Hampstead School / Liane Harris / Visual Literacy activities

Activity: Exhibition Visit – Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize at the NPG

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A portrait treasure trail and photographic assignment in response to the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize 2015.

Materials needed:

  • Activity sheet (Portrait treasure trail)
  • Postcards from exhibition (or photo printouts of a few images from exhibition)
  • Cameras


  • Pre- trip visit to gallery
  • Create an activity sheet relevant to whatever exhibition you are visiting.
  • Create a photo activity relevant to the exhibition


a) Working in pairs, students are given their Portrait Treasure Trail

This includes the following:

  • Find a portrait that doesn’t show the person’s face.

What does this portrait tell you about this person?

  • Find a portrait where the person is not looking directly at the camera.

What is their expression and what does this tell you about them?

  • Find a portrait that tells a story.

What are the clues?

  • Find a portrait of someone you feel you have nothing in common with.

What is it that you don’t have in common?

Can you find one thing you DO have in common?

  • All 4 portraits won a prize, but the first one won 1st place (£12,000).

Do you agree?

  • Find these 4 photos (images included on the sheet) in the exhibition and you decide which portrait should have won.
  • Why?

b) Photographic assignment-

Students are given a postcard (or printed out image) from the exhibition and asked to recreate it.

Working in pairs students are:

  • Given one camera per pair
  • Each pair given one postcard/photo

Images printed out on A4 for a mini exhibition for the next session.


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