Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2016
The four artists shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2016 are Laura El-Tantawy , Erik Kessels , Trevor Paglen and Tobias Zielony . This year’s shortlist reflects a range of approaches and subject matters encompassing the use of videos, objects and texts. These diverse bodies of work express political and personal concerns with identity, migration, surveillance and loss at their core.
Works by the shortlisted photographers will be exhibited at The Photographers’ Gallery from 15 April until 3 July 2016 and subsequently presented at the Deutsche Börse headquarters in Frankfurt/Eschborn. The winner will be announced at a special award ceremony on 2 June 2016 during the exhibition run.
The Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2016 is an annual prize established by The Photographers’ Gallery, London in 1996 and in partnership with Deutsche Börse Group since 2005. The £30,000 prize rewards a living photographer, of any nationality, for a specific body of work in an exhibition or publication format, which is felt to have significantly contributed to photography in Europe between 1 October 2014 and 30 September 2015.
Laura El-Tantawy (b. 1980, UK/Egypt) for her self-published photobook In the Shadow of the Pyramids (2015). In images that span from 2005 to 2014, this project depicts the atmosphere and rising tensions in Cairo in the events leading to and during the January revolution in Tahrir Square (2011-13). El-Tantawy grew up between Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the US, with In the Shadow of the Pyramids she explores parallel narratives of her own family’s history with the search for identity of a troubled nation. She combines old family photographs and her own lyrical witness accounts with close up portraits of protestors and streets scenes that vividly express the violence and euphoria of the crowds.
Erik Kessels (b. 1966, The Netherlands) for his exhibition Unfinished Father at Fotografia Europea, Reggio Emilia, Italy (15 May – 31 July 2015). In Unfinished Father Kessels reflects upon the fragmented realities of loss, memory and a life come undone as a result of his father’s debilitating stroke. Kessels uses his father’s unfinished restoration project of an old Fiat 500 as a representation of his current condition. He brings pieces of the unassembled body of the Topolino car into the exhibition space and presents it alongside photographs of car parts and images that were taken by his father.
Trevor Paglen (b. 1974, USA) for his exhibition The Octopus at Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt, Germany (20 June - 30 August 2015). Paglen’s project aims to represent complex topics like mass surveillance, data collection, classified satellite and drone activities and the systems of power connected to them. Paglen’s installation comprise images of restricted military and government areas, skylines showing the flight tracks of passing drones, sculptural elements and research assembled in collaboration with scientist, amateur astronomers and human rights activists. Through his work Paglen demonstrates that secrets cannot be hidden from view, but that their traces and structures are visible evidence in the landscape.
Tobias Zielony (b. 1973, Germany) for The Citizen, exhibited as part of the German Pavilion presentation at the 56th Biennale of Arts, Venice, Italy (9 May - 22 November 2015). Mostly taken in Berlin and Hamburg Zielony’s photographs portray the lives and circumstances of African refugee activists living in Europe. Fleeing violence and oppression in their home countries many arrive to the West in search of freedom and security only to find themselves living as outsiders in refugee-camps without legal representation or work permits. Presented alongside the images are first person accounts, interviews and narratives published by Zielony in African newspapers and magazines and reporting on the immigrants’ experiences and journeys.
The members of the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2016 jury are: David Drake, Director Ffotogallery, Cardiff; Alfredo Jaar, Artist; Wim van Sinderen, Senior Curator at The Hague Museum of Photography; Anne-Marie Beckmann, Curator, Art Collection Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation and Brett Rogers, Director, The Photographers’ Gallery as the non-voting chair.
Trevor Paglen (b.1974, USA) was awarded the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2016 at a special ceremony in The Photographers’ Gallery, Thursday 2 June 2016. The £30,000 award was presented by BBC journalist and HARDtalk presenter Stephen Sackur.
The Prize is awarded to a photographer of any nationality for their significant contribution to the medium of photography either through an exhibition or publication, in Europe between 1 October 2014 and 30 September 2015.
Paglen won for his exhibition The Octopus at Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt, Germany (20 June - 30 August 2015). Paglen’s project aims to represent complex topics like mass surveillance, data collection, classified satellite and drone activities and the systems of power connected to them. Paglen’s installation comprise images of restricted military and government areas, skylines showing the flight tracks of passing drones, sculptural elements and research assembled in collaboration with scientist, amateur astronomers and human rights activists. Through his work Paglen demonstrates that secrets cannot be hidden from view, but that their traces and structures are visible evidence in the landscape.
Brett Rogers, non-voting Chair of the Jury and Director of The Photographers’ Gallery said, on behalf of the jury: The jury recognised Trevor Paglen’s project The Octopus for its significant contribution to current issues that deal with the disquieting impact of the unseen aspects of technology on our daily lives. They acknowledged the depth of research and variety of approaches he has developed to deal with subjects ranging from government and military surveillance to drone warfare. He successfully transforms these invisible means of control into compelling aesthetic objects and photographs, often referencing modernist paintings.