Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 23 November 2014

Guinea pig makes a winning picture

Photographer Jooney Woodward's winning picture of Harriet Power holding her pet guinea pig Gentleman Jack
Photographer Jooney Woodward's winning picture of Harriet Power holding her pet guinea pig Gentleman Jack

An image of a 13-year-old holding her pet guinea pig has scooped this year's National Portrait Gallery photographic prize.

The picture of Harriet Power at the Royal Welsh Show beat more than 6,000 other entries for this year's Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize.

Photographer Jooney Woodward, 32, who wins £12,000, took the picture after scouting the sheepdog trials, livestock competitions and regimental bands at the agricultural show in Builth Wells, Powys, for her potential subject.

The photographer, who was born in London and grew up in Dorset, said: "I found her image immediately striking with her long, red hair and white stewarding coat.

"She is holding her own guinea pig called Gentleman Jack, named after the Jack Daniel's whisky box in which he was given to her. Using natural light from a skylight above, I took just three frames and this image was the first.

"I don't mess around with Photoshop so what you see is what you get. Enhanced images can portray a false sense of reality, whereas my work celebrates the people and places as they appear every day."

National Portrait Gallery director Sandy Nairne described the portrait as a "brilliant, empathetic study of young woman".

Second prize was won by Jill Wooster, 34, who lives in London, of her friend Lili Ledbetter as part of a series portraying women in their forties and fifties at pivotal stages in their lives.

Third prize went to Dona Schwartz, 55, for her portrait of a couple in Minnesota, in the US, standing in their son's vacated bedroom, in a series documenting moments of change in parents' lives.

Fourth prize was awarded to Jasper Clarke, 33, who lives in London, of a Chinese artist, and fifth to David Knight, 40, who lives in Australia, for a portrait commissioned to raise awareness of cerebral palsy.

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