Queerness, identity and family: here's the Taylor Wessing Photo Prize shortlist

Taylor Wessing Prize 2022
(Image credit: Haneem Christian)

The National Portrait Gallery has just announced the three photographers shortlisted for this year's Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize. The prestigious award recognizes the incredible work of exciting contemporary photographers and is an opportunity to showcase important collections of work. 

This year more than 4,000 images from almost 1,700 photographers were submitted, but the expert panel of judges has narrowed it down to just a trio of people. The 2022 shortlist includes Haneem Christian, Clémentine Schneidermann and Alexander Komenda, whose completely different projects and styles all caught the judges' attention. 

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Born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa, Christian’s project 'Mother and Daughter' explores queerness and race in relation to family and identity. As a student of Gender Studies and Environmental and Geographical Sciences at the University of Cape Town, Christian wants her work to give a voice to minority communities. The two images selected come from two different series, the second being 'Rooted', but both explore similar themes. 

Laundry Day (Image credit: Clementine Schneidermann)

Schneidermann's photos at first seem mundane, but her explanation brings life into her series, 'Laundry Day'. She explains that the photographs "document micro-events which deal with the passage of time through the small moments of our daily lives." Taken during the national lockdown, when neighbors had to watch each other from afar, these socially distanced portraits shed a light on the importance of everyday tasks used to pass the time. 

Polish-Canadian documentary photographer Alexander Komenda was selected as the third shortlisted photographer for his portrait, Zahid’s Son. The photo was taken from an ongoing series of works called 'Lost Enchiridion of the Fergana Valley' that examines identity in the post-imperialist landscape of Fergana, which spreads through central Asia. 

Zahid's Son (Image credit: Alexander Komenda)

"Congratulations to the shortlisted photographers; once again, this year’s entries demonstrate the outstanding level at which photographers across the world are working," said Dr Nicholas Cullinan, director of the National Portrait Gallery.

"Since the launch of the Prize in 1993, now in its fifteenth year of sponsorship by Taylor Wessing, over one million people have seen the exhibition, which continues to bring the very best in contemporary photography to our audiences. I look forward to welcoming both new and returning visitors this autumn at Cromwell Place." 

All shortlisted photographers will have their work exhibited from 27 October at Cromwell Place arts hub in London, England, as well as receiving a cash price of £15,000 (approximately $18,000 / AU$26,000), £3,000 ($3,600 / AU$5,200) or £2,000 ($2,400 / AU$3,500) for coming in first, second and third place. 

For more information, visit the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize website.

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Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.