Photographer wins Deutsche Boerse prize for portrait of Diamond Reynolds, the woman who streamed her boyfriend's shooting

 
Lucy White
Luke Willis Thompson's work of Diamond Reynolds was captured on 35mm (Source: Luke Willis Thompson/The Photographers’ Gallery)

A filmic portrait of Diamond Reynolds, the woman who streamed her boyfriend's shooting at the hands of Minnesota police in 2016, has won the Deutsche Boerse Photography Foundation Prize 2018 at London’s Photographers’ Gallery.

Autoportrait, as the work is entitled, was composed by New Zealand artist Luke Willis Thompson. He was announced as the winner of the £30,000 award tonight by BBC Front Row broadcaster and journalist John Wilson, at a ceremony at The Photographers’ Gallery.

The portrait, shot on 35mm film, is silent apart from the whir of the film on the projector. It comprises barely more than a single shot of Reynolds, who appears unaware of the camera.

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Brett Rogers, director of The Photographers’ Gallery and non-voting chair of the judging panel, said Thompson was selected as "his singular and uncompromising portrait, made in collaboration with its subject Diamond Reynolds, was conceived as a way to return agency to the protagonist".

"The jury felt Autoportrait imbued the moving image format with the singular and almost obsessional quality of a still photograph, drawing attention to its materiality and challenging viewers to consider the personal stakes of representation in an environment at once intimate and collective," he added.

Thompson wanted to create a "sister image" to accompany Reynolds' widely watched Facebook Live stream, which captured the moment Philando Castile was fatally shot by a police officer.

"The project was felt to invite a timely and prescient conversation around the nature of image control, authorship and distribution in a way that expands rather than shuts down the debate," Rogers said.

Judges of the award included Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation director Anne-Marie Beckmann, curator and visiting research fellow at Westminster University Duncan Forbes, artist and editor Gordon MacDonald and artist Penelope Umbrico.

Thompson trained at the Elam School of Fine Arts University in Auckland and the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main. His works have been included in exhibitions such as the Sao Paulo Biennale, the Montreal Biennale, the Asia Pacific Triennial Queensland and the New Museum Triennial New York.

He has already won the 2014 Walters’ Prize, and has been nominated for the Turner Prize in 2018.

The 2018 prize also included works by artists Mathieu Asselin, Rafal Milach and Batia Suter, all of which will remain on display at The Photographers’ Gallery until 3 June 2018.

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