Surprise surprise I, like thousands of others did not win The Taylor Wessing portrait Prize 2010 however a gentleman named David Chancellor did.

The photographer David Chancellor was given this year’s Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize at a ceremony at the National Portrait Gallery in London for his submission, Huntress with Buck.


The image shows 14-year-old Josie Slaughter from Alabama on her first hunting trip to South Africa. Against a stunning background and sky, she looks impassively in to the camera, holding the dead animal’s antlers up to prevent it flopping lifelessly over the horse’s neck. Source Guardian website

No doubt this will be a massive catalyst for David Chanceller’s photo career. It will open the doors to some amazing opportunities that would normally only present themselves to photographers who have spent years and years building up consistent thematic approach to the medium.

Don’t get me wrong I am not discrediting either Chancellor or the idea of one-picture photo competitions, however I would be intrigued to know what really goes on in the selection process. Is the background of the artist considered? Could a total non-entity win? Certainly Chancellor is not very well-known but he has had a series of successful exhibitions and won previous awards, was this a factor in the selection process, I would assume so?

Anyway this was not meant to be about the ethics of photo competitions it was actually a comment on some other work David Chancellor has made, which relates to my amateur wrestlers work.

In this work Chancellor creates a series of before and after images of amateur boxers. All images have been shot in the same location, lighting and composition. Normally I have issues with “before and after” work it reminds me too much of some cheesy weight loss advertisement in the back of the Sunday supplements.  There is all to often a lacklustre approach to this type of work, which ultimately becomes less about content and more about spot the difference. There are elements of this spot the difference nature to Boxers and part of me does wish that it was only the after shots as with Rineke Dijkstra‘s Bull Fighters for example. Having said that there is a simplicity to this work that I can appreciate. So often as I work through a photo project I am compelled to over analyze and over complicate and on many occasions this only results in distracting from the work/subject matter involved.

By no means do I think this is the strongest of Chancellor’s work available on his newly updated website, but it certainly resonated with me due to my current mindset.

As per usual its got me rethinking some of my photographic approaches and attempting to define what the hell it is I am trying to do and why??