Film photography is far from dead. The British photographer who won this yearu2019s Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize has become the latest of recent winners to have struck gold using film, it has emerged.


Picture credit: Spencer Murphy

Spencer Murphy, 35, last night scooped the £12,000 prize with a photograph of jockey Katie Walsh, captured as part of Channel Four’s The Original Extreme Sport campaign.

Murphy said: ‘I chose to shoot the series on large format film, to give the images a depth and timelessness that I think would have been hard to achieve on a digital camera.’

This was a view echoed by London-born photographer Jooney Woodward who, two years ago, hit the Taylor Wessing jackpot with a portrait captured using a Mamiya RZ medium-format camera.

Woodward said at the time: ‘I prefer the quality and depth you get from using film – unfortunately, it’s a dying art. I don’t mess around with Photoshop, so what you see is what you get.’

And in 2009, Paul Floyd Blake won with a large format film camera – complete with bellows.

  • Jos L.Knaepen

    Digital imaging is like digital music..flat and no depth. Pity but true!

  • Eric Hands

    I like this winning shot, but wonder if that’s because it echoes Victorian portraiture, the street urchin, dickens-esque ? Is that enough for a major prize in 2013 ? I’m also not too comfortable with the reality that this shot was taken from ( and for ) a commercial shoot. I can’t help thinking that I would have been happier if it had been a brief self-generated by the photographer. Does this make me a curmudgeon ?