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Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2007

The winner of the annual Deutsche Börse Photography Prize was announced on 21 March 2007: Walid Raad/The Atlas Group. The other photographers who were shortlisted for this year’s prize are: Philippe Chancel, Anders Petersen and Fiona Tan.

The work represented ranges from photojournalism to intimate social photography and from the exploration of the complexity of culture and place to the documentation of contemporary history.

The £30,000 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2007 was presented to the winner, Walid Raad for his project The Atlas Group, at the Photographers' Gallery in London. An exhibition of all four finalists’ works was first shown at the Photographers' Gallery London and then at C/O Berlin. From 3 September – 19 October the exhibition was presented at Deutsche Börse Group's headquarters in Frankfurt.

The Jury

Nominations were made by the Academy, a group invited by The Photographers’ Gallery and representing photography institutions throughout Europe. These nominations were for a significant exhibition or publication and the final shortlist was made by the Jury, chaired by Brett Rogers, Director of The Photographers’ Gallery. The other Jury members for 2007 are: Krysztof Candrowicz (Poland), Director, Lodz Art Center; Shirana Shahbazi, (Iran) artist & winner of the 2002 Photography Prize; Urs Stahel, (Switzerland) Director, Fotomuseum Winterthur and Anne-Marie Beckmann, (Frankfurt), Curator, Art Collection Deutsche Börse.

The shortlisted Artists

Philippe Chancel (b. 1959, France) nominated for his exhibition DPRK, shown at the Arles Photography Festival, France (4 July – 17 September 2006). Chancel has been working as a photojournalist for the last 20 years, investigating the shifting and complex terrain between art, documentary and journalism. Taken in North Korea in 2005, the luscious color photographs in this series provide a chilling and detached comment on the monumental political narcissism under which the country operates. In DPRK, Chancel manages to capture the all encompassing aesthetic of communist ideology, as well as the finely orchestrated details of its daily propaganda: a rare glimpse into a totalitarian state usually closed off to Western eyes.

Image: Kim Ill-sung S, before the celebrations begin

Anders Petersen (b. 1944, Sweden) nominated for his exhibition About Gap and St Etienne, shown at the Arles Photography Festival, France (4 July – 17 September 2006). Petersen first became known for his seminal series Café Lehmitz (published in 1978), a daily chronicle of a Hamburg coffee shop frequented by transvestites and prostitutes. Since then, Petersen has continued to explore people on the fringes of society through his camera, and developed his own distinct style - a raw and intimate social photography aiming to show the hidden aspects of human nature. The series About Gap and St Etienne, which resulted from a two-week residency in these two southern French towns in 2005, exude a poetic sadness, restlessness and sense of urgency that characterizes his photography.

Image: Untitled from the series Gap, 2005

Fiona Tan (b. 1966, Indonesia), nominated for her exhibition Mirror Maker at Landesgalerie in Linz, Austria (1 June – 20 August 2006). The human subject is central to her work through which she questions and explores the complexities of culture and place and how these elements come to shape our individual identity. Combining both photographic and film footage in her practice, the exhibition included past and more recent projects dealing with portraiture and the nature of photography; including Vox Populi (2004), a photographic installation that captures key moments in the lives of more than 100 Norwegian families over several generations, and Countenance, a typological inquiry in 200 filmic portraits, produced in Berlin in 2002.

Image: Installation of Mirror Make

The Atlas Group, a project by Walid Raad (b. 1967, Lebanon), has been nominated for the exhibition The Atlas Group Project at Nationalgalerie im Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum für Gegenwart in Berlin, Germany (22 September 2006 – 7 January 2007). The Atlas Group is a project undertaken by Walid Raad between 1989 and 2004 to research and document the contemporary history of Lebanon. However, the authenticity of the photographic and video documents in this archive is continuously queried, leaving the viewer uncertain how history - in particular one marked by the trauma of civil war - can be told and visually represented. The ‘documents’ in the exhibition appear based on a person’s actual memories but also draw on cultural fantasies constructed from the material of collective memories.

Image: Onlookers

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