Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize Rigged?

Was The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize rigged? The 2010 prize is supposed to present the very best in contemporary portrait photography, showcasing the work of talented young photographers and gifted amateurs alongside that of established professionals and photography students. Through editorial, advertising and fine art images, the entrants have explored a range of themes, styles and approaches to the contemporary photographic portrait, from formal commissioned portraits to more spontaneous and intimate moments capturing friends and family.This year the competition attracted nearly 6,000 submissions from over 2,400 photographers from around the world. The selected sixty works for the exhibition include the four prize-winners and the winner of the ELLE commission.exhibiting many photographs for the first time, the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2010 is a unique opportunity to see images by some of the most exciting contemporary portrait photographers working today. The popular prize attracted more than 6,000 entrants this year. Sixty were selected for the exhibition, from which four cash-prize winners were selected. Trayler-Smith, a freelance photojournalist, was awarded fourth prize, which carries an award of £1,000. The £12,000 first prize was awarded to David Chancellor for his image of a teenage deer-hunter. London’s National Portrait Gallery has found itself in an embarrassing situation involving one of the judges after it came to light that he was in an intimate relationship with one of the prize winners. The fact only came to light after the couple appeared at the awards ceremony with their young baby. Harry Borden is an award-winning portrait photographer himself and was chosen back in August 2010 as one of the six judges to determine the four recipients of the prize. When the award ceremony was held in November, it was clear that fourth-prize winner Abbie Trayler-Smith was the mother of Borden’s child. “It was only at that moment, on that night, that I realized that we should investigate,” Sandy Nairne, director of the NGP.An investigation was carried out by an independent audit committee and although it subsequently found no grounds for confiscating the prize, it recommended changes in order to avoid future conflicts of interest. From next year prospective judges (who number six, including Nairne) will be given an early briefing about the importance of declaring conflicts of interest as soon as they are approached for the job.Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize at the National Portrait Gallery until 20 February