THEY say a picture is worth a thousand words, but this portrait of Irish jockey Katie Walsh is worth 12 times that.
The Kildare woman was captured on camera by Kent photographer Spencer Murphy at Kempton Races while he was shooting a series of jump jockeys’ portraits for Channel Four’s The Original Extreme Sport campaign.
And now that shot has helped the photographer pick up £12,000 – his prize for winning this year’s Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize.
The award was presented this week at the National Portrait Gallery in London where the winning portrait is now on show, along with 59 others, until February.
Katie Walsh is part of Irish racing royalty – the daughter of racing trainer Ted and sister to jockey Ruby – Murphy says is was her “toughness” that inspired the picture.
“I was keen to include Katie,” he said. “‘I wanted to show both her femininity and the toughness of spirit she requires to compete against the best riders in one of the most demanding disciplines in horse racing.”
This is the seventh time the work of the now London-based photographer has been exhibited at the Gallery’s annual photographic exhibition.
Last year Murphy’s portrait of actor Mark Rylance won him third prize.