The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2011
Yesterday i went to The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2011 at the National Portrait Gallery in London. The title says it all: a law firm is sponsoring a competition of contemporary portrait photography and 60 of the best entries are exhibited in London.
There are cute kids and celebs (sadly, there were no mature men in speedo this year) but because i'm drawn to documentary photos, that's what my quick selection will be about:
Anastasia Taylor-Lind's looked inside the first Cossack school to accept female cadets as full time boarders. Cossack people from Crimea and Caucasus, Southern Russia are relearning their warrior traditions and cultural heritage, which were suppressed so virulently by Soviet leaders that the policy got its own name: the Decossackization.
Nowadays, children sent to Cossack military style schools divide their time between regular academic lessons and learning traditional Cossack skills, such as horse riding, martial arts, folk dancing and Shashka performance, as well as the more contemporary soldiering necessities of shooting and parachuting.
"Anna and Roberto got married in October 2004 aged 78. They go on holiday, they pray a lot, love makes them feel younger and they still enjoy having sex."
For nearly twenty years the women of Benin City, in Nigeria, have been going to Italy to escape poverty. Most are found along the roads working as prostitutes. They live in sub-human conditions and send the little money they can save to their families in Africa.
The success of many Italos, as these women are called, is evident in Edo. For many girls prostitution in Italy has become an entirely acceptable trade and the legend of their success makes the fight against sex traffickers all the more difficult.
One concern is that the anti-trafficking crusade is causing effects opposite to its objectives. What presents itself as a campaign to protect migrants from harm is actually making their efforts to flee home, to find work, to make the most of their lives in often difficult and unforgiving circumstances, much harder.
Men who die on the battlefield in Southern Afghanistan are tended to by a small group of dedicated soldiers. Their responsibilities include the retrieval, identification, preparation, preservation and transportation of the dead back to the United States.
Rebecca Martinez's preTenders explores the world of the makers and adopters of dolls that look, smell, weight and feel like real infants.
The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2011 is on view through 12 February 2012 at the National Portrait Gallery in London.