LONDON – Claudio Rasano has won the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2016 for his portrait of a Johannesburg schoolboy. The prestigious £15,000 award was presented to the Swiss-Italian photographer at an awards ceremony at the National Portrait Gallery on Nov. 15.
The winning portrait, part of Rasano’s series Similar Uniforms: We Refuse to Compare, was taken in February 2016, in Johannesburg, South Africa and focuses on issues of preserving individuality in the context of school uniforms. The photograph was shot in daylight, outdoors and in front of a plain white paper background. The sitter for this particular inkjet print is 18-year-old Katlehong Matsenen.
“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,” said Rasano.
Claudio Rasano was born in 1970 in Basel, Switzerland. His work has been included in numerous international exhibitions and previously featured in the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize in 2011 and 2013. Rasano’s awards include the short list for the Athens Photo Festival, 2016; Bieler Fototage 2015; Leica Oskar Branack Prize 2015 and a finalist in the Photography Masters Cup 2015.
Second prize has been awarded to Joni Sternbach’s large-format tintype portrait of surfers Thea Adler and Maxwell Schultz (below).New York native Sternbach is a Visiting Artist at Cooper Union School of Art, faculty member at the International Center of Photography and the Penumbra Foundation in New York, where she teaches wet plate collodion. She uses early photographic processes to create contemporary landscapes and environmental portraits, centering on man’s relationship to water. Her series Surfland, features large-format tintype portraits of surfers. Her prize-winning portrait was taken in February 2016 at Davenport Landing, Santa Cruz, California.
The winning portraits will be on display at the National Portrait Gallery as part of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2016 exhibition through February 26. The annual exhibition showcases new work that has been submitted by some of the most exciting contemporary photographers.
The prize-winning photographs and those selected for inclusion in the exhibition were chosen from 4,303 submissions entered by 1842 photographers from 61 countries.