Taylor Wessing Prize @ National Portrait Gallery

First Prize: Jooney Woodward, Harriet and Gentleman Jack

Born in London in 1979, Woodward grew up in Dorset and returned to the capital to study Graphic Design at Camberwell College of Arts, specialising in photography in her final year. Her portrait is of 13 year old Harriet Power, a steward at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show, photographed in the guinea pig judging enclosure. Woodward says:

I found her image immediately striking with her long red hair and white stewarding coat. She is holding her own guinea pig called Gentleman Jack, named after the Jack Daniel’s whisky box in which he was given to her. Using natural light from a skylight above, I took just three frames and this image was the first. There is something unsettling about the austere background and the scratch on her hand.Second Prize: Jill Wooster, Of Lili

Born in 1977 in New Haven, Connecticut, Jill Wooster has lived in New York, San Francisco and currently lives in London. Her portrait is of her friend, Lili Ledbetter and was taken at Wooster’s flat in Peckham. She says:

‘Lili is a complicated character. I like the way her androgyny makes her appearance seem both guarded and relaxed at the same time, capturing both her confidence and vulnerability.’

and finally….Third Prize: Dona Schwartz, Christina and Mark, 14 months

Born in the US in 1955, Dona Schwartz is an Associate Professor specialising in Visual Communication at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota. Her portrait is of Christina and Mark Bigelow from Minnesota in their son’s vacated bedroom. The image is from her current series, On the Nest, documenting moments of change in parents’ lives, and this photograph explores the emotions experienced by parents as their children leave home. She says:

’The transition to life as an empty nester lacks formal ritual observance. In this case there is no finite gestation period and the new beginning it heralds may be more sobering.’

Words: NPG

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