6 November 2012
Last updated at 14:21
The winner of this year's Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, worth £12,000, has been awarded to the London-based Spanish photographer Jordi Ruiz Cirera.
The winning image of a young woman seated at a kitchen table is part of 28-year-old Ruiz Cirera’s long-term project to document the daily life of a religious community in Bolivia – one which forbids images. "I wanted Margarita to look at the camera," said Ruiz Cirera. "But that was a problem for her, and I guess that’s why she is partially covering her face."
The photo which came second and won a prize of £3,000 was Jennifer Pattison's portrait of her friend Lynne, taken in a derelict house in Brighton. She said the photo was one of a series of nude portraits capturing "a moment in the quiet where they become unaware that they are naked. I capture them as they drift to another place".
Celebrated Shakespearean actor Mark Rylance is the subject of the third prize image, taken by Spencer Murphy. It was commissioned for the cover of The Telegraph Magazine to mark the actor’s return to the Globe theatre to play Richard III. Murphy has been exhibited as part of the Taylor Wessing Prize six times but this was the first time he was shortlisted.
Alma Haser's photograph The Ventriloquist - which placed fourth - captured friends Luke and James who have known each other since they were 12 years old. Their similar hairstyles convinced the German-born photographer to have them sit together rather take individual shots. "Ultimately I wanted to turn their verbal banter into a visual image," she said. The photos will be displayed at the National Portrait Gallery in London from 8 November until 17 February.
The winner of the John Kobal New Work Award was Matthew Niederhauser for his portrait of dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. Titled, The Nine Lives of Ai Weiwei, the shot was taken as Ai was kept under house arrest following his three-month detention last year. The ginger cat offsets the blue of his denim shirt and the gates behind him. "There was a tense moment when I didn’t think the cat was going to cooperate," said Niederhauser.