News Release: Spencer Murphy Wins Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2013 For Picture Of Jockey Katie Walsh

Wednesday 13 November 2013  

The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2013 has been awarded to Spencer Murphy, 35, for a photograph of jockey Katie Walsh. 

The £12,000 award was presented to the Kent photographer at the National Portrait Gallery, London, last night (Tuesday 12 November 2013). The winning portrait goes on show at the Gallery as part of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2013 from Thursday 14 November 2013 until 9 February 2014.

Taken at Kempton Park Racecourse the winning portrait of Katie Walsh was photographed whilst shooting a series of jump jockeys' portraits for Channel Four's The Original Extreme Sport campaign.  ‘I was keen to include Katie,’ says Murphy: ‘I wanted to show both her femininity and the toughness of spirit she requires to compete against the best riders in one of the most demanding disciplines in horse racing. I chose to shoot the series on large format film, to give the images a depth and timelessness that I think would have been hard to achieve on a digital camera’.

This is the seventh time the work of the London-based photographer has been exhibited at the Gallery’s annual photographic exhibition and last year Murphy’s portrait of actor Mark Rylance won him Third Prize.  

Spencer Murphy (22.09.1978) grew up in Kent and studied at the Kent Institute of Art and Design before gaining a BA in Photography at Falmouth College of Arts.  

There were three other prizes from the 2013 shortlist awarded at the National Portrait Gallery, London, last night (Tuesday 12 November 2013), together with The John Kobal New Work Award given for the second consecutive year to a photographer under the age of thirty selected for the exhibition, who will undertake a commission to photograph a sitter connected with the UK film industry for the National Portrait Gallery Collection.

The following artists have also been commended in the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2013 and receive the following prizes:

£3,000 Second Prize: Giles Price for Kumbh Mela Pilgrim Mamta Dubey and infant   

Hertfordshire-based Giles Price (09.07.1973) has exhibited widely and has been commissioned by several magazines and newspapers. His interest in photography began while on military service. He joined the Royal Marine Commandos at 16 and served in northern Iraq and Kurdistan at the end of the first Gulf War in 1991. After leaving the military due to injuries sustained in Iraq he went on to do a BA in Photographic Studies at University of Derby in 1994-7. His portrait is from a series shot at the 2013 Kumbh Mela Festival in Allahabad India. Taken outside the main hospital in a pop up studio, the portrait shows Mamta who was on a pilgrimage to the Kumbh.    

£2,000 Third Prize: Anoush Abrar for Kofi Annan

Born in Tehran, Iran (02.06.1976), Anoush Abrar has lived in Switzerland since he was five years old. He studied at the University of Arts in Lausanne and has taught for 14 years. His portrait of Kofi Annan, the Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations until 2006, was commissioned by ZEIT Magazine and published in March 2013. Abrar had photographed Mr Annan previously and he says he knew that time was of the essence. ‘In my mind it was clear what I wanted to do’, he says, ‘and this portrait took literally three minutes!’

£1,000 Fourth Prize: Dorothee Deiss for The twins

Dorothee Deiss (08.05.1961) lives and works as photographer and pediatric endocrinologist in Berlin. Born 1961 in Münsingen/ Württ, she studied medicine in Freiburg/Breisgau and since then she has been working as a pediatrician. Since 2003 she has studied photography at the Fotografie am Schiffbauerdamm and at the Ostkreuzschule school for photography and design, Berlin. From 2010-13 she studied in the ‘limited residency MFA in Photography’ programme at Hartford Art School, USA, where she received her MFA in August 2013. She is a founding member of Exp12, gallery for photography, Berlin. Her portrait, from her project VisibleInvisible, is of twin sisters she visited in their house. ‘I took a lot of more conventional portraits of them’, she says, ‘but when I found the bathrobe in a corner, perfectly fitting to the bedspread, that was when I knew I had the picture’.

The John Kobal New Work Award 2013

The winner of the John Kobal New Work Award is Hana Knizova (08.05.1984), for her portrait Elza and Nellie from the series Family Matters

Born in 1984, Hana Knizova worked as a model before undertaking an MA in photography at the London College of Communication. Her portrait is of identical twins Nellie and Elza and is from a series that explores physical resemblance. Knizova says she was fascinated by ‘the twins’ similarities, differences, and their mutual close attachment.’ The young women have recently moved to London, hoping to further their media careers after being seen in the television series New Zealand’s Next Top Model. Her work has been seen in publications including Marie Claire, InStyle and Dazed and Confused and was included in the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2012.

The John Kobal New Work Award 2012

The commission from the first John Kobal New Work Award winner Matthew Niederhauser, of actress Andrea Riseborough, is on display in Room 37a.

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

The judges have selected 60 portraits for the exhibition from 5,410 submissions entered by 2,435 photographers, an increase of 85 entries on last year.

Sandy Nairne, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, London, says: ‘The 2013 Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize exemplifies photographic portraiture at its most perceptive. These are sharp, engaging portraits. My congratulations to all the prize-winners.’

Tim Eyles, UK Managing Partner at international law firm Taylor Wessing, says: ‘The photographic talent in the competition this year was as outstanding as ever. The selection of these winning portraits from the thousands submitted is a great testament to their quality. Our congratulations to all the shortlisted photographers.’ 


14 November 2013 -9 February 2014

National Portrait Gallery, London, Admission £3, Concs £2


A fully illustrated book, including photographs from this year’s exhibition, features an essay by Kate Bush, Head of Barbican Art Galleries, and interviews with the prize winners by Richard McClure. Price £15 paperback (Available from 14 November 2013).  


  • The competition was judged from original prints by: Sandy Nairne Director, National Portrait Gallery, London (Chair); Kate Bush Head of Barbican Art Galleries; Suki Dhanda Photographer; Tim Eyles UK Managing Partner, Taylor Wessing; Terence Pepper Head of Photographs Collection, National Portrait Gallery; Rebecca Valentine Photographic Agent.  
  • The First Prize winner receives £12,000; Second Prize £3,000; Third Prize £2,000, Fourth Prize, £1,000.
  • The winner of the John Kobal New Work Award will win a cash prize of £4,000 to include undertaking a commission to photograph a sitter connected with the UK film industry for the National Portrait Gallery Collection. The John Kobal New Work Award was judged by Simon       Crocker, Chairman of the John Kobal Foundation and Michael Hoppen, Trustee of the John Kobal Foundation.
  • Admission to the exhibition is £3 (concs £2)

For further Press information and image requests please contact: Neil Evans, Press Office, National Portrait Gallery Tel: 020 7312 2452 (not for publication). Email:  

To download Press images:

National Portrait Gallery, St Martin’s Place, London, WC2H 0HE. Opening hours Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday: 10am – 6pm (Gallery closure commences at 5.50pm) Late Opening: Thursday, Friday: 10am – 9pm (Gallery closure commences at 8.50pm) Nearest Underground: Leicester Square/Charing Cross Recorded information: 020 7312 2463 General information: 020 7306 0055 Website:

Share this