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Taylor Wessing winner finds glory with a guinea pig

Winner Jooney Woodward shot winning photographic portrait at Royal Welsh Show in Powys

It was not the most immediately promising place to take such a striking photograph – the guinea pig judging area of the Royal Welsh Show – but it proved fruitful for Jooney Woodward who has been named winner of the Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize.

Woodward won £12,000 for her portrait of 13-year-old Harriet Power, cradling her guinea pig Gentleman Jack, named after the Jack Daniel's whiskey box in which he was given to her.

More than 6,000 portraits were submitted by 2,506 photographers from around the world for the prize organised by the National Portrait Gallery. Sandy Nairne, the gallery's director, called the winning work "a brilliant, empathetic study of a young woman".

Tim Eyles, managing partner of the law firm Taylor Wessing, sponsoring the prize for the fourth year, also offered congratulations. "This year's images collectively convey a realism and depth of vision that makes them both relevant and easy to relate to," he said.

Woodward's photo could be seen as unusual as she used actual film. Before she knew of her win, she said: "I prefer the quality and depth you get from using film; unfortunately it's a dying art."

The freelance photographer, 32, used a Mamiya RZ medium format camera. "I don't mess around with Photoshop so what you see is what you get. Enhanced images can portray a false sense of reality, whereas my work celebrates the people and places as they appear every day," she said.

Woodward found her sitter while she was scouting for subjects at the big agricultural show held at Builth Wells, Powys.

At Tuesday night's London ceremony, American photographer Jill Wooster won the £2,500 second prize, and her compatriot Dona Schwartz won third.

An exhibition of 60 portraits will run at the gallery from 10 November until 12 February. © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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