Portrait of a rescued migrant wins Taylor Wessing photography prize

Amateur Photographer

The winning image will go on display at the National Portrait Gallery


Amadou Sumaila by César Dezfuli © César Dezfuli / Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2017 Amateur Photographer

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.

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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.

Fleeing Mosul from the series Women in War: Life After ISIS by Abbie Trayler-Smith © Abbie Trayler-Smith / Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2017 Amateur Photographer

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.”

One of Them Is a Human #1 by Maija Tammi (Erica: Erato Ishiguro Symbiotic Human-Robot Interaction
Project) © Maija Tammi / Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2017
Amateur Photographer

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.

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Maggi Hambling by Harry Cory Wright 2016 © Harry Cory Wright Amateur Photographer
Nick Bostrom, The Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford. From the series Transhuman by David Vintiner 2016 © David Vintiner Amateur Photographer
Paddy, 16, Irish Traveller, Liverpool from the series Sixteen by Craig Easton 2016 © Craig Easton Amateur Photographer
Builder's Lunch Break by Davey James Clarke 2018 © Davey James Clarke Amateur Photographer
Maggie from the series As I Found Her - A Portrait of Eigg by Danny North 2016 © Danny North Amateur Photographer
Campaign #1 Hillary Rodham Clinton, West Palm Beach, FL from the series Ambition, Charm, and the Will to Power by Alan Mozes 2016 © Alan Mozes Amateur Photographer

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