The Solitude of Pygmalion (c) 2010, Steve Barrett
Untitlled (c) 2010, Bar Am-David
It doesn’t matter who you sleep with (c) 2010, Rokas Darulis
Middlesex University has seen three of its photography students win a place in this years prestigious Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize photography competition at the National Portrait Gallery, London.
Three Middlesex University students in Taylor Wessing Prize Exhibition
Greek mythology, Israeli/Arab relations and homophobia the subjects tackled in the three powerful entries
Middlesex University photography students continue to excel with three winning a place in the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) as part of the prestigious Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize photography exhibition.The Taylor Wessing Prize brings together the best portrait photography each year in a three month exhibition at the central London gallery. This year, more than 2,400 photographers entered almost 6,000 images. Steve Barritt, Bar Am-David and Rokas Darulis were among just 60 whose work was chosen to appear in the gallery.
Last year, Middlesex was represented by two students at the Taylor Wessing Prize, one of whom was Steve, originally from Cubert, near Newquay. This year he submitted an image which was part of his final MA degree project. The project, a series of contemporary retellings of ancient Greek myths, saw Steve having to gain and lose weight, let his hair grow and even not wash for a week, as he made himself the central character in each shot. His chosen image was “The Solitude of Pygmalion” based on the myth of the sculptor who fell in love with his sculpture. It shows Steve sitting naked on a bed in an untidy room, with walls covered in posters and magazine articles on Britney Spears. He said: “I made a lot of effort putting on lots of weight and letting myself go, even resorting to not washing for weeks. One of the later ones was a model and a footballer so I had to lose the weight again, it was tough. “For the Middlesex MA they give you a lot of space, you come up with a project idea and they support you as you bring it together.”
Bar Am-David flew to Jaffa in Israel for his final year project on his BA photography course. The 25 year-old, who graduated from Middlesex’s BA Photography degree in July and is now based in Camden, will have his photo of an Israeli soldier exhibited at the NPG. He said: “I’m originally from Israel and I have a special connection with the country. Jaffa is the only place in the whole of Israel that Israeli people and Arab people live together in peace. “I’m extremely happy and really didn’t expect to get selected from so many photographers.”
Rokas Darulis graduated from the BA in photography last summer. His photo is one of a series from his series challenging violent homophobia in his home country, Lithuania, and across Eastern Europe. The project, “It doesn’t matter who you sleep with”, is a series of portraits of two people of the same sex in bed. Rokas, 22, now living in Hackney, said: “Last year I sent a couple of images but didn’t get though. I just promised myself to apply every year until I made it. I was extremely excited when I found out. “Being at Middlesex helped me a lot, my final project was based on portraiture and this project is a similar style.”
The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize runs at the National Portrait Gallery until 20 February 2011. Admission is £2, free for Gallery Supporters.