The National Portrait Gallery has revealed the five photographers that have been shortlisted for the Taylor Wessing Photo Portrait Prize 2023, the prestigious photography award organised by the National Portrait Gallery, London.
The shortlisted works will be displayed in the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2023 exhibition as the show returns to the National Portrait Gallery, open from 9th November 2023 until 25th February 2024.
Owing to the outstanding quality of submissions this year, a joint third-place prize will be awarded to two photographers from a shortlist of five. Selected by a panel of judges from 5020 entries from 1785 photographers, the five shortlisted photographers are:
Serena Brown for me nana fie featuring the photographer’s younger sister visiting her grandma’s home in Ghana for the first time.
Jake Green for Shaun Ryder capturing the Happy Mondays lead singer obscured by a vapour cloud.
Carl Francois van der Linde for Chotu Lal Upside-down depicting professional wrestlers of Continental Wrestling Entertainment (CWE).
Alexandre Silberman for Diena, examining the intersections of people and the natural world, captured at La Courneuve park outside Paris, France.
Gilleam Trapenberg for Kisha and LaDarayon, 2023 picturing the quiet affection between a mother and son on the Caribbean island of Saint Martin.
Congratulations to the shortlisted photographers, who have demonstrated an outstanding quality of work amongst an extremely talented pool of entries. The Photo Portrait Prize is always an opportunity to showcase new and exciting photography talent, and we are delighted to be welcoming the exhibition back to the newly renovated gallery. With a new Commission Prize, I also look forward to working with one of these photographers to create a piece for the National Portrait Gallery’s collection after the winner is revealed in November.Nicholas Cullinan Director, National Portrait Gallery
Alongside the monetary prizes for first, second and third place, a commission to the value of £8,000 will be awarded to one of the shortlisted photographers. Supported by Taylor Wessing, the chosen photographer will create an artwork that will form part of the world’s largest collection of portraiture at the National Portrait Gallery. The commissioned photographer will be announced at the Awards Ceremony at the Gallery, alongside the Prize winners, with the commission unveiled at the 2024 Taylor Wessing Photo Portrait Prize exhibition.
Following an anonymous judging process, the winner will be announced on 6th November 2023. This year’s judging panel was chaired by National Portrait Gallery Director, Dr Nicholas Cullinan, who was joined by Senior Curator at The Photographer’s Gallery, Karen McQuaid; writer and photographer, Caleb Azumah Nelson; artist, Campbell Addy; and the National Portrait Gallery’s Senior Curator of Photography, Sabina Jaskot-Gill.
Serena Brown is a British photographer, holding a BA in Photography from Falmouth University. Brown’s work often focuses on issues affecting working class youth around the UK, seeking to create honest and authentic portrayals of her subjects. Brown’s approach is exemplified throughout her previous projects including Back a Yard, exploring the appropriation of Black and Asian working class youth culture within fashion, and Class of Covid-19, portraying students who’s school years were cut short by lockdown in 2020. Brown’s work has appeared in renowned publications including capturing England Forward player Chloe Kelly for Grazia, photographing editor of British Vogue Edward Enninful for the New York Times and features for Refinery29, amongst other photographic projects for brands such as Nike, Google and Pepsi.
Brown’s shortlisted photograph, me nana fie, pictures the photographer’s younger sister at their grandmother’s house in Accra, Ghana. It is part of a larger project capturing the notable characters – friends, family and street sellers – who visit her grandmother. Brown was visiting her family in Ghana, returning for the first time since she was two. She travelled with her younger sister Chloe, who had never visited the country before. The portrait captures a sense of homecoming and belonging.
Jake Green is a British, London-based documentary photographer, creating observational images of people and place. Often working in his home city, Green’s most notable work includes Pie and Mash London, documenting the tradition of pie and mash shops, and Drink my Sweat exploring the production and movement of coffee. His portraiture work has included subjects such as actor Daniel Kaluya, singer Dua Lipa and author and comedian Big Narstie amongst other notable public figures. Green has also collaborated with global publications and brands such as The New York Times, the Guardian, Converse and Google.
