Exhibition 2012

Prize Winners

The prize winners for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2013, and the winner of the John Kobal New Work Award, were announced at an award ceremony on 12 November 2013 at the National Portrait Gallery.

Read the press release here

Read the judges' blog here


The £12,000 first prize was awarded to Spencer Murphy for Katie Walsh

Spencer Murphy 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.

Taken at Kempton Park Racecourse his portrait of Katie Walsh was taken whilst shooting a series of jump jockeys' portraits for Channel Four's The Original Extreme Sport campaign. He says: 'I was keen to include Katie, 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'.

Shortlisted for the Sony World Photography Awards in both 2010 and 2011, Murphy's work will now have been exhibited as part of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize seven times, and last year his portrait of actor Mark Rylance won him Third Prize.

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The £3,000 second prize was awarded to Giles Price for Kumbh Mela Pilgrim - Mamta Dubey and infant

Hertfordshire-based Giles Price 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 sixteen 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.

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The £2,000 third prize was awarded to Anoush Abrar for Kofi Annan

Born in Tehran, Iran, 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 fourteen 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 and this portrait took literally three minutes!'

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The £1,000 fourth prize was awarded to Dorothee Deiss for The Twins

Dorothee Deiss lives and works as photographer and pediatric endocrinologist in Berlin. Born 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. She says: 'I took a lot of more conventional portraits of them but when I found the bathrobe in a corner, perfectly fitting to the bedspread, that was when I knew I had the picture'.

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The competition was judged on an equal and anonymous basis from original prints by:

Sandy Nairne, Director, National Portrait Gallery (Chair)
Kate Bush
, Head of Barbican Art Galleries
Suki Dhanda
, Photographer
Tim Eyles
, Managing Partner, Taylor Wessing
Terence Pepper
, Curator of Photographs, National Portrait Gallery
Rebecca Valentine
, Photographic Agent


The John Kobal New Work Award was awarded to Hana Knizova for Elza and Nellie

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 had 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.

All selected photographers under the age of 30 were eligible for the John Kobal New Work Award. The winning photographer receives a cash prize of £4,000 and a commission from the Gallery to photograph a sitter connected with the UK film industry. The Award was judged by Simon Crocker, Chairman of the John Kobal Foundation and Michael Hoppen, Trustee of the John Kobal Foundation.

Katie Walsh
by Spencer Murphy, 2013 © Spencer Murphy