Taylor Wessing Prize - 2018

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Paul
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#2
As always seeing images reduced just for the web it is difficult to come to any firm opinion. (Oops, I used the o word - apparently that isn't allowed in these discussions ;) ...)

One thought does spring to mind though is that without the brief bio and commentary it would be much harder if not impossible to make sense of some of them.

Of the 4 images on the npg site (they differ on all of them) only the one by Max Barstow engages with me. I'm guessing that most of them are part of a series so as such they may make more sense, but as stand alone images, even with the narrative, they other three leave me cold.
 
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sirch

sirch

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#3
I agree , the Max Barstow "Londoners" is a strong image. The incongruity of the majorette series, at least what I've seem of it, I find quite captivating, there is something a bit strange about the whole majorette thing for me anyway and seeing such an extreme cultural off shoot transplanted to South Africa really gives me pause.
 
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#4
Apologies for the snip ...
... there is something a bit strange about the whole majorette thing for me anyway and seeing such an extreme cultural off shoot transplanted to South Africa really gives me pause. ...
The company I work for has several offices in SA (CPT & JHB). In one branch of the company we employ a lot of warehouse operatives. These come from differing tribes, and although it may seem odd, tribal factions or old grudges if you like still persist. Given that, I find it less strange than you do, belonging to something is extremely important to them (that really does read as patronising, it really isn't meant to be, I just don't know how better to phrase it) - I guess it is to us as well. From what I have experienced it applies to all South Africans irrespective of colour. There is no doubt it is a country of contradictions and surprises. I'd go back there in a heartbeat (well to Cape Town anyway).

As for the image of the little drummie girl (to use their phrase) judged in isolation it really doesn't say very much to me. There is no context and it could have been shot anywhere, other than a slightly enigmatic expression there is little that marks it out as a strong image. If it weren't for the commentary I would have just passed it by. It really looks no more than a grab shot or a snap shot (which it may well have been).

The Lady with her daughter and the little boy from Africa images are better composed and as such are stronger for it. In both there is engagement (the mother with daughter, the boy with the viewer) - I don't feel that engagement from the drummie girl, it seems more like bemusement.

As I said though, the two ladies shopping is a very strong image.

So, having said all that I suspect the drummie girl portrait to be the winner ;)
 
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#5
For me it is the majorette - not sure why, but I think it is more that the others don't grab me particularly. The African boy looks too National Geographic, and the two shoppers look too much like a fashion portrait. The Cherry Blossom Project comes a close second for me, though I suspect all of them would be much stronger as part of their respective series.
 
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#6
The shoppers looking like a fashion portrait is intentional. From the Guardian story:

'Barstow said his aim had been to “make unposed portraits with the intensity of images made by great studio photographers such as Richard Avedon and Irving Penn”. The photograph was taken in the middle of a crowd, he said, freezing a pair of friends shopping in the busy flow of a summer Sunday afternoon.'
 
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#7
The shoppers looking like a fashion portrait is intentional. From the Guardian story:

'Barstow said his aim had been to “make unposed portraits with the intensity of images made by great studio photographers such as Richard Avedon and Irving Penn”. The photograph was taken in the middle of a crowd, he said, freezing a pair of friends shopping in the busy flow of a summer Sunday afternoon.'
Fair enough, then he succeeded :)
 
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sirch

sirch

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#8
I think the thing with the majorettes is the strange juxtaposition of an somewhat niche american cultural style done not very well in a country that has a wealth of its own vibrant culture. It's a real comment on so many things for me.
 
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#10
The majorettes for me is the strongest. it brings to mind my childhood, when my parents ran a juvenile jazz band, a marching band with drums and kazoos, similar costumes to those worn in the photos, Another example of a niche American cultural style, transplanted and reinterpreted for a different culture. It also makes me wonder why none of them are really smiling in the photos, their apparent unhappiness seems in contrast to the bright colours of their uniforms. The other 3 don't really move me in any way.
 
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#12
I like this exhibition. I find you really have to see the images displayed to fully understand them, but some strong contenders here
 
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#13
I had a flick through Max Barstow's website.
http://www.maxbarstow.com/

His Londoners I (colour) I found ok, but nothing I hadn't seen before. Londoners II (B&W), from which the shoppers photo is taken from, however is quite good. Where he's isolated his street shots against a white background to make it almost like a studio portrait I found really interesting.
Had a look at Barstow's site a couple of days ago and keep dreaming about one in "City", I want to capture one like that. :cool:

http://www.maxbarstow.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/81.jpg
 
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#15
I’d like to see the exhibition tour, it’s not always easy for some of us to get to that London, we rarely do more than one trip a year, and it’s never coincided with this.
 
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