National Photographic Portrait Commission 2010 works on show at National Museum Cardiff and the National Portrait Gallery, London Winners of this year’s National Photographic Portrait Commission have produced striking new portraits of Steve Jones – one of Britain’s leading, popular scientists, and Welsh indie rock band – The Super Furry Animals known for their bilingual innovative and experimental song-writing.
Both works go on display at National Museum Cardiff and the National Portrait Gallery until July 2010. The portrait of Steve Jones, Professor of Genetics at University College London, has also been chosen as the National Portrait Gallery’s Photograph of the Month for April.
The National Photographic Portrait Commission is an annual competition that brings together the most exciting, emerging photographic talent in Wales with famous Welsh achievers. Each year a committee selects two or three winners from the applicants and commissions a new portrait from them for the national collection.
Steve Jones – Talking Evolution was taken by Tom Pope who graduated from Swansea Metropolitan University. He was recently shortlisted for the Saatchi Gallery and Channel 4 competition New Sensations. He also has a solo show at the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery until 18 April.
He has depicted the scientist in conversation with the skeleton of a primate combining his interest in the absurd in his photographic practice with science’s quest for knowledge of the past and the future.
“Being given the opportunity to photograph such a highly regarded gentleman has been stimulating and challenging for me,” said Tom who is currently studying for an MA at the Royal College of Art, London. “Steve Jones is a renowned professor of genetics and evolution, his writing style sometimes rather dark and humorous. Amalgamating my personal photographic practice that is humorous, performative and absurd with Steve Jones’s accomplishments to create an intriguing photograph was a task that I relished.”
The Super Furry Animals, known for their contribution to the renaissance of Welsh art and music since the 1990s, were photographed by Sophie Keyworth backstage at the Coal Exchange in Cardiff. Sophie’s work expresses the intimacy and tension before the band’s performance.
Graduating from Coleg Sir Gâr, Carmarthenshire in 2008, music has always been a central theme in Sophie’s work, in particular Dubstep artists.
The National Photographic Portrait Commission was set up by Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales in 2004 in conjunction with the National Portrait Gallery, London. Beth McIntyre, Curator of Prints and Drawings, Amgueddfa Cymru is Chair of the judging panel. She commented:
“One of the strengths of the Commission is that it gives the most talented emerging photographers in Wales an opportunity to portray a variety of sitters from all different walks of life. We are very pleased to support top quality photography graduates and have seen the initiative progress from year to year.”
Previous portraits include the BAFTA and Laurence Olivier Award-nominated Welsh actor Michael Sheen, the Archbishop of Canterbury The Most Reverend Dr Rowan Williams and television producer and Dr Who scriptwriter Russell T. Davies.
Terence Pepper, Curator of Photographs, National Portrait Gallery added:
“We are delighted to continue to be part of this exciting project, nourishing the work of upcoming young photographers. This project also reflects our shared interest in collecting portraits of significant Welsh people who contribute to British life and culture.”
National Museum Cardiff is one of Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales’s seven national museums. The others are St Fagans: National History Museum, the National Roman Legionary Museum, Big Pit: National Coal Museum, the National Wool Museum, the National Slate Museum and the National Waterfront Museum.
Entry to each Museum is free thanks to the support of the Welsh Assembly Government.