Portrait Salon shows a selection of National Portrait Gallery 2011 Portrait prize rejections tonight

© Nick Dolding

© Paul Statham

It’s time to get your fill of portraits – and not just colour but black and white too – courtesy of a screening by Portrait Salon where a projection of 75 unselected entries from the National Portrait Gallery Photographic Prize 2011 will be on show tonight at the Roxy Bar and Screen in London from 7-11pm.

Devised by two portrait photographers, who are both based in London and are professionally involved in the cityʼs photographic community, Portrait Salon made a call for submissions from the 5,973 unselected entries and retrieved over 600 images from which it then made its selection.

© Zed Nelson, British Shipbuilders (Part of the series Disappearing Britain)

© Martin Usborne, Frank Bruno

The projection will be accompanied by a publication showcasing all the selected works, with an essay by Wayne Ford and a Q&A I did with the dynamic duo. This will be on sale at the screening.

As I say in the press release: “Looking through the rejected entries has been an eye opener – it was a rare chance to see some of the images that are discarded, to ponder the question of portraiture in the 21st century, and to discover some top-notch portraits to boot. The National Portrait Gallery Photographic Portrait Prize 2011 is a prestigious international prize, however, there is a lack of feedback given to entrants and it was surprising to find that there is some confusion as to what constitutes a portrait – many images simply didnʼt fit the criteria. Portrait Salon is a new venture and should be viewed as a positive addition to the photo competition arena as all entrants are being given another chance to get their work seen on screen and in print at no extra cost.”


15 responses to “Portrait Salon shows a selection of National Portrait Gallery 2011 Portrait prize rejections tonight

  1. Surely there’s a better way of describing them as ‘rejects’

  2. One of my images was selected for the Taylor Wessing exhibition this year, but I submitted my ‘rejects’ (images NOT selected by the Taylor Wessing/NPG) to the Portrait Salon. Having attended the Portrait Salon show last night (two of my images were selected) I feel like the inspiration/motivation for the Salon has not been made clear enough, and I am fascinated to know more about why it was initiated. The launch last night failed to answer these questions. The frustration associated with entering the Taylor Wessing competition is, for me, simply the requirement that final exhibition prints must be entered. So the disappointment of not being selected is increased by the financial cost of making expensive full size exhibition prints and having them returned unused. As such, I had always mused about the idea of mounting an exhibition – a Salon de Refuse – as a way of exhibiting all these expensively made prints. I sent my images into ‘The Salon’ in the spirit of good humour, as a bit of fun, as a a collaborative event that shares and celebrates the frustrations we all face of occasional rejection. But I would like to know what the organisers think – what their inspiration was for starting this event?

    Also, a ‘Salon de Refuse’ would make more sense if the actual exhibition prints were displayed. PrintSpace step forward? You have the space, and also profit from the furious buzz of print-making in the run up to the Taylor Wessing competition.


  3. Maybe ‘an alternative selection’..?

  4. You could say unselected images perhaps. This is a great idea, wish I had known I would have submitted!!

  5. Further to my comments above, having now read the accompanying newspaper/catalogue that was for sale on the night at The Salon, there is in fact a Q&A with the organisers that does answer many of my questions.

    • I wondered if you had seen the publication, I will post the Q&A next week for those who have similar questions. Interesting points you make and great to see some of your photos in the mix, love the one accompanying this post, thanks, Miranda

  6. Is there any most major reason on that cause?

  7. there must have some alternative !

  8. Pingback: 30 November 2011: Portrait Salon 11 at Roxy « Katherine Poole

  9. Pingback: Why We Made a Newspaper Instead of a Traditional Exhibition Catalogue « Prison Photography

    • Thanks for this link, I will point it out to the organisers of Portrait Salon too. I’d love a copy of the publication, physical – pls can you keep one for me? the Roaming Eye (tRE) will be in Joshua Tree from mid-April for a month so could send you an address in US to mail it to – Also do you have a PDF version or can people download it? Is it paid for? Let me know if you want the word spread and hope to meet you physically one of these days. Keep on keepin on the great work. Miranda

  10. “The National Portrait Gallery Photographic Portrait Prize 2011 is a prestigious international prize, however, there is a lack of feedback given to entrants ”

    Well funny you should say that because I sent in my two rejected shots to the Salon, and got no response at all. I assume I didn’t make their cut, but at least the NPG send me “it is important to tell you your photographs did make it to the second day of judging” – so more feedback than I got from PS, right ?

    • Good point. I have sent an email to the organisers about this post, so let’s see what transpires. On a charitable note, I think that if they do it next year then some of these oversights can be addressed and ironed out. You have a very fair point. Miranda

  11. I still maintain that the strongest ‘reason’ for the Portrait Salon would be a way of actually showing a selection of the costly prints that were submitted to the NPG show, and rejected. Because the original NPG entry has to be exhibition-standard prints, its doubly frustrating if they are not selected – and hundreds of rejected prints must be gathering dust across the nation.
    If the Portrait Salon is for people who are frustrated by the lack of feedback from the NPG, or frustrated by not being selected, or the ‘arbitrary’ selection process – then it makes for a surreal situation if those people are rejected AGAIN, and have no feedback AGAIN etc. Having said that, I think it is impossible to give everyone feedback, and a selection process is required, and choices will always seem arbitrary. So I sympathise with the organisers of the Salon…they are in a tricky position. My idea: talk to the Print Space – they would be a great a potential venue for a print show – they have the wall space, and they make a killing on the the printing flurry that takes place just before the NPG deadline – most of the prints were done there, it would be good PR for them to have the Salon de Refuse there too?

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