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Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2011 winners announced in London
Wen, 2011 by Jasper Clarke. © Jasper Clarke.


LONDON.- The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2011 has been won by Jooney Woodward, 32, for her portrait, Harriet and Gentleman Jack. The portrait of 13-year-old Harriet Power was taken in the guinea pig judging area at the Royal Welsh Show. Woodward says: ‘I found her image immediately striking with her long, red hair and white stewarding coat. She is holding her own guinea pig called Gentleman Jack, named after the Jack Daniel’s whisky box in which he was given to her. Using natural light from a skylight above, I took just three frames and this image was the first.’

The £12,000 award was presented to Woodward at the National Portrait Gallery, London, on Tuesday 8 November 2011. She found her sitter whilst scouting for potential subject matter amongst the sheepdog trials, livestock competitions and regimental bands at the agricultural show in Builth Wells, Powys. The portrait was shot on film with a Mamiya RZ medium format camera. Woodward says: ‘I prefer the quality and depth you get from using film; unfortunately it’s a dying art. I don’t mess around with Photoshop so what you see is what you get. Enhanced images can portray a false sense of reality, whereas my work celebrates the people and places as they appear every day.’

Born in London in 1979, Woodward grew up in Dorset and returned to the capital to study Graphic Design at Camberwell College of Arts, specialising in photography in her final year. Her degree show portraits of her parents were highly commended in The Observer Hodge Photographic Award in 2001. After graduation Woodward worked in the Vogue Photographic Archive of Condé Nast Publications before pursuing a career as a freelance photographer from 2009. Her series Unhidden: Documentary Photographs of Contemporary Wales was exhibited at MOMA Wales, Machynlleth, in 2010. She says: ‘My landscapes are generally devoid of people, but are full of signs of life. I try to capture the little things and it’s the same with my portraiture. The more you look at the portrait of Harriet, the more you notice the small details: her nail polish and mascara, the scratch on her hand.’

The following artists have also been commended in the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2011 and receive the following prizes:

*£2,500 Second Prize: Jill Wooster for Of Lili

Born in1977 in New Haven, Connecticut, Jill Wooster has lived in New York, San Francisco and currently lives in London. Her portrait is of her friend, Lili Ledbetter and was taken at Wooster’s flat in Peckham. She says: ‘Lili is a complicated character. I like the way her androgyny makes her appearance seem both guarded and relaxed at the same time, capturing both her confidence and vulnerability.’ The portrait is part of a series portraying women in their forties and fifties at pivotal stages of their lives, ‘some are dealing with serious life-changing issues while others are just dealing with the process of grower older.’ Wooster studied as an artist at Bard College, New York, and supplemented her post-college painting career by working as a photographic retoucher. She currently works as a freelance photographer specialising in highly stylised and manipulated fashion portraits. However, in her shortlisted portrait the only retouching was some selective blemish removal.

*£1,500 Third Prize: Dona Schwartz for Christina and Mark, 14 months from the series On the Nest

Born in the US in 1955, Dona Schwartz is an Associate Professor specialising in Visual Communication at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota. Her shortlisted portrait is of Christina and Mark Bigelow from Minnesota in their son’s vacated bedroom. The image is from her current series, On the Nest, documenting moments of change in parents’ lives, and this photograph explores the emotions experienced by parents as their children leave home. She says: ‘The transition to life as an empty nester lacks formal ritual observance. In this case there is no finite gestation period and the new beginning it heralds may be more sobering.’ Last year, Schwartz’s portrait depicting expectant parents Andrea and Brad, 16 days was chosen for the exhibition. Since earning her PhD at the University of Pennsylvania Schwartz’s work has been the subject of five solo exhibitions, numerous international group shows and is held in several collections including Musée de l'Elysée, Switzerland and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

*£1,000 Fourth Prize: Jasper Clarke for Wen

Born in the UK in 1978, Jasper Clarke studied at Edinburgh’s Napier University before moving to London to assist many high-profile photographers including Nadav Kander and Liz Collins. His shortlisted portrait taken in Hackney is of Wen Wu, a Chinese artist and is from a personal project depicting artists, musicians and other creatives who live in their work spaces. Clarke says: ‘The portraits are not intended to elicit sympathy for the cash-strapped artist; they are more a celebration of people’s dedication in following a path no matter what the obstacles.’ Leaving school without qualifications in 1991, Clarke began taking pictures with a camera given to him by his father. After his photographs initially being published in bike magazines he has gone on to shoot fashion campaigns for Paul Smith, Converse and Umbro.

*£500 Fifth Prize: David Knight for Andie

David Knight was born in Oxford in 1971 and currently lives in Australia with his wife and twin boys. His portrait of 15-year-old Andie Poetschka was commissioned by Loud for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance to raise awareness of the condition throughout Australia. He says: ‘I wanted the portraits to be positive and to convey the kids in an uplifting way. You don’t immediately notice Andie is in a wheelchair; you just see a beautiful young woman. The image doesn’t demand you look at it, but gently draws you in.’ This is the third year running that Knight’s work has been included in the exhibition and this is his first time on the shortlist. He began his career assisting advertising photographers in London and Oxford before working in Dubai on a broad range of assignments across the region, including for Saatchi & Saatchi. He currently works in Sydney for advertising clients but manages to devote time also to portraiture and people-orientated assignments.

The ELLE COMMISSION
The winner of the ELLE Commission 2011 is Jasper Clarke, for his portrait Wen. Clarke will be given the opportunity to shoot a feature story for ELLE magazine. Now in its third year, the ELLE Commission was judged by the fashion magazine’s creative director, Marissa Bourke, together with the art director, Tom Meredith, and picture editor, Flora Bathurst.

This is the fourth year that international law firm Taylor Wessing has sponsored the Prize.

The judges selected 60 portraits for the exhibition from 6,033 submissions entered by 2,506 photographers from around the world.

Sandy Nairne, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, says: ‘Jooney Woodward offers a brilliant, empathetic study of young woman – a great winning photograph for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2011. As ever, I am very grateful to all the photographers who entered and to our partner, Taylor Wessing.’

Tim Eyles, Managing Partner of international law firm Taylor Wessing says: ‘This year's images collectively convey a realism and depth of vision that makes them both relevant and easy to relate to. Our congratulations go to Jooney Woodward and all the shortlisted photographers; and our thanks to the National Portrait Gallery for putting together what is sure to be another inspiring and thought provoking exhibition.’

Marissa Bourke, Creative Director of ELLE magazine says: ‘At ELLE, we are dedicated to supporting and nurturing new talent in fashion and the arts. It is a pleasure to be working with the National Portrait Gallery on this prestigious photography competition for a third year. This year’s submissions were very strong, which made the decision difficult, but ultimately we were drawn to the painterly, feminine feel of Jasper Clarke’s portrait of Wen Wu.’





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November 10, 2011

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