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The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition always provides the Gallery with a great opportunity to support young people in learning the creative and technical aspects of executing an excellent photographic portrait. This year the Young People’s Programme at the Gallery has included a variety of workshops inspired by the exhibition, including one of our monthly Sunday Sessions. Young people can work with professional artists over the space of three hours to produce their own creative responses to the National Portrait Gallery’s collection, exhibitions and displays.

The Gallery also has a Youth Forum; a group of young people that helps develop and supports peer-led sessions for other 14 – 21 year olds and acts as a bridge between young people and the Gallery. Assisting on the Sunday Session: Digital Portraits, Youth Forum member Miranda writes about her experience:

The exhibition was a fantastic starting point; the range of portraits was so diverse and interesting, they inspired the participants to create photographs that portrayed an emotion, narrative or idea. Anthony Luvera, a photographer who has exhibited in previous years of the Prize, was great in educating us on how to create portraits particularly through looking at lighting and composition in a studio setting. With Anders Birger, a practising photojournalist we explored how to use the area and context around the sitter to create a portrait. Working with both of the photographers gave me a fresh insight into photography and what constitutes making a portrait; they also supported my interpretation of the exhibition, and made me notice things not so obvious within the portraits.

I would recommend the sessions to anyone who’s young and interested in art; having developed so many skills particularly at the Sunday Sessions, it comes very handy with coursework, with relevant and essential skills for my whole portfolio. The individual sessions are inspirational in terms of constructing your own ideas, the artists that I have worked with in the sessions have particularly inspired me to explore portraiture.

Sunday Sessions take place on the first Sunday of every month, 13:00- 16:00; they are free to anyone aged 14-21.

All photographs taken by young people at Sunday Session: Digital Portraits.
©Images, National Portrait Gallery London.

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