Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize 2015: Photograph of Iraqi refugee family who fled Isis shortlisted

The image is one of four photographs shortlisted from almost 5,000 submissions

Daisy Wyatt
Wednesday 16 September 2015 08:56 BST
Ivor Prickett, Amira and her Children, September 2014
Ivor Prickett, Amira and her Children, September 2014 (Ivor Prickett/UNHCR/Panos Pictures)

A photograph of an Iraqi refugee family forced to flee Isis is one of four images shortlisted for this year’s Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize.

The picture, entitled "Amira and her Children", shows the mother with her arms around her son and daughter as they stroke each other affectionately in a tent at the Baharka camp near Erbil in north Iraq.

The image will compete for the top photographic prize alongside a Renaissance-inspired picture of a baby, a group shot of five girls in their twenties and a close-up portrait of a stranger walking along Oxford Street.

The photographs were chosen from almost 5,000 submissions entered by 2,200 photographers from 70 countries.

"Five Girls 2014" - David Stewart

Five Girls 2014 by David Stewart

"Five Girls 2014" shows photographer David Stewart's daughter and school friends, mirroring a photograph he took of them seven years ago when they were about to start their GCSEs.

He says: "I have always had a fascination with the way people interact - or, in this case, fail to interact, which inspired the photograph of this group of girls. While the girls are physically very close and their style and clothing highlight their membership of the same peer group, there is an element of distance between them."

"Nyaueth" - Peter Zelewski

Nyaueth by Peter Zelewski, February 2015

Born in Detroit, Peter Zelewski is a London-based portrait and documentary maker. "Nyaueth" was taken near Oxford Street as part of his Beautiful Strangers series.

He says: "The aim of Beautiful Strangers is to challenge the concept of traditional beauty with a series of spontaneous and powerful street portraits of everyday citizens who show character, uniqueness and a special inner quality, which I try to interpret in my photographs."

"Hector" - Anoush Abrar

Hector by Anoush Abrar, June 2014

Anoush Abrar was born in Iran and has lived in Switzerland since the age of five. His work has been exhibited in museums and galleries around the world.

The idea behind "Hector" was inspired by the Abrar's fascination with Caravaggio, particularly "Sleeping Cupid" from 1608. He says: "Somehow I needed to make my own 'Sleeping Cupid'. I found my portrait of Hector so powerful and iconic that it inspired me to continue this project as a series called Cherubs."

"Amira and her Children" - Ivor Prickett

Ivor Prickett, Amira and her Children, September 2014 (Ivor Prickett/UNHCR/Panos Pictures)

Documentary photographer Ivor Prickett took this image in Northern Iraq in September 2014 while working on an assignment for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

He explains: "I met Amira and her family in the tent where they were living in at the Baharka camp near Erbil; they had fled their village near Mosul after Isis had taken control of the area. I spent some time speaking with Amira about what her family had been through. As they became more comfortable with me they really started to express their closeness and become very tactile. It was a beautiful moment to witness in the midst of such a difficult situation."


The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2015 will run from 12 November - 21 February at the National Portrait Gallery.

In addition to the shortlisted images, the exhibition will also feature unseen prints from award-winning South African photographer Pieter Hugo.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in