The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

Advanced Collection search


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, and Suki Dhanda, photographer, give insights into the selection of the four shortlisted portraits.

Spencer Murphy for Katie Walsh

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.

Rebecca Valentine

Giles Price for Kumbh Mela Pilgrim - Mamta Dubey and infant

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.

Suki Dhanda

Anoush Abrar for Kofi Annan

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.

Rebecca Valentine

Dorothee Deiss for The Twins

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.

Suki Dhanda

As part of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2013 exhibition. 

Image Credits

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


Got something to say?


17 November 2013, 22:20

Spencer Murphy deservedly has won. The quality of the shot is indeed extraordinary, you can make out the pearls of sweat on her brow...the rest of the exhibition however, I find mostly predictable and rather boring.

Make a Comment

Comments are moderated. We'll need your email address so that we can contact you to let you know when your comment has been approved.

Your Emailclose

Contributions are moderated. We'll need your email address so that we can follow up on the information provided and contact you to let you know when your contribution has been published.