This little guidebook to the award is rather fun. We saw the exhibition on the same afternoon as the RA exhibition, and it was a lot of fun. It's a shame that the reproductions of the paintings, though high quality, are so small. At this scale, it's difficult to tell the difference between photo-realistic and just near-photo-realistic. Subtleties of style go away, and the differences between the egg tempura and oils disappears, despite being such a difference in the flesh.
Having said that, it's still a good record. Despite the lack of details of the execution in reduced form, most entries would also work effectively as photographic portraits, and it's a good reminder of what we saw on the day. There were some stunning pieces, with the best generally shying away a little from the most photo-like representation.
Having said that, we found the first place award a little odd. Mary Jane Ansell's work, to us, captured alienness far better than Peter Monkman's prizewinner. Hey ho, we're not the judges....