The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2020 is the leading international competition, open to all, which celebrates and promotes the very best in contemporary portrait photography from around the world.
Showcasing talented young photographers, gifted amateurs and established professionals, the competition, showcases a diverse range of images and tells the often fascinating stories behind the creation of the works, from formal commissioned portraits to more spontaneous and intimate moments capturing friends and family.
This year the exhibition will be displayed online, in a virtual gallery that replicates the rooms of the National Portrait Gallery. This digital exhibition will allow the Gallery to reach a wide international audience and ensure that the competition is able to continue as planned during the current Coronavirus pandemic. Online visitors will be able to view the portraits collectively, as well as exploring each individual work in more detail.
Born in 1975 in Brighton, Alys Tomlinson lives and works in London. She studied photography at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design. Alys was selected for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition in 2017 and won the Sony World Photographer of the Year Award in 2018. Her book Ex-Voto, the culmination of a five-year photographic journey to Catholic pilgrimage sites in Ireland, Poland, and France, was published in 2019.
Alys’ shortlisted series Lost Summer was born out of her frustration at not being able to travel for work. She decided to photograph local teenagers whose proms were canceled, dressed up in what they would have worn, but captured in their gardens, backyards or local parks. Reflecting on the works Alys says: “I feel that there is a vulnerability and sadness to the portraits, but also a resilience. The school year ended abruptly, with no opportunity to say goodbye to friends and nothing to mark the occasion of leaving school. I wanted to photograph each teenager framed by nature, merging their inner and outer worlds. There is a quietness to the images and they represent a loss and longing, but also celebrate each teenager as an individual, navigating this extraordinary time.”