Tilly and Itty, Beitar Illit,from the series Bei Mir Bistu Shein, by Kovi Konowiecki © Kovi KonowieckiKovi Konowiecki
Tilly and Itty, Beitar Illit,from the series Bei Mir Bistu Shein, by Kovi Konowiecki © Kovi Konowiecki
Kovi Konowiecki
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Shortlist for National Portrait Gallery's Portrait Prize Announced

Sep 12, 2016

Three photographers have been shortlisted for the prestigious Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2016 organized by the National Portrait Gallery inLondon.

Kovi Konowiecki's portraits of Israeli Orthodox Jews, Claudio Rasano's photographs of a Johannesburg school boy and Joni Sternbach's portraits of a Californian surfer and his girlfriend were chosen from 4,303 submissions entered by 1842 photographers from 61 different countries.

The major international photography award, established in 1993, features work by some of the most cutting edge contemporary photographers and is an important platform for celebrated professionals and emerging artists, as well as amateurs.

American artist Konowiecki's work lies between documentary and fine art, often focusing on portraiture and telling stories that reveal his identity, including his experiences growing up in Long Beach. Swiss-Italian photographer Rasano’s portrait, which is part of the series Similar Uniforms We Refuse to Compare, was taken in February 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa and focuses on issues of preserving individuality in the context of school uniforms. The work of Sternbach, a Bronx native, is part of a long-term project that involves the pursuit and understanding of the Western landscape. She uses early photographic processes to create contemporary landscapes and environmental portraits.

This year's prize and exhibition will also feature previously unseen prints from a new body of work by the award-winning Spanish photographer, Cristina de Middel. The prints will form the second In Focus display, an annual showcase for new work by an internationally renowned photographer.

The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2016 will be on display at the National Portrait Gallery from November 17 to February 26.

Alexandra Genova is a writer and contributor for TIME LightBox. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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