Plus-size model, school leavers and lockdown portraits shortlisted for prize

This year, three women photographers are in with a chance of winning the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize.

Entries for this year’s prestigious photography award – which is organised by the National Portrait Gallery – explore themes of self-love, isolation and disappointments in 2020.

A portrait of semi-naked plus-size model Enam Ewura Adjoa Asiama made the shortlist. It was taken by photographer Yolanda Y Liou, who wanted to capture the essence of ‘being comfortable in your own body.’

This is something close to the 30-year-old Taiwan-born photographer’s heart.

Yolanda, who currently lives in London, said: ‘The expectation of being skinny as standard is relentless in Asian culture.

‘I’ve experienced the stress of this since a very young age. I was taken by Enam’s confidence and charisma.

‘A key component of the photo was to demonstrate self-love and being comfortable with who you are in your own body.’

Black and white portraits of school leavers dressed for their cancelled 2020 prom, taken by Alys Tomlinson, have also been shortlisted.

The students were captured in their prom outfits in gardens, backyards and local parks.

Alys said: ‘There is a vulnerability and sadness to the portraits, but also a resilience.

‘The school year ended abruptly, with no opportunity to say goodbye to friends and nothing to mark the occasion of leaving school.

‘I wanted to photograph each teenager framed by nature, merging their inner and outer worlds.

‘There is a quietness to the images and they represent a loss and longing, but also celebrate each teenager as an individual, navigating this extraordinary time.’

The third photo to make the cut was taken by Lydia Goldblatt, who captured her three-year-old daughter in the garden during lockdown.

Lydia said: ‘In such close, sometimes blissful, sometimes painful proximity to my children, I am aware of all that remains unknown. We are fused and separate, elusive.’

The shortlisted entries were chosen from 5,531 submissions, entered by 2,169 photographers from 75 countries.

A winner will be announced on 24 November and is set to receive £15,000.

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