• Dexter McLean

Taylor Wessing Competition

27th October 2018


I am a big fan of the Taylor Wessing Exhibition, I try to go to see it every year when I can. The exhibition is the product of a competition for portrait photographers from all over the world. They choose the best images and display them in the National Portrait Gallery. This year, they awarded first prize to a South African born, Photography graduate, who moved to London after her degree. Alice Mann, went back to Cape Town, South Africa and spent 3 months photographing different teams from the Drum Majorette Competition.


This picture in particular is my favourite from the exhibition. The way the Drummie engages the camera is very simple. The shot reminds me of what I love about photography, simple yet striking, brining chills to the spine. I feel the reason why the image works so well is because the colours of the Drummie’s outfit is so bright, which makes her face stand out. The first thing that captured my attention in the photo is the girls face and the contrast of it to the uniform. I believe Mann chose to shoot the Drummie on a plain background, because she didn’t want to take any attention away from the girl. The only thing I would change about this image is the field of view, to make the background more out of focus to isolate the subject more.


It’s photography like this that makes me eager to get back to my photography when I return to education in February next year.


My next favourite image from the Taylor Wessing show, is by Juan Trujillo Andrades, the shot is called ‘Saif’. This image depicts a young boxer. The reason why I chose this image is because this young boy was a victim of the Grenfell Tower catastrophe. I feel that the image captures the trauma and depression that the boy is experiencing; the boy’s eyes look as if they are popping out. Saif, the name of the young boy, looks as if he has suffered a personal loss, maybe that of friends and family. Although Saif looks as if part of his has given up, there is a sense that he’s still fighting back.

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