Artist

  1. Bettina von Zwehl

    For Setting Out, the first phase of the Road to 2012, Bettina von Zwehl’s still, strong portraits depicted athletes at different stages of their career in a setting where they live or train.

    Von Zwehl (b.1971) began making portraits as a student at the Royal College of Art. She adopted the traditional nineteenth-century studio methodology that she had first encountered as photographer’s assistant in Rome, working on 10” x 8” film with a large-plate camera. This slow, quiet process and the descriptive power of the format give her images an extraordinary intensity. Since graduating in 1999 von Zwehl’s work has been collected and exhibited internationally. Her first book was published in 2007. For this commission von Zwehl was invited to make a series of portraits on location and give the viewer a sense of personal encounter with her sitters. Inspiration marks the beginning of an athlete’s journey to the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Gallery’s accompanying interviews, in which the sitters speak about their own inspiration, are integral to the display.

    Travelling across the country with her assistant and husband David Robinson, von Zwehl photographed the athletes in settings where they live or train. Robinson’s control of light and von Zwehl’s concentrated engagement with her subjects result in meditative observations of face, mood and physique.

    Bettina was interviewed in the Portrait Restaurant at the National Portrait Gallery.

  2. Zoe Smith by Bettina von Zwehl, 10 April 2010 - © Bettina von Zwehl/National Portrait Gallery/BT Road to 2012 Project

    Year 1: Setting Out
    Zoe Smith b. 1994

    by Bettina von Zwehl

  3. Rebecca Adlington b.1989 Photographed by Bettina von Zwehl - © Bettina von Zwehl/National Portrait Gallery/BT Road to 2012 Project

    Year 1: Setting Out
    Rebecca Adlington b.1989

    by Bettina von Zwehl

  4. David Roberts b.1980 by Bettina von Zwehl - ©Bettina von Zwehl/National Portrait Gallery/BT Road to 2012 Project

    Year 1: Setting Out
    David Roberts b.1980

    by Bettina von Zwehl

  5. Nathan Stephens b.1988 by Bettina von Zwehl - © Bettina von Zwehl/National Portrait Gallery/BT Road to 2012 Project

    Year 1: Setting Out
    Nathan Stephens b.1988

    by Bettina von Zwehl

  6. Jessica Ennis b.1986 by Bettina von Zwehl - © Bettina von Zwehl/National Portrait Gallery/BT Road to 2012 Project

    Year 1: Setting Out
    Jessica Ennis b.1986

    by Bettina von Zwehl

  7. Katherine Grainger b.1975 by Bettina von Zwehl - © Bettina von Zwehl/National Portrait Gallery/BT Road to 2012 Project

    Year 1: Setting Out
    Katherine Grainger b.1975

    by Bettina von Zwehl

  8. Tom Daley b.1994 by Bettina von Zwehl - © Bettina von Zwehl/National Portrait Gallery/BT Road to 2012 Project

    Year 1: Setting Out
    Tom Daley b.1994

    by Bettina von Zwehl

  9. Savannah Marshall b.1991 by Bettina von Zwehl - © Bettina von Zwehl/National Portrait Gallery/BT Road to 2012 Project

    Year 1: Setting Out
    Savannah Marshall b.1991

    by Bettina von Zwehl

  10. Victoria Pendleton by Bettina von Zwehl - © Bettina von Zwehl/National Portrait Gallery/BT Road to 2012 Project

    Year 1: Setting Out
    Victoria Pendleton b.1980

    by Bettina von Zwehl

  11. Ola Abidogun by Bettina von Zwehl © Bettina von Zwehl/National Portrait Gallery/BT Road to 2012 Project

    Year 1: Setting Out
    Ola Abidogun b.1993

    by Bettina von Zwehl

  12. © Bettina von Zwehl/National Portrait Gallery/BT Road to 2012

    Year 1: Setting Out
    Ray Haggan b.1939

    by Bettina von Zwehl