I do find it dreary when people moan on and on about the kind of work that is selected by prize juries, I really do, and I know the worthies involved feel the need to surf the zeitgeist, keep the prize relevant, all that. But I’m sorry, I think this is going to be a rant.
Flicking through the shortlist for this year’s Taylor Wessing Prize makes my heart sink. When are we going to break away from this lazy, Düsseldorfian approach to portraiture? I’m not saying there aren’t some great portraits there, Jill Wooster’s piece is stunning for example, but the jury insist on packing the list with pictures that could have been taken by one photographer.
Have we really reduced photographic portraiture to the level of mundane formula? Where is the sensitive use of light? Why are the subjects stripped of all context? And – God forbid – movement? Why do they all make me feel just so bloody glum?
There are some photographers doing great portrait work out there. Laura Hynd, for instance, or Leonie Hampton – I’m sure many of the shortlisted photographers have work that is more interesting than what was chosen.
Sadly, though, the jury serves up the usual.