Smile and you 'll get a slap..

So last night was the 'Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize' (Swepps, Portrait Award, John Kobal etc.) held at the olde worlde National Portrait Gallery. Now a portrait extravaganza like this would not normally appear here on the Mode That Was B, but my interest in the event was a little different this year as my mediator/map reader/bench press spotter/dog walking companion/food taster/cinema buddy/someone to rant at/you cant buy that we need to feed the boys and pay the bills/wife was in the show this year so I naturally got a little interested.

The problem with such an event like this is that when you have only one images to represent a photographer is says very little. The image (especially a portrait) is often taken from a series (as we are often told here), but on its own next to lots of other images on their own creates nothing but a messy jumble a bit like a jigsaw with no matching parts. Basically its a mess. If the photographers where able to show a series of images this would be a whole different matter as it would boil down to talent rather than luck of the draw, which lets face it from seven thousand entries this has to be the case up to a point.
As for the winner, I can see why it won and well done Paul Floyd Blake. Its the typical safe picture with a nice story behind it from someone who no one knows which is usually the case. Nothing wrong with that, but I think these competitions with the big prizes should be aimed at people who have really achieved something in photography and not just picked up a camera and produced a few nice shots (my opinion so dont get shirty)..
My wife's picture Lambs (not the one shown above) stands out a mile, why, because it was a comission. It was shot with a decent size budget and is what she does. She is a professional photographer making her living this way. This kind of image doesn't win prizes (and not because its not a great image), it goes back to what I was trying to say in my last post about how commercial photographers have a hard time being taken seriously in the art market. People always want the story of the struggling artist winning the prize, not the successful one.
Anyway I am starting to rant so I will draw to a close and end by saying this;
Like everything else in the world this competition (whatever its called) is all about the money. People enter it for the prize. they do not enter it to show case their work, you cant do that with one image, neither do they enter so they can show along side other photographers (who wants to do that). They enter it for the 12 k prize so they can buy a new Hassalblad.
Well thats what I would do..

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