RE: Taylor Wessing Photographic Prize at the National Portrait Gallery
Painting: Young Girl in among Flowers by Edmond-Marie Petitjean, 1890
Photography: Isabel with Camellia on Easter Sunday by Colin Pantall, 2008
A couple of weeks ago, I enjoyed the opportunity to go to another interesting photography exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, with a free tour led by captivating artist Marc Woodhead. The gallery is currently showcasing the final selection of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize: 60 fascinating yet extremely different photographs.
I found most pictures very modern, despite their differences: reportage, editorial, family, strangers, glamour, teenagers, professional or amateurs.
I picked two pictures from the exhibition, because I think they have a lot of similarities. Both photos from autodidacts Colin Pantall and Hendrik Kerstens are from their own daughters, and after browsing their websites, I realised both photographers’ work was ONLY about their daughters: photos of them as they grow up, working on a specific topic, treated in a very poetic way.
If Colin Pantall tries to express his daughter Isabel’s experience of childhood and life, Hendrik Kerstens is interpreting paintings of Flemish masters in his own way – sometimes very unexpected and original, such as with plastic bag or toilet paper as a hat on his daughter Paula’s head.
The other aspect that stroke me is the fine art effect of their photographs: they recall paintings, which I associated immediately with them. Putting them together with a painting, I find them even more fascinating, and I definitely understand why they were selected for the prize (Hendrik actually even won the Second Prize of the competition).
The exhibition is running until 15 February 2009, at the National Portrait Gallery, London, and the admission is free, enjoy! More information here.