Middlesex University photography students continue to excel with three winning a place in the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) as part of a prestigious photography exhibition.
The Taylor Wessing Prize brings together the best portrait photography each year in a three-month exhibition at the central London gallery. This year, more than 2,400 photographers entered almost 6,000 images.
Middlesex students Steve Barritt, Bar Am-David and Rokas Darulis were among the 60 that had their work chosen to appear in the gallery. Last year, Middlesex was represented by two students at the Taylor Wessing Prize, one of whom was Steve.
This year he submitted an image which was part of his final MA degree project. The project, a series of contemporary retellings of ancient Greek myths, saw Steve having to gain and lose weight, let his hair grow and even not wash for a week, as he was the central character in the series of pictures he produced.
His chosen image was “The Solitude of Pygmalion,” based on the myth of the sculptor who fell in love with his sculpture. It shows Steve sitting naked on a bed in an untidy room, with walls covered in posters and magazine articles on Britney Spears.
He said: “I made a lot of effort putting on lots of weight and letting myself go, even resorting to not washing for weeks. In the others, I appear as a model and a footballer, so I had to lose the weight again, it was tough.
“For the Middlesex MA they give you a lot of space, you come up with a project idea and they support you as you bring it together.”
Rokas Darulis also graduated from the BA in photography this summer. His photo is one from his series challenging violent homophobia in his home country, Lithuania, and across Eastern Europe. The project, “It doesn’t matter who you sleep with”, is a series of portraits of two people of the same sex in bed.
Rokas, 22, said: “Last year I sent a couple of images but didn’t get though. I just promised myself to apply every year until I made it. I was extremely excited when I found out.
“Being at Middlesex helped me a lot, my final project was based on portraiture and this project is a similar style.”
Bar flew to Jaffa in Israel for his final year project on his BA photography course. The 25 year-old, who graduated in July, will have his photo of an Israeli soldier exhibited at the NPG.
He said: “I’m originally from Israel and I have a special connection with the country. Jaffa is the only place in the whole of Israel that Israeli people and Arab people live together in peace.
“I’m extremely happy and really didn’t expect to get selected from so many photographers.”
The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize opened 11 November and runs until 20 February 2011.