LONDON – The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2011 has been won by Jooney Woodward, 32, for her portrait titled Harriet and Gentleman Jack. The portrait of 13-year-old Harriet Power was taken in the guinea pig judging area at the Royal Welsh Show. Woodward said: “I found her image immediately striking with her long, red hair and white stewarding coat. She is holding her own guinea pig called Gentleman Jack, named after the Jack Daniel’s whisky box in which he was given to her. Using natural light from a skylight above, I took just three frames and this image was the first.”
The £12,000 ($19,180) award was presented to Woodward at the National Portrait Gallery, London, on Tuesday evening, Nov. 8.
Woodward said she found her sitter while scouting for potential subject matter amongst the sheepdog trials, livestock competitions and regimental bands at the agricultural show in Builth Wells, Powys.
The portrait was shot on film with a Mamiya RZ medium format camera. Woodward said, “I prefer the quality and depth you get from using film; unfortunately, it’s a dying art. I don’t mess around with Photoshop, so what you see is what you get. Enhanced images can portray a false sense of reality, whereas my work celebrates the people and places as they appear every day.”
Born in London in 1979, Woodward grew up in Dorset and returned to the capital to study Graphic Design at Camberwell College of Arts, specializing in photography in her final year. Her degree “show portraits” of her parents were highly commended in The Observer Hodge Photographic Award in 2001. After graduation Woodward worked in the Vogue magazine photographic archive of Condé Nast Publications before pursuing a career as a freelance photographer from 2009. Her series “Unhidden: Documentary Photographs of Contemporary Wales” was exhibited at MOMA Wales, Machynlleth, in 2010.
Woodward remarked, “My landscapes are generally devoid of people, but are full of signs of life. I try to capture the little things and it’s the same with my portraiture. The more you look at the portrait of Harriet, the more you notice the small details: her nail polish and mascara, the scratch on her hand.”
Visit the National Portrait Gallery online at www.npg.org.uk.
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