Paglen moves between photography, film, video, sculpture and installation, and received an Oscar in 2015 for his contributions to the film Citizenfour. His work is political, concerned with US government surveillance: Paglen maps the flight path of drones, photographs classified surveillances sites, chases fighter jets. In an age of re-touched, overproduced images, Paglen welcomes distortion, so much so that some of the pictures are almost abstract. The photographer has said his blurriness is a metaphor as well as an aesthetic decision; it represents his struggle to reveal the extent of the government's skullduggery.
Established by The Photographers’ Gallery in 1996, the is awarded annually for a publication or exhibition that has contributed significantly to the field of photography. Described as “the biggest and most prestigious of its kind in photography in Europe”, the prize can be awarded to a living photographer of any nationality
This year, contemporary issues ruled the nominations: surveillance drones, refugee camps, the tears of Egyptian women.
We loved the work of Erik Kessels, though it was always unlikely to win. His name was the most surprising on the list. The nominated project, Unfinished Father has no bearing on contemporary issues and he deals in 'found photography', or the re-appropriation of discarded photographs; an unpopular genre. The poignant project gathers his father's photographs of disused car-parts: he used to restore Fiats before he suffered a stroke which left him unable to move or speak.
German documentary photographer Tobias Zielony was our personal favourite: his project The Citizen documents the everyday lives of African refugees in Germany. We see them playing music, staring out at the dusk. None of the drama and gore of the tabloids; just people, passing time. An incredible powerful set of images.
The fourth nominee is Laura El-Tantawy, who was nominated for her self-published photo-book In the Shadow of the Pyramids. Her work is the opposite of Zielony's; all of it high-drama, heartstring-tugging stuff, taken in Tahrir Square in the months before Egypt's 2011 revolution. The images are certainly powerful, but over-processed and ever-so-slightly mawkish. We'd have loved to see the work of other female photographer's in the shortlist, like Iranian photojournalist Newsha Tavakolian or the award-winning New York Times photographer Carolyn Drake.
|What||Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2016, Photographers’ Gallery|
The Photographers' Gallery
16-18 Ramillies Street, London, W1F 7LW | MAP
|Nearest tube||Oxford Circus (underground)|
16 Apr 16 – 26 Jun 16, Mon – Fri: 10.00 - 18.00
Thu: 10.00 - 20.00 during exhibitions
Sat: 10.00 - 18.00
Sun: 11.00 - 18.00 Last admission 30 minutes before Gallery closes
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