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Taylor Wessing 2020

Discussion in 'Talking Pictures' started by SXH, Jul 30, 2020.

  1. SqueamishOssifrage

    SqueamishOssifrage Well-Known Member

    I had to upvote that, due entirely to the mental picture to which gave birth. Mind you, I shouldn't laugh - I have had my arm saddle-soaped and thrust up a horse's fundamental before now!
    Digitalmemories and Catriona like this.
  2. Digitalmemories

    Digitalmemories Well-Known Member

    But did you take a selfie with your other arm?
  3. SXH

    SXH Well-Known Member

    Meanwhile, back at TW...

    Should you wish to study the entries in more depth, they do publish books of the entries...
  4. Fen

    Fen Well-Known Member

    Or you can look at previous years winners on their website :)
    Catriona likes this.
  5. SXH

    SXH Well-Known Member

    OK, a somewhat belated, for reasons that will become clear later, reply to your one-liner.

    There is little on the Taylor-Wessing site bar a press release page with a link to the National Portrait Gallery site.

    That site has a main TW comp page, which states there will be an on-line exhibition of some of the entries, of which they get a lot - 2019’s had about 3,000. I don’t know how long the ‘exhibition’ will be up for.

    There are links for past winners, and past exhibitions. The former is just the twelve previous winners. The latter has a link for each of the twelve past years. Some of the earlier (non-TW) years seem to be mainly text. Most of the TW ones use Adobe Flash to rotate through half a dozen or so of the entries, the last couple of years show three. They also have links to the three winners and the three ‘People’s Picks’. Not all images are easily expanded to a reasonable size and it’s not obvious how you do with some of them.

    Now, the book. I got a copy of the 2019 to check it out, the reason for the delay in replying. New copies are available cheaper than the NPG price, used copies even cheaper. Earlier years may be different.

    Anyway, it’s well produced on glossy paper, well printed, and it’s about 9” by 11”, so most of the images are printed at a reasonable size.

    The contents include sections a section on the ‘In Focus’ part of the exhibition, including a longish essay on the featured photographer with a few of his pics, sections on the three winners and an exhibition section with pics from each of the 32 exhibitors – nearly said exhibitionists! Each has a certain amount of explanatory text, which I am in two minds about. It does give some context, but I am suspicious about any art that needs too much explaining. There is also a slight tendency to art-school crit-speak, but not as much as I feared.

    All in all, it’s not a bad piece of work. For one thing, I think pictures do tend to look better printed than on a screen. Plus it is a (semi-)permanent record rather than an ephemeral, possibly truncated, net display.

    As for the pictures, leafing through them on mass, I get the impression that they are not all glum – most are just showing their resting faces. Some appeal to me and some don’t. But that is just an indication of my taste.

    So there you go. Hope some of you find the above useful. Remember, I waste my time so you don’t have to! ;)
    Learning likes this.
  6. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    Did you enter?
  7. SXH

    SXH Well-Known Member

    Nope. Did you?
    Catriona likes this.
  8. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    Not this time - but Fen and I both have in the past. Can affect your view of the exercise.
  9. Gezza

    Gezza Well-Known Member

    So have I, and I found it a useful exercise.
    Catriona likes this.
  10. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    I wonder if Beatnik69 (I think that's his moniker) has entered? His daughter has Taylor Wessing winner writ large across her little mush.
    Catriona likes this.
  11. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    I agree. I love those shots of his daughter. Her personality leaps out at you.
    I know people are all different, but it can be a bloomin hard competition for some of us. There's always a bit of 'me' in my pictures and especially portraits. For it to be family makes it even stronger. When they are not chosen - or rather - when they are discarded by the judges, makes it personal! Especially when you see some of the ones which have been selected.
    I recall Fen's first (?) entry which was perfect. Got nowhere.
    I do suspect it is like the BJP in that there has to be either a series from an up and coming pro or some shock factor. That shock factor could be that it is crap but of a subject preferred. Who knows?
  12. Fen

    Fen Well-Known Member

    They've changed the website. They used to have a section for each of the previous competitions and displayed all the exhibited photographs for each year. That's why I suggested going there.

    I've entered four times now. Won't be entering again.

    I think that the BJP and TW have a certain style and won't divert from that. Having recently completed a photography degree you also see that this style is heavily promoted and encouraged (I'd say forced) on students learning photography so they all come out with the same type of work.

    I found that trying to be an individual was discouraged. Even to the extent of being told that work I was planning on exhibited wouldn't be appreciated by the people going to the exhibition. One tutor actually said (and I quote); "This photographers work isn't conceptual in any form and I don't think it should be allowed in the exhibition". The fact that I sold four* of the six photographs I was exhibiting and was the only photographer to sell work at that exhibition obviously meant I was doing something wrong!

