Amira and her Children by Ivor Prickett, 2014

Ivor Prickett/UNHCR/Panos Pictures

Ivor Prickett is a documentary photographer who works on personal projects whilst carrying out assignments for a diverse range of international clients. Having lived and worked in the Middle East and Turkey for nearly 5 years, he is now based in London. Prickett took the photograph Amira and her Children in Northern Iraq in September 2014 when working on an assignment for UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees). Prickett explains: 'I met Amira and her family in the tent where they were living in at the Baharka camp near Erbil; they had fled their village near Mosul after ISIS had taken control of the area. I spent some time speaking with Amira about what her family had gone through. As they became more comfortable with me being there they really started to express their closeness and became very tactile. It was a beautiful moment to witness in the midst of such a difficult situation.'

The four images in the running for the £12,000 Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize have been revealed by Great Britain’s National Portrait Gallery. The often-controversial award is again set to spark some debate as one of the shortlisted images features a naked boy that many media outlets will have to think twice about reproducing.

The competition attracted over 2200 entries from portrait photographers from all over the world, and is seen as one of the most prestigious awards in the art portrait world. Entry is by the submission of a print only, and the shortlisted images, along with the winner of the £4000 John Kobal award for a portrait photographer under the age of 30, form an exhibition that is held in the National Portrait Gallery.

As the number of prints shown is such a tiny fraction of the number entered a further exhibition has sprung up that shows only those images rejected by the jury. The Portrait Salon displays about 70 prints, and asks visitors to vote for their favorite images. 

The winner of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait prize will be announced on 11 November 2015. For more information visit the National Gallery website

Hector by Anoush Abrar, 2014

© Anoush Abrar

Anoush Abrar was born in Tehran, Iran, and lived in Switzerland from the age of five. He studied at the University of Arts in Lausanne and has taught photography there since 2005. Abrar has had his work exhibited in museums and galleries around the world and now lives and works between London and Lausanne. The idea behind Abrar’s portrait Hector stems from the photographer’s fascination with Caravaggio’s work, particularly his painting Sleeping Cupid from 1608. Abrar explains: 'Somehow I needed to make my own Sleeping Cupid. I found my portrait of Hector so powerful and iconic that it inspired me to continue this project as a series called Cherubs.'

Five Girls 2014 by David Stewart, 2014

© David Stewart

Born in Lancaster, England, David Stewart began his career photographing punk bands, including The Clash and The Ramones, and the colourful characters seen on Morecambe Promenade. After graduating at Blackpool and The Fylde College, Stewart moved to London in 1981 and works on a mix of personal projects and commissions. His photograph Five Girls is of his daughter and her friends, and mirrors a photograph he took of them seven years ago when they were about to start their GCSEs. Stewart says: 'I have always had a fascination with the way people interact – or, in this case, fail to interact, which inspired the photograph of this group of girls. While the girls are physically very close and their style and clothing highlight their membership of the same peer group, there is an element of distance between them.' The original photograph of the five girls was displayed in the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2008 exhibition and this year is the sixteenth time Stewart has had a photograph in the exhibition.

Nyaueth by Peter Zelewski, 2015

© Peter Zelewski

Peter Zelewski is a London-based portrait and documentary photographer. Born in Detroit, USA, he moved to London in the late 80s and studied Graphic Design at North London Polytechnic. Through his fascination and love of the city, he was drawn to the streets of London to take photographs of its citizens. Zelewski now divides his time between graphic design, commercial photography and his personal street portraiture projects. Zelewski’s portrait Nyaueth was taken near Oxford Street as part of his series Beautiful Strangers. Zelewski explains: 'The aim of Beautiful Strangers is to challenge the concept of traditional beauty with a series of spontaneous and powerful street portraits of everyday citizens who show character, uniqueness and a special inner quality, which I try to interpret in my photographs.'