24.2.11

National Portrait Gallery investigated judge-winner relationship

One of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize's judges has been forced to respond to accusations that he favoured his partner to win the contest Fourth Prize - allegations that have now been strongly discredited by the National Portrait Gallery

Author: Olivier Laurent

Photographer Abbie Trayler-Smith received Fourth prize at last year's Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, which, it has emerged, was judged by six judges including her partner Harry Borden.

In a statement issued to BJP, the National Portrait Gallery said that it "discovered after the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2010 awards ceremony that there was a close personal relationship between one of the judges and the fourth prize winner."

"As soon as this was confirmed the Gallery responded immediately and decided to investigate," says the Gallery. "The investigation was carried out by an independent member of the Gallery's Audit and Compliance Committee. Following investigation the report concludes that although all the photographs had been judged anonymously, there was an apparent conflict of interest. However, the photograph by the fourth prize winner had been voted on separately by three judges, and all six judges had together agreed on the final awards."

Speaking with BJP, Borden explains that the judging process was very rigorous, and that at no time did he favour Trayler-Smith's picture. "It takes more than one judge to award a prize. I think that the different articles that have reported on this ignore the fact that we were six judges."

Borden has received the support from the National Portrait Gallery, which said that Borden "did not at any stage speak in favour of this image."

However, the Gallery has decided to alter its guidelines for this year's edition, as well as for its BP Portrait Award 2011, asking all judges to declare any conflict of interest when they arise.

I have come to a personal conclusion that most competitions are far from fair. Over the years I have seen what goes on behind several so called legitimate competitions. With favours for a favour, you scratch my back and perhaps I will rub your feet. Or simply wanting to have a certain popular artist within their establishment. But of course its not just photography, the entire planet is corrupt, you only have to look at the inauguration of ex president GW Bush to work that out.

I find this whole thing pretty ridiculous, but hardly think its a big deal. I have known Hazza Borden for a long time and consider him a very decent chap. Whether or not he did fiddle his vote, it was fourth place, not first, and I would of done the same and so would you. Its the whole floored process of the judging that I despise and this event just makes a mockery of the system. You only have to look at this years Bradford Bursary to see how corrupt these things can become with most of the winners being repped by the judges.



1 comment:

Mark Page said...

I wish someone would rub my feet.