CREATED by the Photographers Gallery back in 1994, this annual award celebrates an exhibition or publication that has made a significant contribution to European photography. With less than two weeks left to catch the showcase of the nominated artists, here is a final appraisal and a few predictions as to who might be walking away with the £30,000 grand prize:
Mishka Henner’s No Mans Land explores the darker uses of the Internet and a new voyeurism offered by photography in the digital age. It is a lively display but the invasion of neon hot-pants on these calm, sunny scenes make a curious and unsettling installation. Prediction: Unlikely to win.
Chris Killips’ What Happened Great Britain 1970-1990 uses photographs from the late 70’s and 80’s to explore the effects of deindustrialization in communities across Britain. His balanced compositions make for some touching monochrome tableaus. Prediction: It could be a dark horse.
Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin’s limited edition book War Primer 2 shows sensational media images from the War on Terror directly printed over Bertold Brecht’s 1955 photo-essay, War Primer. The duo used terms from Brecht’s poems to generate search results from Google Images, drawing parallels and contrasts between WWII and the present day. Prediction: It is a project you will either love or hate so could go either way.
Christina De Middel’s The Afronauts draws on her experiences as a photojournalist and her distrust of documentary photographs. It reinterprets a post-independence Zambian space effort from 1964, which aimed to send the first African astronaut to the moon. She invites us to embrace photography’s capacity for story telling and challenges images of Africa that focus solely on hunger and war. Prediction: Strange at first but surely something the jury have grown to love. Potential winner.