In Focus: Cristina de Middel

The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition includes In Focus, an annual showcase of new work by an internationally-renowned photographer.

This year’s featured artist is the award-winning Spanish photographer, Cristina de Middel, who will be displaying previously unseen prints from a new body of work. The photographs are part of the series Gentleman’s Club, taken of prostitutes' clients in brothels in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. By recruiting her sitters through a newspaper advert, de Middel inverted the normal roles of the business by placing herself in a position of power. Sitters were asked about their experience, personal history and motivations.

Cristina de Middel is recognised as one of the most interesting, innovative and often witty photographers working today. Born in 1975 in Alicante to Spanish and Belgian parents, she has studied at the Polytechnic University of Valencia and Barcelona Autónoma University. Her artistic and commercial breakthrough came in 2012 with The Afronauts, a self-published photo book and exhibition documenting Zambia’s little-known and short-lived 1964 space programme. Her other projects include Poly Spam (2009) and Sharkification (2016).

De Middel is the second In Focus artist, selected by National Portrait Gallery curators, following last year’s inaugural display which featured the work of Pieter Hugo.

Daniel from the series Gentlemen’s Club by
Cristina de Middel, 2016 © Cristina de Middel