Non-photographer Wins Photography Prize

I’ve nothing against photo-montage. I’ve written about it and admire many of the classic works by photomonteurs such as the Dada artist John Heartfield as well as more recent work. I’ve even allowed my own pictures to be used in photomontage, but it isn’t photography. There have been photographers who have worked with photomontage, and again there are some I admire – such as Misha Gordin, as well as a few who I think are mildly interesting, including Jerry Uelsmann, and a few whose work I find simply sick.

John Stezaker, the winner of this year’s  £30,000 Deutsche Börse prize at the London Photographers’ Gallery is not a photographer, but that doesn’t seem to matter, and the 2007 prize went to Walid Raad who also didn’t take the pictures he used.

Writing in The Guardian, Sean O’Hagan commented:

Does that matter? Evidently not – except to other practitioners who may think photography still has something to do with deep seeing, and then capturing that moment of deep seeing, in a split second. That is now in danger of fast becoming an irredeemably old-fashioned idea, both in the teaching of photography and in the market-driven curating of photography.

I’m one of those old-fashioned practitioners, and rather resent a photography prize being awarded to a non-photographer. I quite like some of Stezaker’s work – the prize was for his Whitechapel Gallery show – and although it reminds me very much of the kind of thing that other artists have been doing almost since the start of photography (well before Dada and the Surrealists), he certainly sometimes does it very well. But it ain’t photography!

You can also read about it on PDN, BJP and again in The Guardian in a piece by arts correspondent Mark Brown among other places.

One Response to “Non-photographer Wins Photography Prize”

  1. […] and the work for which they were shortlisted was photography. I think it most likely that, as last year, the prize will go to a […]

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