Celebrating contemporary portrait photography, the National Portrait Gallery in London has announced the winners of the highly regarded Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2023. Alexandre Silberman’s portrait Diena (Top Photo) has won first prize. Shot in Paris, the photograph features the sitter Diena, in her first professionally posed photograph.
Gilleam Trapenberg clinched the second prize with his portrayal of a mother and son on the Caribbean Island of Saint Martin in “Kisha and LaDarayon.” The joint third prize was shared by Jake Green for his intriguing portrait of Happy Monday’s lead singer, Shaun Ryder, and Carl Francois van der Linde for his captivating depiction of professional wrestlers from Punjab in “Chotu Lal Upside Down.” Adding to the accolades, the coveted Taylor Wessing Photographic Commission was bestowed upon Serena Brown for her work “me nana fie,” capturing her younger sister’s inaugural visit to their family home in Accra, Ghana.
Showcasing the intersection of artistry and human connection, this year’s competition unveiled a diverse array of captivating portraits, capturing the essence of subjects around the globe.
The finalists for this year’s prize included Serena Brown, whose poignant work “Me Nana Fie” immortalises the photographer’s sister’s first visit to her grandma’s home in Ghana. Jake Green’s mesmerizing portrait “Shaun Ryder” encapsulates the enigmatic lead singer of Happy Mondays veiled in a vapour cloud. Carl Francois van der Linde’s powerful “Chotu Lal Upside-down” offers a glimpse into the world of professional wrestlers from Continental Wrestling Entertainment (CWE). Alexandre Silberman’s evocative photograph “Diena” explores the intersection of humanity and nature, set against La Courneuve Park in Paris, France. Additionally, Gilliam Trapenberg’s heartfelt depiction of the quiet affection between a mother and son on the Caribbean island of Saint Martin, titled “Kisha and LaDarayon, 2023” rounded out the exceptional shortlist.
The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, established in 2003, stands as a testament to the art of portraiture. The competition, sponsored by the renowned law firm Taylor Wessing, has evolved into one of the most prestigious awards in portrait photography. It provides a vital platform for both established and emerging photographers to unleash their creativity and convey powerful narratives through the lens.
This year’s competition was marked by an exceptional level of talent, leading to a unique decision. In recognition of the outstanding quality of submissions, the judges opted to award a joint third-place prize to two photographers from the shortlist of five. This decision underscores the exceptional merit of the entrants and the depth of talent in contemporary portrait photography.
The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize represents more than just a competition; it is a celebration of human stories, identity, and representation captured through the art of photography. The exhibition, from November 9, 2023, to February 25, 2024, at the National Portrait Gallery, London, invites the public to immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of contemporary portraiture. Through the lenses of these visionary photographers, the complexities of human existence are beautifully and authentically portrayed, illuminating the diverse narratives that make up our shared humanity.