Taylor Wessing Prize: Seaside jaunts and final goodbyes

The three artists competing for this year’s coveted Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize have been unveiled and, while their pictures show differing approaches, their images seem all to focus on the domestic.

A young man starring out across the landscape; a family in a car loaded for a holiday adventure; and a mournful-looking woman are the topics focused on this year.

“I have been struck by the inspiring and emotive narratives of community and family present in the submissions,” said Dr Nicholas Cullinan, the gallery’s director.

The photographs, which will go on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London, were chosen from 3,700 submissions.

The three finalists will be exhibited alongside 28 other artists whose work has also been selected for the show.

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Enda Bowe

Neil from the series Love’s Fire Song by Enda Bowe

Enda Bowe is an Irish photographer based in London whose work aims to tell a story while celebrating the beauty of the seemingly mundane.

Bowe’s shortlisted work portrays Neil, a young man photographed as part of Bowe’s series on the Belfast Conway estate.

“l concentrated on the ordinary, the everyday,” said the artist.

“The photographs use a saturated colour palette with only subtle symbolisms, and without reference to the specific locations they were taken.

“Free from political and geographical context, the photographs speak of longing, yearning, aspirations and vulnerabilities of young people in Belfast today.”

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Garrod Kirkwood

The Hubbucks from the series England by Garrod Kirkwood

Garrod Kirkwood’s shortlisted photograph shows a family setting off on a holiday adventure – a moment full of promise and possibility.

Kirkwood described the image as “a cinematic scene from real life”.

“This is a magical moment and portrait of a family and group of individuals that we all can relate to,” he added.

The photo was taken in Whitley Bay on the north east coast of England. Kirkwood also hails from the region.

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Pat Martin

Gail and Beaux; Mom (our last one) from the series entitled Goldie (Mother) by Pat Martin

The work of American artist Pat Martin is the most personal of the shortlisted pictures.

His nominated photographs are of his now dead mother with whom he had a difficult, often painful relationship.

She struggled with addiction throughout her life, which led to Martin finding it hard to build a close mother and child relationship with her.

“For most of my life, I misunderstood my mother and witnessed how the world misunderstood her,” he said.

“Photographing her became a way of looking into a mirror and finding details never noticed. There were always new ones to discover, and something new to hide.”

The winner of the 2019 Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize will be announced on 5 November.

Entries will be on show at the National Portrait Gallery from 7 November 2019 – 16 February 2020.

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