Disorder Prize

I’m not sure what I think about the various prize competitions we now have in photography. Often they seem to be rather unfair, and I was certainly heartened to hear the winner of one literary prize being interviewed on Radio 4 recently who had decided to share the large cash award equally with the other short-listed writers, whose work he said was equally deserving.

I find I often don’t agree with the judges in photographic competitions, and things are seldom so clear that I don’t feel a different and equally qualified panel would have come to a different verdict.

One of the biggest prizes – at least financially is the Prix Pictet, and on PDN you can read Shortlist for $105K Prix Pictet Announced, and the 12 photographers on the list for the 6th series of the prize on the subject of ‘Disorder‘ include some very well known names as well as a couple I’ve not come across before:

Ilit Azoulay (Israel); Valérie Belin (France); Matthew Brandt (USA); Maxim Dondyuk (Ukraine); Alixandra Fazzina (UK); Ori Gersht (Israel); John Gossage (USA); Pieter Hugo (South Africa); Gideon Mendel (South Africa); Sophie Ristelhueber (France); Brent Stirton (South Africa); Yang Yongliang (China).

It’s perhaps a surprising that the photographers come form only seven countries, with three South Africans and two each from France, Israel and the USA.

In the PDN article there is an image by each of them and in all but one case a link to their work on the web. The Prix Pictet link currently only has a couple of pictures by each of them on its ‘Portfolios’ page.

The series ‘Eleven Blowups’, images of bomb craters by Sophie Ristelhueber was a part of the work that won her the 2010 Deutsche Borse Photography prize at the London Photographers’ Gallery. As the article from the Daily Telegraph explains, these were not pictures of real craters, but computer simulations of bomb craters based on images by other photographers, and using “details of her own pictures of rocks and stones that she had shot in Syria, Turkmenistan, Palestine and the West Bank.” Not my kind of photography.

There are others whose work I don’t have a great deal of sympathy with as well, but also some truly moving and impressive work. I was fortunate to see Gideon Mendel talking and showing work at a meeting in London a few months ago from his ‘Drowning World‘ which includes a series of portraits of flood victims, including one taken around a mile from where I live as well as others around the world.

I’ll leave you to discover the other great work for yourselves from the links in the PDN article. There are four or five among the dozen who I think deserve the first prize!

As well as the monetary prize, there is also a commission awarded “in which a nominated photographer is invited to undertake a field trip to a region where Pictet is supporting a sustainability project.”  The short-listed work will be shown in Paris at the Musée d’Art Moderne da la Ville de Paris and the winners announced in  November 2015.

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