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Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2014 opens at Sheffield's Millenium Gallery
Konrad Lars Hastings Titlow by David Titlow, 2014 © David Titlow.

SHEFFIELD.- Images by some of the world’s most exciting contemporary photographers are set to go on show in Sheffield this spring as part of a new exhibition on tour from the National Portrait Gallery. Opening on Saturday 2 May, the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2014 will bring almost 60 works selected for the prestigious international competition to the city’s Millennium Gallery.

The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2014 demonstrates the remarkable breadth of the portrait genre. From unflinching documentary shots and captured candid moments to revealing portraits of famous faces, the exhibition will present the diverse range of images selected for the 2014 prize, featuring work by established professionals, emerging talents, photography students and gifted amateurs alike.

The 2014 prize has been awarded to David Titlow for the portrait Konrad Lars Hastings Titlow (2014). Taken the morning after a large midsummer party in Rataryd, Sweden, the image shows the photographer’s son being introduced to a dog. Titlow says of the work: ‘everyone was a bit hazy from the previous day’s excess – 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’.

The exhibition will also feature work by runners-up, Jessica Fulford-Dobson, Birgit Püve and Blerim Racaj, as well as the winner of the John Kobal New Work Award, Laura Pannack:

• Jessica Fulford-Dobson’s Skate Girl (2014) 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.

Fulford-Dobson 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.’

• Birgit Püve’s photograph Braian and Ryan (2013) 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.

• Blerim Racaj’s photograph Indecisive Moment (2013) is from a recent 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.’

• The John Kobal New Work Award was awarded to Laura Pannack for Chayla in Shul (2014). The portrait is of Chayla, a young woman whose father is a rabbi at the synagogue in the photograph. Laura Pannack′s series Purity focuses on the lives of Orthodox Jewish women living in Stamford Hill; a project that connects to Pannack′s cultural heritage. Pannack says: 'I positioned Chayla and directed her whilst importantly allowing her to relax, focus and engage. I wanted her to feel comfortable and empowered.′

Other works on show will include Jamila as her mum Olivia (2013) by Hayley Benoit, Marcus Henry, Meteorological Station, St Helena Island (2013) from the series Empire by Jon Tonks, Arvi (2014) by Sami Parkkinen, Stella (2014) by Michele Aboud and Roger Lloyd-Pack (2013) by John Cartwright.

Kirstie Hamilton, Exhibition & Display Manager at Museums Sheffield said:
‘We’re thrilled that our ongoing partnership with the National Portrait Gallery has enabled us to bring the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2014 to Sheffield. The works in the exhibition are a real testament to the incredible power of the portrait image and we can’t wait to share them with our visitors’.

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