For many photographers, myself included, the annual Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize is a highlight and a must-see exhibition. The portrait competition is open to photographers worldwide, professionals as well as amateurs, and this year more than 4,000 portraits were submitted, from which 60 have been shortlisted to go on show. The exhibition will be open from 13th Nov 2014 – 22nd Feb 2015 at the National Portrait Gallery, London.
I really enjoy visiting the exhibition and seeing the diversity of work on display – from intimate images of friends and family to striking portraits of famous faces. The style of portraiture photography varies enormously, in the use of colour, light and different photographic techniques. I also find it fascinating to read the photographers’ bios and short descriptions of their work, to try and glimpse an insight into the story behind a portrait.
This year, however, I may be fortunate enough to see TWO exciting shows of the best in portraiture photography. The Portrait Salon is exhibiting for the fourth year, and is a unique collection of 70 portraits originally submitted to, and rejected by, the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize. Portrait Salon opened at the Four Corners gallery in London on the 6th November 2014. The print exhibition will later tour the UK – visiting Bradford, North Wales, Scotland, Birmingham and Bristol. Dates can be found on the Portrait Salon website.
Looking at the Portrait Salon portraits and comparing them to the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize images, I find it difficult to distinguish between the quality of work in the two exhibitions. In my opinion, the Portrait Salon is equally as engaging and impressive as the Taylor Wessing Prize portraits. It just goes to show that the perception of what is ‘best’ in photography is very subjective – and that even an image initially rejected can go on to become a winner!