Here’s something. The average age of the photographers shortlisted for the T W Portrait Prize is 29. Not a single photographer is over 35.

It’s hard to judge the pics from the website, they are presented very small, but if you are hoping for something fresh, think again.

Nothing wrong with that. This is not the ‘re-invent the wheel’ photography prize.

This photo, The Ventriloquist, by A. Haser is my favorite by a country mile. Its the title that makes it for me. And by the same token I feel the picture is let down by the mundane discription of how and why it was taken.

Why did they do that?

I’m not interested in the truth. I’m interested in possibility.

The Ventriloquist

Born into an artistic family in the Black Forest, Germany in 1989, Alma Haser moved to the UK in 1995 and gained a BA in Photography from Nottingham Trent University. Her shortlisted portrait, taken in her shared house in South London, is of friends Luke and James who have known each other since they were 12. Struck by their hairstyles, Haser initially planned to take separate portraits but it was difficult to get them to concentrate so she decided to photograph them together.

She says, ‘I asked them to sit on a tiny, wobbly coffee table, forcing them to almost cling onto each other. Ultimately I wanted to turn their verbal banter into a visual image. The title is designed to help viewers make up their own stories about what is going on.’

Chosen by the British Journal of Photography as one of the four best graduates of 2010, her work has featured in 10 exhibitions internationally and she received third place in the People’s Choice at Foto8 Summer Show 2012.

  • This prize has such a formula. There is no need to enter, unless you really study all the shortlisted images from the previous years and take note of the ‘look’. I am a bit surprised that the image of ‘Lynne’ is an almost smile. Smiling is def not part of the ‘look’. Now perhaps we can add under 35 to the list of prerequisites…

  • As the images are judged without reference to the names or ages of the photographers involved I would say that being under 35 is a coincidence more than any formula.
    However, I completely agree that the explanation of how “The Ventriloquist” was posed detracts from the slightly awkward and otherworldly look of the picture.

    • How Justin,

      Definitely don’t think photogs were picked because they were young. That said its absolutely certain that some of the judges will have already seen some of the pictures that they’ve shortlisted before being given them as part of the judging process. You would expect that though wouldn’t you?

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