Shaun Ryder, taken in Manchester, was produced for a series documenting influential figures in 1980’s music as a commission for Gold Wala and Channel 4. Depicting the iconic lead singer from the Happy Mondays, Ryder’s face is obscured entirely by vapour as suggested by Ryder during the photography session with Green.
Carl Francois van der Linde is a South African photographer, holding a Bachelors in Commerce Economics and International Trade and Post-Graduate degree in marketing and communication. His work has previously been featured in the PhotoVogue Festival next Generation Fashion Image Makers 2022 awards and has collaborated on projects for publications and organisations including DAZED, Elephant Magazine, WePresent and the British Craft Council.
Chotu Lal Upside-down, from the series Our Leader depicts Chotu Lal a.k.a the Dragon, a professional wrestler from Punjab hanging upside down by his feet from a tree, sandwiched between two much larger wrestlers which was captured in Jalandhar during Van Der Linde’s exploration of the world of Continental Wrestling Entertainment (CWE). The portrait finds Chotu Lal in the midst of building his personal wrestling brand; CWE students often stage humiliation efforts as part of their promotion, recording them and adding the content to social media. This adds to their personal brand and potential virality of their social media pages, hoping to catch the eye of talent scouts.
Alexandre Silberman is a director and photographer based in Paris, France, focused on developing long term documentary projects. His work has previously been exhibited in galleries and exhibitions across Europe and the USA, with publications in Marie Claire Korea and Musee Magazine, amongst others.
Silberman’s series NATURE explores the intersection of human landscapes and the natural world, and how human interventions such as building a park or urban greenspace creates a hybrid reality between what is natural and what is constructed. Captured in La Courneuve Park, the photograph pictures it’s sitter, Diena, in a liminal state where the pattern of the surrounding lawn appears to blend with the pattern of her floral blouse. The monochrome palette lends a timeless, oneiric quality to the work, but details within the frame – Diena’s nose-ring and headphones – bring the portrait into the present.
Gilleam Trapenberg is a Dutch photographer, now based in Amsterdam, who was born and raised on the Dutch-Caribbean Island of Curaçao. His work explores contradictions and stereotypes of the social landscape of the Caribbean, focusing on vistas beyond tourist tropes to explore a more nuanced and multifaceted understanding of daily life on the islands. His work has been exhibited at the Stedelijk Museum and FOAM Photography Museum in Amsterdam.
Kisha and LaDarayon, 2023 from the series Currents, was captured on the Caribbean island of Saint Martin. Trapenberg has been photographing Kisha and her family since 2018. This particular portrait captured in 2023, features Kisha outside her grandmother’s home with her youngest son LaDarayon. While Trapenberg’s photography typically avoids focusing on particular individuals, his work with Kisha’s family is a departure from this norm. His portrait captures a heartfelt moment between mother and son. Trapenberg explains that Kisha, a mother of three boys, embodies the spirit of Caribbean women he grew up with on Curaçao.
This year’s Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize features an exceptional shortlist of talented artists. We take pride in supporting the Prize, which has gained international prestige and attracted a growing number of artists and we look forward to seeing the Prize return to the National Portrait Gallery.Shane Gleghorn Managing Partner, Taylor Wessing
The exhibition will also host this year’s In Focus Photographer, Hassan Hajjaj. Living and working between London and Marrakesh, Hajjaj’s vibrant portraits embrace diverse cultural influences – incorporating references to Western pop art and African studio portraiture, and mixing traditional Moroccan fabrics and motifs with contemporary streetwear and maximalist styling. His work resists stereotypes to fashion a unique representation of Hajjaj’s own experience of living between British and North African cultures.
Taylor Wessing Photo Portrait Prize 2023, 9th November 2023 – 25th February 2024, National Portrait Gallery: npg.org.uk/taylor-wessing-photo-portrait-prize-2023