National Portrait Gallery announce winners of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize

  • Words: Spindle

Claudio Rasano has been named as the winner of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2016. Rasano won the £15,000 prize and accolade for his portrait is of 18-year-old Katlehong Matsenen, a school boy from Johannesburg. 4,303 entries were submitted to this year’s competition from 1,842 photographers. The judges stated that the winning photograph “stood out for its simplicity and powerful directness,” praising Rasano for creating “something beautiful out of the everyday.”

The Swiss-Italian photographer took the photograph as part of his series ‘Similar Uniforms: We Refuse to Compare,’ which questions whether individuality can be preserved when uniforms are worn. Rasano explained his series: “Children themselves have been known to rebel against uniforms, especially as they approach the awkward age characterised by the need to fit in and the desire to stand out, all at the same time. Some experts too have spoken against school uniforms on the grounds that they suppress individuality and diversity.”

The National Portrait Gallery have also announced the runners up. Joni Sternbach won second prize for a large-format tinetype from her series ‘Surfland,’ of surfers Thea Adler and Maxwell Schultz in Santa Cruz, California. Kovi Konowiecki received third prize for photographs from his series ‘Bei Mir Bitsu Shein,’ which depict Orthodox Jews from around the world. The John Kobal New Work Award is awarded to photographers under 35, with British artist Josh Redman winning the £5,000 prize with a portrait of an 83-year-old woman called Frances.

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The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2016 exhibition opens today at the National Portrait Gallery and will be on display until 26th February 2017.