Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize

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Bring me home, please

I'm finding it a bit tricky to blog this month as i'm jumping from one event to another. Just back from the Design Biennale in Saint-Etienne, hopping into the arms of the STRP festival in Eindhoven, looking forward to the Gamerz festival in Aix-en-Provence and finding that that list of posts to write asap is getting dauntingly long. Anyway, now that i've somehow justified my faineancy i can get back in time, to a couple of weeks ago when i was in London visiting yet another photo exhibition.

This one is the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2010 which showcases the work of young photographers, gifted amateurs, alongside that of established professionals. This year's selection is as heavy as ever with its documentation of prostitution, childhood obesity, prison and hunting.

Two images caught my attention.

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Tom Martin, , Child Prisoners, Ruyigi District Prison, Burundi from the series Prisoner, Burundi

Tom Martin comments his work as follows: The image chosen is of children in prison in Burundi, the first time I visited Ruyigi prison was to document the conditions for the EU, as they are building a separate block for women and children.

The women are regularly raped and subsequently infected with HIV, this also leads to numerous unwanted births. As with most African prisons food is left to family members outside the prison, as there is a critical food shortage in this part of Burundi very little is reaching the prisoners.

I befriended the director of the prison and was able to return, he knew the conditions were appalling and wanted the world to see, he was later dismissed for allowing me access.

The other photo i liked a lot is Jeffrey Stockbridge's portray of twin sisters Carroll and Shelly McKean. They live on the street and suffer from insomnia. They both have an addiction to a particular prescription drug and sell their bodies to supply their habit.

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Jeffrey Stockbridge, Tic Tac and Tootsie (twin sisters Carroll and Shelly Mckean) from the series Nowhere but Here

And that's it for today i'm afraid!

See also last year's report on Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize. It featured some rather fetching lads:

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The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2010 is on view at the National Portrait Gallery in London until 20 February, 2011.

Photo galleries at BBC and the arts desk.

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