Katlehong Matsenen from the series “Similar Uniforms: We Refuse to Compare” (Claudio Rasano)

The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize showcases portraiture across different photographic processes, styles and genres, and celebrates a range of experience from professional to amateur. Photographs included in this year’s exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, London, were chosen from 4,303 submissions entered by 1,842 photographers from 61 countries. They could stand alone or be a part of a series.

The motivations for the photographs vary widely, from explorations of societal questions to inquiry into personal history.


Shim Beitar Illit from the series “Bei Mir Bistu Shein” (Kovi Konowiecki)

The winning portrait, by Swiss-Italian photographer Claudio Rasano, is of Katlehong Matsenen, a schoolboy in Johannesburg, South Africa. The image is part of the series “Simliar Uniforms: We Refuse to Compare,” which focuses on the relationship of individuality to school uniforms. Rasano explained to the National Portrait Gallery: “Children themselves have been known to rebel against uniforms, especially as they approach the awkward age characterized by the need to fit in and the desire to stand out, all at the same time. Some experts too have spoken against school uniforms on the grounds that they suppress individuality and diversity.”

Third prize winner, Kovi Konowiecki, of Long Beach, Calif., uses portraits to tell people’s stories that also unearth details of his own identity. His photographs, “Shimi Beitar Illit” and “Tilly and Itty Beitar Illit” are part of a series of inkjet prints that portray Orthodox Jews from around the world, giving insight into his lineage. The judges of the exhibition commented to the National Portrait Gallery on  “Konowiecki’s striking and ornate portraits, which provide a glimpse into an otherwise inaccessible community.”


Seye, Miah, Elijah and Alexander. Regent’s Park 2016 (Sarah Lee)

Sleeping worker (Etienne Malapert)

Nurse Midwife Sada in the labour ward. Chake Chake hospital, Pemba Island, Zanzibar, Tanzania. (Anna Kåri)

Left, Untitled #1 (Ebony Finck) and Susannah Mushatt Jones (1899 – 2016) at age 116 and 14 days, Brooklyn, 2015 (Karsten Thormaehlen)

“Zazie” (Cécile Birt)

Epona, Nursing in the Meat Shed from the series “The Gleaners” (Matt Hamon)

Akshay and Anay (left) and Bipin and Abin from the series “Good Things Come Together” (Jordi Pizarro)

Ironman Boy (Scott Thomas)

The “Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2016” exhibition is on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London from Nov. 17, 2016, to Feb. 26, 2017.