    * Two of the images were actually bought by the Dean of the university!

    Anyway... rant over :D
  13. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    I feel your pain. The pain that is similar to the angst I feel when viewing graduate exhibitions and Gallery submissions.
    It's the tutors who need exhibiting - in the stocks. Then they would experience some conceptual artistic feedback.
    Zou and gray1720 like this.
  14. Dan S

    Dan S Well-Known Member

    It's very similar with music education too, jazz is held up as being the current destination for young musicians to head towards at the moment, although I'm sure this will change and become another genre at some point.

    It seems a shame to keep pushing students studying the arts into certain directions through beliefs that the education establishment would be failing the students if they weren't pushed in the direction of the zeitgeist.

    I had a student who was on a contemporary music course. He was the only one on the course who was in a gigging band, playing venues in London, self driven and motivated to play in a band. All the others were self obsessed wannabes (I taught some of these too) and were pushed and encouraged to be that way by the college, and my student was treated appallingly because he didn't 'fit' and wasn't interested in following the jazz route.

    I think arts education, especially in light of fee paying students and league tables, has moved away from what is actually best for the student and into what is best for the college/uni in order to attract future students. Yet another symptom of 'the markerplace'.
    Zou, SqueamishOssifrage and Catriona like this.
  15. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    I firmly believe that conceptual art is well past its sell by date.

    Art Colleges and universities are always well behind the real world.
    And selling stale goods.

    If they had to exist in the real world they would be seen as failures and bankrupt.
    They can only teach what was in fashion, not what is new.
    You have to break step with the past to move forwards. Teachers are rarely innovaters.
    SqueamishOssifrage and Gezza like this.
  16. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    I think that's true of many things. By the time anyone has time to study, codify and analyse anything well enough to teach it, it has probably moved on a bit. Teaching is received wisdom. I was pointing out to a rather well-known RPS and club judge only yesterday how far behind accepted modern "Master" work the judgemental criteria applied in most competitions and critique are.
  17. Paul M

    Paul M Well-Known Member

    The point is these are academic courses where the course work has to be based on peer reviewed materials. You couldn’t do an English Literature degree without at some point studying Shakespeare, or painting without studying the masters. So why would a photography degree be any different. A degree in any subject is about the history of the subject not about the new. Students are being trained to work in an industry that expects them to understand a brief, know the references they are being given and produce work that acceptable to the client. Look at the education of photographers you admire, before photography was an accepted subject, usually they trained as painters, then found themselves working in magazines doing fashion or editorial and produced the images you aspire to in their own time often many years after they left university. So when you talk about the new - who do you mean - which photographers/new styles are you referring to that the younger photographers are not being exposed to?
    Dan S likes this.
  18. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    Of course you could. Whether the dead old white men who mark the exam papers would pass you is quite a different matter... :p
  19. spinno

    spinno Well-Known Member

    Is that dead and/or old, or just dead old... It's really your Chaucer...
  20. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    You are of course right.
    Only those things that are already known can be taught. and that is what schools do.
    However degree and diploma level teaching and learning, is largely about taking education one step further, and bridging the gap between an advanced knowledge of your subject of study, and learning how to advance that knowledge a stage further.
    However Examinations get in the way.
    They rarely encourage original thought. and confine themselves and the student to the past.

    The problem with the codification of study, is that it actively discourages this next step.
    In the case of art, it has established "conceptualism" as the only "Authorised" art form.

    As @Fen wrote

    "I found that trying to be an individual was discouraged. Even to the extent of being told that work I was planning on exhibited wouldn't be appreciated by the people going to the exhibition. One tutor actually said (and I quote); "This photographers work isn't conceptual in any form and I don't think it should be allowed in the exhibition". The fact that I sold four* of the six photographs I was exhibiting and was the only photographer to sell work at that exhibition obviously meant I was doing something wrong!"

    This encapsulates what is wrong with art education today.
    Of course students should be encouraged to understand the techniques and the work of past masters.
    But the purposes should be to establish a ladder to the future.
    A successful education should be examining how well this step has been achieved, not how well it has been ossified.
    Creative Arts, like photography, should measure success on creativity, not on the ability to copy cat, or on endless repetition.

    On the other hand when a subject like Photography is studied as a craft, with the prime aim of providing technical competency, then the measure of success is more likely to be employability.

    I feel the balance was better provided to us in the 50' when there were no Photographic Degrees available. But when colleges like the London College of Printing and Graphic art, the Regent street polytechnic. Harrow , and Hornsey college of art were breaking new ground and encouraging new ideas. But at the same time teaching solid techniques, and as well as a wide appreciation of art in general as found in museums and galleries, and in print.

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