Australian wins 2021 Taylor Wessing portrait photograph award

Australian photographer David Prichard won first prize at the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2021 for Tribute to Indigenous women, her series of portraits of First Nations women who have spent most of their working lives on cattle ranches in far north Queensland. As the 2021 winner, Prichard takes home the top prize of £ 15,000.

© David Prichard. First Prize – Taylor Wessing Portrait Award 2021. Kurtijar woman Merna Beasley was 15 when she started working on breeding stations in the Gulf.

Pierre-Elie de Pibrac received the second prize of Hakanai Sonzai, a series of portraits made in Japan of people who have shown courage in the face of adversity. The third prize was awarded to Katya Ilina for David, taken from a series of portraits that celebrate positive body image and question notions of masculinity and femininity by emphasizing their fluidity.

© Pierre-Elie de Pibrac.  Second Prize - Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize 2021. From the Hakanai Sonzai series.
© Pierre-Elie de Pibrac. Second Prize – Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize 2021. From the series, Hakanai Sonzai.

The annual portrait award, awarded by the National Portrait Gallery in London, was established in 2003 with the sponsorship of Taylor Wessing for the past 14 years. The winning photographs and those selected for inclusion in the exhibition were chosen from 5,392 submissions from 2,215 photographers from 62 countries. A total of 54 portraits by 25 artists have been selected to be exhibited as part of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2021 exhibition in London. The images were selected for display by a panel of judges including:

  • Misan Harriman, photographer and president of the Southbank Center
  • Mariama Attah, curator of the Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool
  • Dr Susan Bright, Curator and Writer

About the winners

David Prichard – First Prize

Born in 1966, David Prichard studied photography at Sydney Technical College and worked in film and photography in Australia, Cuba and Brazil. He was a finalist for the National Portrait Prize, Australia (2018) and its previous series, Indigenous rodeo riders, can be seen in a permanent installation in Normanton, Queensland. This is the first time he has presented a work for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize.

© David Prichard.  First Prize - Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize 2021. Kurtijar wife Gloria Campbell worked as a cook and housekeeper at breeding stations.
© David Prichard. First Prize – Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize 2021. Kurtijar wife Gloria Campbell worked as a cook and housekeeper at breeding stations.

Prichard’s series, Tribute to Indigenous women, features portraits of First Nations women who have spent most of their working lives on cattle ranches in far north Queensland. Their physically demanding work as ranching women involved a range of chores, from cooking and other household chores, to maintaining the welfare of livestock, often on horseback. The cultural and social history of ethnic women has remained almost completely ignored. Reflecting on the series, Prichard said: “I have always been respectful of cultural and social sensitivities and subsequently established a relationship of trust with the community, which led to me being invited to photograph the images. women. The project does not concern me. I am only the vehicle. for women to tell their stories. “

Pierre-Elie de Pibrac – Second Prize

Pierre-Elie de Pibrac was born in Paris in 1983 and graduated from a business school in 2009 but changed course when his first photographic portraits, taken during a trip to Myanmar, were immediately recognized. de Pibrac has since become a widely recognized visual artist, exhibiting extensively in France, the United States and Japan. He has published several monographs and won the HIP 2020 Book of the Year Award, in the reporting and history category. This is the first time he has presented a work for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize.

© Pierre-Elie de Pibrac.  Second Prize - Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize 2021. From the Hakanai Sonzai series.
© Pierre-Elie de Pibrac. Second Prize – Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize 2021. From the Hakanai Sonzai series.

The title of the Pierre-Elie de Pibrac series, Hakanai Sonzai, translates to “I myself feel like an ephemeral creature”. This reflects the photographer’s belief that his models’ tolerance in the face of adversity is rooted in the Japanese national culture of fate and awareness of impermanence. In Fukushima, he photographed residents exiled from their contaminated homes following the nuclear disaster the city witnessed a decade ago. Other portraits were taken in the ancient mining town of Yubari, once known as the country’s coal capital, now devastated by coal mine closures and depopulation. Speaking about this series, de Pibrac said: “Each portrait emanates from long discussions I had with my subjects about a painful event in their life. In all the images I forbid all movement, as s’ they were trapped by their environment with no visible escape. “

Katya Ilina – Third Prize

Born in the Russian city of Perm in 1990, Katya Ilina bought her first camera as a teenager during a “life-changing” summer swap in small town Montana. She has exhibited in Europe and Asia and is studying for a Bachelor of Image Arts: Photography Studies at Ryerson University in Toronto, while undertaking personal projects and independent fashion assignments. This is the first time that she has been selected for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition.

© Katya Ilina.  Third Prize - Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize 2021. David, from the Rosemary & Thyme series.
© Katya Ilina. Third Prize – Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize 2021. David, from the Serie, Rosemary & Thyme.

The entrance of Katya Ilina, David, is taken from Rosemary & Thyme, a series of portraits that celebrate positive body image and question notions of masculinity and femininity by emphasizing their fluidity. The series subverts the centuries-old tropes of representation in Western art by depicting men in poses traditionally found in portraits of women. Ilina was inspired by Grayson Perry’s book The descent of man, which examines how rigid male roles can be chronically damaging for men. She was introduced to David Adelaja through a modeling agency and photographed him in a studio in Toronto, using natural light.

Speaking about her work, Ilina said: “I strive to show beauty in all its forms. I am interested in the things that make us human in the modern world and everything I do comes from my personal experiences, d ‘one way or another. “

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Michael E. Marquez