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The winners of the Taylor Wessing Portrait Photo Awards 2023 have been announced,
The winners of the Taylor Wessing Portrait Photo Awards 2023 have been announced, Copyright Credit: Taylor Wessing Portrait Photo Awards/Alexandre Silberman
Copyright Credit: Taylor Wessing Portrait Photo Awards/Alexandre Silberman
Copyright Credit: Taylor Wessing Portrait Photo Awards/Alexandre Silberman

Take a look at these mesmerising winners of the Taylor Wessing Photo Portrait Prize 2023

By Theo Farrant
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The exhibition of these award-winning photographs will run from 9 November 2023 to 25 February 2024 at the National Portrait Gallery in London.

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The National Portrait Gallery in London is celebrating contemporary portrait photography with the announcement of the winners of the prestigious Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2023.

The first prize of £15,000 (approx. €17,000) for the Taylor Wessing Photo Portrait Prize 2023 was awarded to German-born photographer Alexandre Silberman for his portrait titled Diena

This mesmerising photo, "with echoes of art historical depictions of a Madonna" was taken in Paris and features a model named Diena, marking her first professionally posed photograph.

Gilleam Trapenberg secured the second prize with his portrayal of a mother and son on the Caribbean Island of Saint Martin in his work Kisha and LaDarayon.

The joint third prize was shared by Jake Green for his intriguing portrait of Shaun Ryder, the lead singer of Happy Mondays, and Carl Francois van der Linde for his captivating depiction of professional wrestlers from Punjab in Chotu Lal Upside Down.

The award-winning photographs from this year's competition will be on display at an exhibition held at the National Portrait Gallery in London, running from 9 November 2023 to 25 February, 2024. 

Below is a collection of the winning images as well as selection of works from the shortlisted photographers. 

'Diena' by Alexandre Silberman (1st place)

Diena by Alexandre Silberman from the series NATURE
Diena by Alexandre Silberman from the series NATURECredit: Alexandre Silberman

Alexandre Silberman is a director and photographed based in Paris, France. 

Silberman's series NATURE explore 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, his winning photograph pictures sitter, Diena, in a liminal state where the pattern of the surrounding lawn appears to blend with the pattern of her floral blouse. 

The judges felt this portrait encompassed a compelling blend of the traditional and the contemporary. 

With echoes of art historical depictions of a Madonna, the monochrome palette lends a timeless, oneiric quality to the work. 

However, details within the image, such as the sitter's nose ring, floral blouse and headphones, feel fresh and current and bring the portrait firmly into the present.

'Kisha and LaDarayon' by Gilleam Trapenberg (2nd place)

Kisha and LaDarayon by Gilleam Trapenberg from the series Currents
Kisha and LaDarayon by Gilleam Trapenberg from the series CurrentsCredit: Gilleam Trapenberg

Kisha and LaDarayon 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.

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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 the Caribbean women he grew up with on Curaçao. 

'Shaun Ryder' by Jake Green (3rd prize)

Shaun Ryder by Jake Green
Shaun Ryder by Jake GreenCredit: Jake Green

Shaun Ryder, taken in Manchester, was produced for a series documenting influential figures in 1980s music as a commission for Gold Wala and Channel 4. 

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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. 

The judges were intrigued by being presented with a characterful celebrity portrait where his face is not revealed, but the personality of the sitter is still conveyed. 

'Chotu Lal Upside-down' by Carl Francois van der Linde (3rd prize)

Chotu Lal Upside-down by Carl Francois van der Linde
Chotu Lal Upside-down by Carl Francois van der LindeCredit: Carl Francois van der Linde

Chotu Lal Upside-down, from the series Our Leader, depicts Chotu Lal a.k.a the Dragon, a proessional wrestler from Punjab hanging upside down by his feet from a tree, sandwiched between two much larger wrestlers. 

The photograph was captured in Jalandhar during Van Der Linde's exploration of the world of Continental Wrestling Entertainment (CWE). 

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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.

'me nana fie' by Serena Brown (Taylor Wessing Photography Commission)

me nana fie by Serena Brown
me nana fie by Serena BrownCredit: Serena Brown

Brown's shortlisted photograph, me nana fie, pictures the photographer's yopunger 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. 

This visit was the first the photographer had made to Ghana since she was two years old. She travelled with her younger sister, Chloe, who had never visited the country before. The portrait captures a sense of homecoming and belonging. 

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The judges enjoyed the natural and spontaneous feel of this portrait. The sitters are posed, but the portrait captures their evocative expressions and emanates a sense of warmth and affection. 

'Three Lions' by Ben Brooks (Shortlist)

Three Lions by Ben Brooks
Three Lions by Ben BrooksCredit: Ben Brooks

'Relationships' by Benjamin Madgwick (Shortlist)

Relationships by Benjamin Madgwick
Relationships by Benjamin MadgwickCredit: Benjamin Madgwick

'watching the game' by Enda Bowe (Shortlist)

watching the game by Enda Bowe
watching the game by Enda BoweCredit: Enda Bowe

'Mrs. Aldred in blue, with directions to the bluebell flower fields on a spring day' by Lucas Troadec (Shortlist)

Mrs. Aldred in blue, with directions to the bluebell flower fields on a spring day by Lucas Troadec
Mrs. Aldred in blue, with directions to the bluebell flower fields on a spring day by Lucas TroadecCredit: Lucas Troadec

'Group portrait' by Ruth Samuels (Shortlist)

Group Portrait by Ruth Samuels
Group Portrait by Ruth SamuelsCredit: Ruth Samuels

'Mum's Engagement Dress' by Cara Heath

Mum's Engagement Dress by Cara Price
Mum's Engagement Dress by Cara PriceCredit: Cara Heath Photography

The award-winning photographs go on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London, (9 November 2023 - 25 February 2024).

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