Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize Entry…

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize Entry…

Well as the title suggests here is my entry for the National Portrait Gallery – Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait 2012 competition. I have had a long running love/hate relationship with this competition, primarily down to being a sore loser; which I am honest about. I have had quite a jaded view over the years with some of the shortlisted entries; some in my opinion barely classifying as ‘Portraits’ and some you question the judge’s decision as previous years quite a few notable names were picked. Could this be that the judges felt compelled to select these notable artists due to possible fallout, or did their work generally speak for itself. Well let’s not go down the path of discussing the period of the ‘Angst Teenagers’… Moody oiks afoot.

I thought this years entry I would produce a self-portrait. Fun and games were had with the self-timer, a cold studio and a brick to mark my place…

Anyway I have lost just over 9 stone since 2007 and the change to my body has been quite dramatic. A large amount of psychological change has also occurred where I am even more so concerned with body image than I was before. I still see myself as being fat and quite unattractive and through all my hard work still feel quite dissatisfied with the end results. Part of this is the large amount of skin that was stretched beyond recovery and has thus become very loose and unsightly. As most close to me can testify it is not as though I am not trying; with a weekly exercise regime that comprises of over 3000 sit-ups and various other toning techniques it would appear my ideal body shape is unachievable.

With the image below I wanted to show both the positive and negative of my body transformation in one shot. I aimed to make the image appear quite uncomfortable to the viewer.

Watch this space…

7 comments on “Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize Entry…
  1. Anonymous says:

    that's a great piece Russell! Wonderful composition and powerful contemporary content. Good luck with the portrait competition but regardless you have produced a captivating and thought provoking image that will survive and function well beyond it. Well done. bw p

  2. hazel says:

    Good luck. I really like this portrait. It has a real narative and something i think most people can relate to. Most of us have a struggle with our bodies and body image and this portrait has a lot to say. This is very powerful.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Great portrait but wont win the TW because you're not a skinny teenager and you don't look miserable, nor are you a titian-haired young girl doing something vaguely grown-up that involves animals.

  4. Thank you, I agree it will not even stand a chance. I know I should not have a defeatist attitude but hey the competition prediction is almost as guaranteed as the rising of the sun. Still it gave me an aim and focus to produce the image, so in a way I still win.

  5. Ona Mission says:

    This is a really cool picture.
    I'm at the beginning of my weight-loss journey and have read a few articles like yours, which say although you are where you want to be weight wise, you don't quite feel it.

    Even though you are quite attractive.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Thank you. Your picture shows what all the before and after pictures after successful 'major weight loss' usually hide. A tummy tuck though can solve this issue (exercises unfortunately do not tighten loose skin ..). Anyway you really look great after all the weight you have lost! Best wishes!

  7. Great Photograph, great work, sod the TW you win in the end.

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