The annual Taylor Wessing prize exhibition showcases new work from some of the world’s most exciting contemporary photographers. Those selected for inclusion in the exhibition were chosen from 5,717 submissions entered by 2,423 photographers from 66 countries.
The Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize 2017 exhibition is at the National Portrait Gallery, London, from 16 November to 8 February.
Amadou Sumaila by César Dezfuli
The winning shot from this year’s competition. The sitter, Amadou Sumaila, was photographed in the Mediterranean Sea in international waters, 20 nautical miles off the Libyan coast. He has since been transferred from a rescue vessel to a temporary reception centre for migrants in Italy. The portrait was taken as part of Dezfuli’s work as a freelancer, documenting the search and rescue of migrants to Europe on board an NGO vessel in the central Mediterranean route.
Maddens Wind Farm by Catherine Hyland
From the series Wait-and-See Pudding with Patience Sauce. The small Caribbean island of Nevis is known for its sandy beaches, but the island’s fertile land also accommodated extensive sugar plantations, which created much wealth for the British Empire. The island is harnessing renewable energy resources to become the world’s first carbon-neutral nation.
One of Them Is a Human #1 by Maija Tammi
This picture of Erica the robot is part of a broader series which presents androids alongside one human and asks questions about what it means to be alive. The photograph was taken at Ishiguro Laboratory, Department of Systems Innovation at Osaka University, Japan, in an experiment room where researchers work with Erica.
Untitled by Craig Bernard
From the series Sweat & Hype. Welsh photographer and chef Bernard has been photographing the Notting Hill carnival in west London since 2005. This candid moment captures the style and posturing of the crowd at Europe’s largest street party, a vivid spectacle that celebrates London’s multicultural past and present.
Francisca, Eva & Lyn, Million Dollar Point, Espiritu Santo by Jon Tonks
British photographer Tonks visited Vanuatu to photograph remote communities living in the islands for a project exploring belief, history and fantasy in the South Pacific. In a quieter moment during the assignment, Tonks chanced upon three girls playing on a rock who agreed to pose for his camera. The location is known to locals as Million Dollar Point, a beach where the US military abandoned vehicles and weaponry after the second world war.
Maggie by Danny North
From the series As I Found Her – A Portrait of Eigg, which documents inhabitants of the Isle of Eigg in the Scottish Hebrides. Partly owned by its residents, the small island is now run sustainably by the community from sources of renewable energy.
From the series Burkini Island by Anna Boyiazis
Kijini Primary School students learn to float, swim, and perform rescues in the Indian Ocean off Mnyuni, Zanzibar. Life in Zanzibar centres around the sea, yet the majority of girls never learn to swim, due to the absence of modest swimwear. Burkini swimsuits have made it possible for local women to learn aquatic safety techniques.
Builder’s Lunch Break by Davey James Clarke
In the middle of a chaotic street in Hackney, London, a builder enjoys a moment of quiet respite. In this spontaneous shot, British photographer Clarke captured the man on a break from work, as he bathed his tanned body in the sunlight.
The Sentinels by Nancy Newberry
Texan photographer Newberry interrogates stereotypes of American identity by staging a contemporary spaghetti western across the US–Mexico border, a site of blended nationalities and historical battles. Newberry cast and photographed American cowboys and Mexican charros in locations around Marfa, Dallas and El Paso, producing photographs that blur boundaries between documentary and fiction.
Sandwich Thief by Laurence Cartwright
Cartwright was taking pictures on the beach during a family holiday in the seaside town of Southwold, Suffolk, when one of the family dogs – a cheeky dachshund called Bingo – stole his niece’s sandwich from her picnic plate. This candid moment of comic drama tells the story of a classic British seaside holiday disrupted by a moment of exuberant canine treachery.
Dapo, Chicks by Camille Mack
Documentary photographer Mack has taken portraits in chicken shops across south London, to chart the diversity of their clientele. With glowing neon signs, the shops attract families and schoolchildren, hipsters, students, and late-night visitors in search of greasy snacks. For Mack, the chicken shop becomes a place where people come together for food, regardless of their race, class, age or religious beliefs.
Nurse by Keith Bernstein
From the series Movie Extras. Bernstein captures quiet moments between scenes on movie sets, photographing the film extras who are hired to play non-speaking parts. Here, in Bucharest, Romania, Maria was hired for a day as a background nurse at a motorcycle incident, but was never called to set. Resting outside on a bench, the careful geometry of the image underscores a sense of boredom and isolation.
Jennifer, Lur, and Emile, Warm Spring Creek, Idaho. by Matthew Hamon
From the series Water’s Edge. Hamon, a photographer living in Potomac, rural Montana, photographed Jennifer while she was bathing with her daughter and infant son in Warm Spring Creek, Idaho.
Sentō Bather by Simon Urwin
In a society bound by strict etiquette, the sentō or public bath is a haven where both clothes and inhibitions can be shed, enjoying hadaka na tsukiai (naked kinship) with fellow bathers to escape the pressures of modern life. Taken in Tokyo, this portrait poses the sitter, Amok, against a mural painting of Mount Fuji.
Fleeing Mosul by Abbie Trayler-Smith
From the series Women in War: Life After Isis. This photograph was shot outside Hasan Sham IDP camp in Northern Iraq. Trayler-Smith was there undertaking a commission for Oxfam documenting the camp where the charity was providing aid, talking to women who had lived under Isis. A convoy of buses arrived from Mosul, bringing people to safety who had escaped the battle just hours before.