The four artists shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2012 are Pieter Hugo, Rinko Kawauchi, John Stezaker and Christopher Williams.
This selection showcases diverse approaches to photography, from portraits taken in the toxic waste dumps of Ghana, to exquisite images of everyday moments and the conceptual use of found imagery.
The artists have been nominated for the following projects:
Pieter Hugo (b.1976, South Africa) is nominated for his publication Permanent Error, published by Prestel (Germany, 2011). Permanent Error centres on a vast dumping ground for technological waste on the outskirts of Ghana’s capital city. Focusing on the young slum-dwellers who are burning the discarded, industrial rubbish to survive, Hugo’s stark photographs of this bleak landscape expose the consequences and ethics of disposal of the West’s consumption of ever-new technology.
Rinko Kawauchi (b.1972, Japan) is nominated for her publication Illuminance, published by Editions Xavier Barral (France, 2011). In her work, Kawauchi creates an imaginary space where the fantastical is possible— evoking moments of dreams, memory and temporality. The images in her book Illuminance, the results of both commissions and personal projects, span fifteen years of her practice and have the ability to turn the mundane into the extraordinary and poetic.
John Stezaker (b.1949, UK) is nominated for his exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK (29 January – 18 March 2011). Spanning more than 40 years, Stezaker’s collages re-examine the multi-facetted relationships we have to the photographic image. Through his elegant and often perplexing juxtapositions of appropriated images found in books, magazines and postcards, Stezaker adopts the content and contexts of the original images to convey his own witty and poignant meanings.
Christopher Williams (b.1956, USA) is nominated for his exhibition Kapitalistischer Realismus at Dům umění České Budějovice, Budweis, Czech Republic (5 May – 12 June 2011). As much conceptual artist as photographer, Williams has been creating images of cameras, models, vehicles and other technical apparatus for the last 40 years. Alluding to and borrowing from the world of commercial photography he continuously questions what can constitute a photograph and how much the actual visual content of that photograph matters.
The annual award of £30,000 rewards a living photographer, of any nationality, for a specific body of work in an exhibition or publication format, which has significantly contributed to the medium of photography in Europe between 1 October 2010 and 30 September 2011.
The members of this year's Jury are: François Hébel, Director, Les Rencontres d'Arles; Martin Parr, artist; Beatrix Ruf, Director/Curator, Kunsthalle Zürich; and Anne-Marie Beckmann, Curator, Art Collection Deutsche Börse, Germany. Brett Rogers, Director of The Photographers’ Gallery, is the non-voting Chair.