Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2016

Showcase of the best contemporary photographic portraits in the world

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Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2016

'Five Girls' / David Stewart

Organised by the National Portrait Gallery in London and touring the country throughout 2016, the Taylor Wessing Prize (named for the international law firm which has sponsored it since 2008) is designed as a showcase of the best contemporary photographic portraiture in the world. ‘This year’s exhibition comprises 55 photographs,’ says Anne Lyden, International Photographer Curator of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. ‘This selection’s drawn from 4,929 entries submitted from 70 countries. These images are of presidents and refugees, celebrity figures and next-door neighbours; the sheer diversity is fascinating and thought-provoking.’ President Obama and Benedict Cumberbatch both feature, and this year’s display will also include two new portraits by the contemporary South African photographer Pieter Hugo as part of a new feature called In Focus.

‘’Five Girls' by David Stewart won first prize in the competition and deservedly so,’ says Lyden. He photographed his daughter and her four friends seated around a table after a meal. Their empty containers and coffee cups are strewn before them, alongside their mobile phones - the women had been friends for many years and had recently completed university when Stewart photographed them together. His portrait manages to convey the connection and isolation of each figure within the group, in effect capturing the evolution of friendship.

‘Many images also focused on the refugee crisis and war-torn areas of the world. ‘Duwa’a, 2 and Schahd, 5 Al-Sarchan’ by Kai Wiedenhofer is a powerful portrait of two sisters who were both injured in a rocket attack after their own home had come under the control of the Syrian Army. The impact of warfare on these two young children is undeniable and the potency of this image unforgettable.’

The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2016 show is at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, Sat 18 June–Sun 2 October.

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize

The best portrait photography from around the world, including recent work by Pieter Hugo.

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