The celebrated British actress Olivia Colman is the subject of a striking, newly commissioned photograph which will go on display for the first time at the National Portrait Gallery to coincide with the opening of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2014 exhibition, it was announced today (Thursday 6 November 2014).
The portrait, taken by photographer Hana Knizova, was commissioned through the John Kobal New Work Award, a prize awarded annually to a photographer under thirty whose work is selected for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition.
The BAFTA award-winning actress, who has just finished filming the second series of acclaimed drama Broadchurch, is shown in the large photograph leaning back on a vintage chaise longue in an unoccupied Victorian house in London, a location now popular for fashion shoots. Colman’s glamorous look, styled by designer and stylist Beth Buxton, was chosen as a direct contrast to the costumes she has worn in her recent roles.
As winner of the John Kobal New Work Award in 2013 for her portrait Elza and Nellie, Hana Knizova received a commission to photograph a sitter connected with the UK film industry for the National Portrait Gallery Collection. Colman was chosen for her outstanding contribution to British cinema, theatre and television.
Born in Norfolk, Colman trained at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, and has gone on to work extensively in film, television and theatre. Her recent feature film appearances include Cuban Furyopposite Nick Frost; Carol Thatcher in Phyllida Lloyd’s Oscar and BAFTA-winning film The Iron Lady; and Tyrannosaur directed by Paddy Considine, for which she won a World Cinema Special Jury Prize for breakout performance at Sundance Film Festival, and best actress at the British Independent Film Awards and the Evening Standard British Film Awards.
On television, Colman starred alongside David Tennant as DS Ellie Miller in ITV’s crime drama Broadchurch for which she won the best actress BAFTA. She won two BAFTA awards in 2013, for her performances as Sue in Jimmy McGovern’s Accused alongside Anne-Marie Duff; and as Sally Owen in the BBC’s hit Olympics comedy Twenty Twelve. She is also known for her regular roles in Peep Show, Green Wing and, more recently, Rev.
On stage, Colman most recently appeared in the West End in Howard Davies’s production of Hay Fever. Her upcoming appearances include feature films The Lobster, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos; Rufus Norris’s screen adaptation of the hit musical London Road; and a second series of Broadchurch.
Born in 1984, London-based Czech photographer Hana Knizova worked as a model before undertaking an MA in photography at the London College of Communication. Her John Kobal New Work Award-winning portrait was of identical twins Nellie and Elza. Knizova’s work has been seen in publications including Marie Claire, InStyle and Dazed and Confused and she has exhibited in theTaylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize on two occasions (2012 and 2013). She continues to live and work in London.
Simon Crocker, Chairman of the John Kobal Foundation, and judge of the John Kobal New Work Award, says:
‘We were thrilled to have the opportunity to commission a portrait of Olivia Colman. She is an outstanding actress and was a wonderful subject for Hana who delivered a compelling portrait. The foundation, through the John Kobal New Work Award, encourages the creation of new work in portrait photography and is delighted to continue its association with the National Portrait Gallery and the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize. ‘
Olivia Colman by Hana Knizova will go on display in the National Portrait Gallery’s Lerner Galleries from Monday 10 November to coincide with the opening of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2014 exhibition on Thursday 13 November.