Jack, Jameela and Samuel from Alys Tomlinson's Lost Summer series

A series of portraits of school leavers dressed for proms that never took place because of the coronavirus pandemic has won a £15,000 prize for photography.

The judges of this year’s Taylor Wessing Prize felt Alys Tomlinson’s Lost Summer “spoke to the events of 2020… without being heavy handed.”

London-based Tomlinson said she wanted to show her subjects’ “vulnerability, sadness [and] resilience”.

It is the first time that all three winners have been women.

The prize has been running for 18 years, and this year’s chosen competition entries can be viewed online until 31 March.

The exhibition – which features 54 portraits from 37 artists – is displayed in a virtual gallery space that replicates the rooms of London’s National Portrait Gallery.

A second prize worth £3,000 went to Lydia Goldblatt for Eden, part of a series which draws on mothering and family life.

The artist used four people within a 50-metre radius of her London home to create the series, which includes her winning image of a child in a tent.

The judges, who included British Vogue editor Edward Enninful, felt the image “embodied the psychological complexity of the events of this year”.

Goldblatt said her photo of “a child protected but alone… articulate[s] a psychological suspension in which both joy and fear oscillate.”

Eden by Lydia Goldblatt and Enam Ewura Adjoa Asiama by Yolanda Y Liou

Another competition entry, Yolanda Y Liou’s portrait of plus-size model Enam Asiama, was chosen to receive a third prize worth £2,000.

The Taiwan-born photographer, now based in London and Brighton, said she wanted to capture her subject’s “confidence and charisma”.

According to the judges, her “empowering” and “confident” portrait conveys “a sense of authentic identity, collaboration and trust”.

Asiama, who Identifies as “a Black, African-British, fat, queer and femme individual,” uses social media to fight for inclusivity and visibility for plus-size role models.

This year’s contest saw 5,531 submissions entered by 2,169 photographers from 75 countries.