César Dezfuli’s winning photograph of Amadou Sumaila from Mali. Photo: César Dezfuli/NPG

César Dezfuli Wins Tenth Annual Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize

Spanish photojournalist César Dezfuli was named the winner of the 2017 Taylor Wessing prize, for his photographic portrait of Amadou Sumaila, at a ceremony at the National Portrait Gallery in London on November 14. The twenty-six-year-old photographer will receive a prize of nearly $20,000.

Sumaila, a sixteen-year-old migrant originally from Mali, was one of hundreds of people who were found twenty-three miles from the shores of Libya and rescued from the sea in 2016. Dezfuli photographed him while on board an NGO vessel documenting migrants escaping war-torn countries. “I think Amadou’s portrait stands out because of the emotions it transmits,” Dezfuli said. “He had just been rescued by a European vessel, apparently fulfilling his dream. However, his look and his attitude show fear, mistrust and uncertainty, as well as determination and strength.”

The $4,000 second-place award was presented to Abbie Trayler-Smith for her photo of an Iraqi girl arriving at a refugee camp after she fled from Isis. Maija Tammi came in third place for her unconventional portrait of a robot named Erica that was created at the Hiroshi Ishiguro Laboratories in Osaka.