This year the 25th anniversary BP Portrait Awards Show was held at the National Portrait Gallery in London. The judges filtered through over 2,000 pictures from all over the world selecting the ones that came complete with a compelling narrative.
Photographs of those attending the show are just as compelling…
Taking first place was Thomas Ganter for “Man with a Plain Blanket”. Ganter is shown below with his award.
Ganter says, “‘After being in a museum, I saw a homeless man and was stunned by a similarity: the clothes, the pose, and other details resembled what I just saw in various paintings. However, this time I was looking at a homeless person wrapped in a blanket. By portraying a homeless man in a manner reserved for nobles or saints, I tried to emphasize that everyone deserves respect and care. Human dignity shouldn’t be relative or dependent on socio-economic status.”
Second prize went to Richard Twose for his portrait of Jean Woods. He was impressed not only by her striking looks and style, but also by the depth of character in her face. Twose wanted to capture that sense of someone who has learnt to be almost fearless, looking forward to life still but with a great richness of experience behind her.
I like this casual portrait called “Eddy in the Morning” by Geoffrey Beasley. The portrait is of the artist’s son who was living with his parents at the time of creation:
Another family portrait is “My Boy Adam” by Melissa Scott Miller:
It was painted in the Christmas holidays allowing for a series of sittings. Mother and son enjoyed the opportunity to chat without interruptions and Scott-Miller included many items of importance from Adam’s life, and a self-portrait in the mirror.
Just as interesting are those by a self-taught Chinese art who calls herself Lantian D. These portraits of passengers on the London Underground began as sketches made to pass the time. The artist says: ‘The more I watched and observed, the more I became interested in their subtle dramas and relationships. In her series called “Passerby” she beautifully captures the sometimes glazed, sometimes meditative, melancholy and exhausted faces that we all know from public transportation.
And just one more favorite:
The portrait is of the artist Engels Souffrant, who became a friend of Graham when the two rented adjacent studios in Brooklyn, New York.