Four photographers have been shortlisted for the £12,000 Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2012, the National Portrait Gallery, London, has revealed.
Organisers of the international portrait photography competition have narrowed the list of entrants down from 5,40 submissions by 2,352 photographers, to just four.
Shortlisted for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2012 is German photographer Alma Haser, for her photo The Ventriloquist.
Her shortlisted portrait, taken in her shared house in South London, is of friends Luke and James who have known each other since they were 12. Struck by their hairstyles, Haser initially planned to take separate portraits but it was difficult to get them to concentrate so she decided to photograph them together.
She says ‘I asked them to sit on a tiny, wobbly coffee table, forcing them to almost cling onto each other. Ultimately I wanted to turn their verbal banter into a visual image. The title is designed to help viewers make up their own stories about what is going on.’
British photographer Spencer Murphy was shortlisted for his portrait of actor Mark Rylance.
Murphy’s portrait was commissioned for the cover of the Telegraph Magazine to mark the actor’s return to the Globe to play Richard III. Murphy says, ‘I’ve always enjoyed working with actors as there’s no awkwardness or discomfort in front of the camera and they are able to understand direction and react to it very easily. Mark was no exception.’
Fellow Brit Jennifer Pattison was shortlisted for her portrait entitled Lynne, Brighton.
Pattison’s portrait of her friend Lynne was taken in the empty bedroom of a derelict house in Brighton. It is part of a currently untitled series of naked portraits and landscapes. Pattison says, ‘There is an interesting shift in the consciousness of the sitter during the slow process of making these portraits; a moment in the quiet where they become unaware that they are naked. I capture them as they drift to another place. With no direction Lynne adopted this straightforward pose, bare and undaunted, looking straight down the lens and beyond.’
Spanish photographer Jordi Ruiz Cirera rounds out the shortlist with her image, Maria Teichroeb.
Jordi’s portrait of Maria, a Mennonite from the Swift Current Colony in Bolivia, is part of his long-term project portraying the daily life of this community. He says, ‘almost all of the houses have tables in front of their windows giving fantastic light to the scene. Sitting in front of the camera was not easy for Maria, photography is forbidden for Mennonites and having her direct portrait taken was quite difficult so I could only take two frames of her. Even though we were enjoying the situation, Maria posed with this sort of awkward expression.’
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