The Judges, left to right: Tim Eyles, Suki Dhanda, Terence Pepper, Rebecca Valentine, Sandy Nairne, Kate Bush. Photograph by Suki Dhanda, 7 August 2013
Two of the judging panel for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2013, Rebecca Valentine, photographic agent and owner of vaarta.co.uk, and Suki Dhanda, photographer, give insights into the selection of the four shortlisted portraits.
Katie Walsh by Spencer Murphy
I think the quality of the photography – the colours, the colour balance and the palette that he’s used – really stood out from everything else in the over 5,000 images we looked at. Her expression is almost one of defeat, she seems exhausted and looks so female, and clearly emotional, in what is a very masculine sport. All sorts of reasons: primarily the photography; secondarily the portraiture and thirdly the celebrity, make it a winner.
Kumbh Mela Pilgrim – Mamta Dubey and Infant by Giles Price
What struck me about this portrait was that it is not a typical portrait of an Indian woman, photographed in India. Because of the plain, contrasting backdrop it could have been taken anywhere – it doesn’t have the busy background of a street scene or crowds typical of photographs made there. But the light is so beautiful it has to be in India and the combination of fabrics, the way she is isolated and the expression on her face as she looks at the camera, really caught my attention.
Kofi Annan by Anoush Abrar
The reason this particularly resonated was the power of the use of black and white and his expression. Ordinarily when people are photographed with their eyes closed, they look very serene and rested whereas he doesn’t. He looks troubled – he seems to have the weight of the world on his shoulders. I thought it was the perfect portrait of Kofi Annan.
The Twins by Dorothee Deiss
What’s interesting about this portrait is the composition and the layering of different colours in what is, on first glance, a very quiet picture. The restricted palette of tones that have been used for the bed sheets and the dressing gowns all seem to reflect the colour of the twins’ hair – these combined elements all made this portrait stand out. The way the two women are entwined means that they seem to merge. It’s complicated, but it doesn’t feel contrived.
As part of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2013 exhibition.
Katie Walsh By Spencer Murphy, 2013
Kumbh Mela Pilgrim - Mamta Dubey and infant By Giles Price, 2013
Kofi Annan by Anoush Abrar, 2013
The Twins by Dorothee Deiss, 2013