55 portraits from 31 artists have been selected for display, of which 13 submissions are a series.

This year’s judging panel was Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Chair (Director, National Portrait Gallery, London); Elaine Constantine, Photographer and Film Director; Shane Gleghorn, Managing Partner, Taylor Wessing; Sara Hemming, Co-Founder & Creative Director NATAAL, Magda Keaney (Senior Curator of Photographs, National Portrait Gallery, London) and Nicola Shipley, Director GRAIN Projects.

Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director, National Portrait Gallery, London, says: ‘This year’s entries to the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize have shown an outstanding variety of themes and styles on the definition of photographic portraiture. I have been struck by the inspiring and emotive narratives of community and family present in the submissions. Every year the Prize demonstrates the outstanding level at which photographers across the world are working and I very much look forward to welcoming visitors to this annual showcase.’

Shane Gleghorn, Managing Partner, Taylor Wessing, says: “As our partnership with the National Portrait Gallery enters its twelfth year, we are very proud to be associated with the talent of the photographers on display. With diverse styles and subjects from 70 countries around the world, judging this year was as challenging as ever, with all the entrants creating fascinating and thought-provoking images. The commitment of the photographers to excellence and creativity is inspirational and I feel sure that visitors to the exhibition will find it incredibly uplifting."

The prizes for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2019 will be announced on Tuesday 5 November 2019 at 19.00.

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