A Father’s Portrait of His Son Wins the 2014 Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize

What makes a portrait prize-worthy? Contest judges are faced with this difficult question every year when hundreds of photographers from around the world vie for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, which “celebrates and promotes the very best in contemporary portrait photography.”

This year’s competition saw breathtaking entries from many genres, including editorial, advertising, and fine art photography. Winners were announced at a much anticipated awards ceremony today.

First Place: David Litlow

From 4,193 entries, the prestigious first place award—which includes a £12,000 prize—has been awarded to fashion photographer David Titlow of London. His winning photo features his young son meeting a dog after a midsummer celebration in Sweden.

2014 taylor wessing portrait winner

“Konrad Lars Hastings Titlow” by David Titlow

“Konrad Lars Hastings Titlow, was captured by Titlow the morning after a large midsummer party in Rataryd, Sweden. ‘Everyone was a bit hazy from the previous day’s excess’, says Titlow. ‘My girlfriend passed our son to the subdued revellers on the sofa—the composition and back light was so perfect that I had to capture the moment’.”

Second Place: Jessica Fulford-Dobson

Jessica Fulford-Dobson received second place for her portrait of a seven year-old girl at a skate school in Kabul.

taylor wessing portrait second place

“Skate Girl” by Jessica Fulford-Dobson

“With the Skate Girls of Kabul portraits, I wanted to show these young Afghan girls with their skateboards within the liberating environment that Skateistan provides for them. It is here that for a few hours a week they are able to have some semblance of a childhood in a place that is detached from the war and their working life on the streets. Like so many other girls across the world, when given the chance to do something positive that they love, each starts to discover their own identity and strength, their own distinctive style and personality.”

Third Place: Birgit Puve

Birgit Püve of Estonia took third place with her photo of identical twin boys with their great grandmother’s chicken in the countryside.

third place portrait award

“Braian and Ryan” by Birgit Püve

“Braian and Ryan is from the series Double Matters. Püve was working on the series for a photography book on twins and triplets living in Estonia. Püve visited the nine-year-old twin boys at their great grandmother’s house in Saue, an area of idyllic countryside outside Tallinn, where she spent a few hours photographing them in different locations in the surrounding land.”

Fourth Place: Blerim Racaj

And the fourth prize was awarded to Blerim Racaj for his portrait of a group of young people on the street in Kosovo.

fourth place award taylor wessing portrait contest

“Indecisive Moment” by Blerim Racaj

“Indecisive Moment is from a recent and unpublished series about young Kosovars—a project triggered by the socio-political landscape in Kosovo and high level of unemployment amongst an increasingly young population. The photograph was taken at the base of the National Library, a place chosen by the sitters as an ‘escape zone’. Racaj says: ‘The photograph signifies that moment in time infused with uncertainty and vulnerability whilst knocking on the door of adulthood.’”

These winning photographs, along with more than 50 other entries selected by the competition’s judges, are on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London until February 22, 2015.

All images via National Portrait Gallery and used with permission.

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