Tanique Williams, Cape Town, South Africa, 2018 from the series Drummies by Alice Mann © Alice Mann

Alice Mann has won the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2018 for her portrait series on the all-female teams of drum majorettes in South Africa’s Western Province. The £15,000 award was presented to the South African photographer at an awards ceremony at the National Portrait Gallery last night.

For the first time in the competition’s history the judges have awarded the first prize to a series of four pictures rather than an individual photograph. Mann spent three months photographing different teams of girls across South Africa’s Western Province, beginning at the Dr Van der Ross Primary school in one of the poorer parts of Cape Town. Many of the drum majorettes, or “drummies”, come from South Africa’s most disadvantaged communities.

“The images are part of a much larger body of work, which is a combination of a more documentary approach and portraits,” says Mann. “These four portraits are some of my favourite images, especially the one of Riley and Wakiesha because they are so charismatic.

“For these girls, involvement in ‘drummies’ becomes a vehicle for them to excel, and the distinctive uniforms serve as a visual marker of perceived success and represents emancipation from their surroundings. Continuing my consideration into notions of femininity and empowerment in modern society, it was my intent to create images that reflect the pride and confidence the girls achieve through identifying as ‘drummies’.”

Taylim Prince, Cape Town, South Africa, 2017 from the series Drummies by Alice Mann © Alice Mann

Taylim Prince, Cape Town, South Africa, 2017 from the series Drummies by Alice Mann © Alice Mann

Keisha Ncube, Cape Town, South Africa, 2017 from the series Drummies by Alice Mann © Alice Mann

Keisha Ncube, Cape Town, South Africa, 2017 from the series Drummies by Alice Mann © Alice Mann

Wakiesha Titus and Riley Van Harte, Cape Town, South Africa, 2018 from the series Drummies by Alice Mann © Alice Mann

Wakiesha Titus and Riley Van Harte, Cape Town, South Africa, 2018 from the series Drummies by Alice Mann © Alice Mann

First prize winner, Alice Mann, with her portraits. Photograph by Jorge Herrera.

First prize winner, Alice Mann, with her portraits. Photograph by Jorge Herrera.

The judges’ commented: “Mann’s series is consistent in its evocation of a sustained and intriguing narrative. Each sitter is precisely framed within a carefully considered composition, and the girls confidently meet the camera’s gaze. Their pristine and vibrant outfits jar with the rundown surroundings, lending a surreal and enigmatic atmosphere to the portraits.”

The winner of the £3,000 Second Prize is Enda Bowe for his photograph of a London mother holding her baby, part of an ongoing collaborative project with Gillian O’Brien entitled Clapton Blossom that focuses on the residents of a housing estate in Clapton, east London.

Cybil McAddy with daughter Lulu from the series Clapton Blossom by Enda Bowe 2018 © Enda Bowe

Cybil McAddy with daughter Lulu from the series Clapton Blossom by Enda Bowe 2018 © Enda Bowe

Second prize winner, Enda Bowe with sitter Cybil McAddy. Photograph by Jorge Herrera

Second prize winner, Enda Bowe with sitter Cybil McAddy. Photograph by Jorge Herrera

The joint winners of the Third Prize, each receiving £2,000, are Max Barstow for his double portrait of a pair of shoppers taken in London and Joey Lawrence for his photograph of a child from a remote village in the jungle of Sierra Leone’s Eastern Province.

Untitled from the series Londoners by Max Barstow 2017 © Max Barstow

Untitled from the series Londoners by Max Barstow 2017 © Max Barstow

Joint third prize winner Max Barstow with his portrait. Photograph by Jorge Herrera

Joint third prize winner Max Barstow with his portrait. Photograph by Jorge Herrera

Portrait of 'Strong' Joe Smart from the series Tombo's Wound by Joey Lawrence 2017 © Joey Lawrence

Portrait of ‘Strong’ Joe Smart from the series Tombo’s Wound by Joey Lawrence 2017 © Joey Lawrence

Joint third prize winner Joey Lawrence with his portrait. Photograph by Jorge Herrera

Joint third prize winner Joey Lawrence with his portrait. Photograph by Jorge Herrera

The winning portraits will be on display at the National Portrait Gallery, London as part of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2018 exhibition from 18 October 2018 to 27 January 2019. You can book tickets online.



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