The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize is the leading international photographic portrait competition, celebrating and promoting the very best in contemporary portrait photography (their words, not mine!) This year I decided to enter. I had taken photos of my son when he had chickenpox, when I started to edit them I knew they had something special about them. He was itching and really uncomfortable and I think this was possibly his second or third bath of the day. Jacob is really use to me taking photos of him, he is also very natural in front of the camera, and this photo reflects that. It’s a very honest portrait of Jacob and how he was feeling in that moment.
Initially I assumed I hadn’t been successful with my entry, then I checked my spam and found a week old email informing me my image had got through the digital round and I was asked to get a print down to London for the judges to review. This news had me jumping around my garden, 4,462 images were entered into the competition and only 341 images made it to the print judging, mine was one of them.
Then self-doubt and panic snuck in, I needed to get my images printed and taken to London within four days. Luckily I used to work for an Art Publishing company, and one of my colleagues, Dave, set up a print company called Dot to Dot printing. I wanted to give the image the best chance to stand out and I trusted Dave and his team to do the best job. Which they did! Once I saw my image printedbig, I have to confess a little bit of confidence came back in. The print quality of the image was amazing.
It was a couple of weeks later while on holiday with my family, in a wet carpark at the base of Ullswater that I got the news that I had made it into the exhibition. Dancing around the Lake District with my family is one of those moments I will never forget. I am so proud to have my work exhibited in such a prestigious competition, not only that but it was a portrait of my little boy. My son’s face will be hanging in the National portrait gallery!
The Taylor Wessing Photographic portrait prize will be at the National Portrait Gallery from the 18thof October – 29thof Jan 2019.