John Kobal New Work Award

The John Kobal New Work Award is given to a photographer under thirty-five whose work has been selected for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition. The winner receives a cash prize of £5,000 to include undertaking a commission to photograph a sitter connected with the UK film industry for the National Portrait Gallery Collection.

The most recent commissioned portrait is Laura Pannack’s photograph of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story actress Felicity Jones. Pannack won the commission following her selection as part of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2014 exhibition.

Felicity Jones decided on a casual and relaxed style for her photograph, taken on a reed bed in Walthamstow Marshes in north east London on a particularly cold day. The actress did not once complain, but, says Pannack, “soldiered through to make the most of the limited time we had”.

The John Kobal New Work Award Commission was launched in 2012 by the John Kobal Foundation and represents a significant achievement for young photographers, particularly as each commissioned portrait becomes part of the Gallery’s Collection. The first commission saw the American photographer Matthew Niederhauser take a striking portrait of Andrea Riseborough, who had recently portrayed Wallis Simpson in the film W.E. (2011). The 2013 Award recipient, the Czech photographer Hana Knizova, photographed Olivia Colman reclining in an elegant tuxedo in a disused Victorian house in Stoke Newington.

Felicity Jones
by Laura Pannack, 2016
© National Portrait Gallery, London