Portrait of a rescued migrant wins Taylor Wessing photography prize
November 16, 2017
A powerful image of a rescued teenage migrant has won top honours in the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2017.
The photograph was taken by Spanish photographer César Dezfuli of 16-year-old migrant Amadou Sumaila after he was rescued off of the Libyan coast trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea.
Dezfuli won a £15,000 prize for the image of the Mali migrant at a ceremony organised by award organisers the National Portrait Gallery.
“I think Amadou’s portrait stands out because of the emotions it transmits,” said Dezfuli, who works as a journalist and documentary photographer.
He said: “He had just been rescued by a European vessel, apparently fulfilling his dream. However, his look and his attitude show fear, mistrust and uncertainty, as well as determination and strength.”
The judges singled out the directness of gaze as one of the reasons that the portrait beat over 5,700 submissions across 66 countries to win the first prize.
Sumaila has since been transferred to a temporary reception centre for migrants in Italy.
A photograph of a girl fleeing ISIS in Mosul, Iraq taken by Abbie Trayler-Smith won the £3,000 second prize.
Trayler-Smith said: “I just remember seeing her face looking out at the camp and the shock and the bewilderment in her’s and other’s faces and it made me shudder to imagine what living under ISIS had been like.”
The winner of the £2,000 Third Prize and the £5,000 John Kobal New York Award for a photographer under 35, was given to Maija Tammi for her portrait of a Japanese android called Erica.
The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2017 is at the National Portrait Gallery from 16 November, 2017 to 8 February, 2018.
See some of the other winning images in our gallery below.