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British achievers are celebrated in new display of previously un-exhibited photographs
Samuel Alexander ('Sam') Mendes by Anderson & Low, 2012. ©Anderson & Low.

LONDON.- Inspirational British individuals who have made it to the very top of their professions are celebrated in a new display of recently acquired and previously un-exhibited photographs at the National Portrait Gallery, including high achieving women as well as those recognised for their contributions to performance, comedy, art and film.

Achievement: New Photographs 2011-2013, on display until 5 February 2014, showcases portraits of figures who have gained recognition for being at the forefront of the fields in which they work, including writer and presenter Charlie Brooker by Chris Floyd; acclaimed actress Gina McKee by Mark Harrison and film director Sam Mendes photographed on the set of Skyfall by Anderson & Low. The display also includes a selection of portraits from two important portfolios by women photographers Nancy Honey and Anita Corbin, which aim to document some of the most influential and successful women in Britain.

The display features seventeen recently acquired and previously un-exhibited works created in the last two years, chosen for the National Portrait Gallery’s Collection by curators because of the achievements of the subjects as well as the aesthetics of the photographs.

Nancy Honey’s 100 Leading Ladies project is an investigation into influential British women over the age of fifty. Her sitters have helped transform the perception of what is possible for women to achieve in their lives and were photographed in places selected by the subjects. Portraits chosen from the portfolio include acclaimed writer Deborah Moggach; Lynne Franks, founder of one of the most successful fashion PR agencies in the UK and Parveen Kumar, author of the world’s leading medical textbook and president of the British Medical Association.

First Women by Anita Corbin began three years ago with the aim to record women who were the first to achieve status within their fields. The project is ongoing until 2018, a date chosen to coincide with the centenary of the 1918 Act that first gave women the right to vote. Subjects on display include Baroness Scotland, the first woman to be appointed as Queen’s Counsel and the first woman Attorney General; economist Dame Helen Alexander, appointed as the first woman President of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and Jean Venables, who in 2009 became the first female President of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE).

Achievement: New Photographs 2011-2013 features a number of other high profile sitters who have gained success in a range of artistic endeavours. They include Turner Prize nominee Lynette Yiadom-Boakye by Sal Idriss; James Bond Producer Michael G. Wilson, photographed on the set of Skyfall at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire by Anderson & Low; actress Hattie Morahan, photographed backstage at the Almeida Theatre, London by Francesco Guidicini and comedian and writer Chris O’Dowd by Daniel Stier.

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