Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize brings light to international politics, identity, and migration
Beginning April 15th, the Photographer’s Gallery in Soho will host the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize (DBPFP) and subsequent exhibition of the nominees’ work. The DBPFP is renowned as Europe’s biggest photo award with the prize being £30,000 for the best exhibition by a living photographer of any nationality. The 2016 exhibition focuses on political concerns, identity, and migration and features the work of nominees Laura El-Tantawy, Erik Kessels, Trevor Paglen, and Tobias Zielony. In response to the subject matter and content, the exhibit has been praised by The Guardian in that “Its political thrust is an encouraging sign that photography is once again engaging with the real world in new and surprising ways.”
Each of the nominated photographers brings their own style and vision to the exhibition based on their personal experiences and backgrounds. Laura El-Tantawy, a UK/Egypt native, will be presenting her self-published photobook, In the Shadow of the Pyramids. Her work is a nine-year culmination of the rising tensions in Cairo, Egypt leading up to and during the eventual revolution in Tahrir Square from 2011-2013. Within In the Shadow of the Pyramids, El-Tantawy “explores parallel narratives of her own family’s history with the search for identity of a troubled nation.” In combining family photos with with witness accounts and portraits of street protesters, she captures the vivid violence and euphoria of the crowds and nation.
Erik Kessels of The Netherlands will be presenting his collection titled Unfinished Father, a reflection upon “the fragmented realities of loss, memory and a life come undone as a result of his father’s debilitating stroke.” Using his father’s unfinished restoration of an old Fiat 5oo as a metaphor for his condition, Kessels presents the pieces of the unassembled car alongside images taken by his father.
Trevor Paglen of the United States of America will be presenting his collection titled The Octopus which focuses on the topics of mass surveillance, data collection, and classified satellite drone activities. The Octopus is comprised of images of restricted government areas, skylines showing the flight tracks of passing drones, sculptural elements, and research assembled with the help of scientists, astronomers, and human rights activists.
Tobias Zielony of Germany will be presenting his collection titled The Citizen, a photographic portrayal of the lives and circumstances of African refugee activists living in Europe. In an attempt to flee the violence and oppression occurring in their own countries and reach a place of freedom and security, the refugees were greeted by the West with ostracizing refugee camps and a lack of legal representation or work permits. The collection is presented alongside first person accounts, interviews, and narratives published by Zielony in African newspapers and magazines.
The works of the nominated photographers will be exhibited from April 15th to June 26th and the winner of the DBPFP will be announced in May. For more information on the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation or the Photographer’s Gallery and how to buy tickets, visit their website.