John Davies, Stockport Viaduct, England, 1986. © John Davies
The shortlist for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2008 has been announced, this year revealing a focus on important social and political subjects.
The shortlisted photographers are John Davies, Jacob Holdt, Esko Männikkö and Fazal Sheikh.
“This selection champions the work of four highly distinctive and individual voices within the photography world,” said Brett Rogers, Chair and Director of The Photographers’ Gallery.
“They all share a strong commitment to their chosen subject having developed a concentrated body of work over a sustained period of time. Covering a broad geographic terrain from Finland, to India, America and Britain, each of the four photographers address issues of critical importance and highlight the crucial role photography plays in our understanding of life in the 21st century.”
John Davies (b 1949, UK) has been nominated for The British Landscape, shown at the National Media Museum in Bradford from October 2006 to February 2007. The exhibition featured black and white panoramic images taken between 1979 and 2005, documenting the changing landscape of post-industrial Britain. The works combined the monumental with the banal, forming part of an ongoing study of our social, economic and industrial history.
Esko Männikkö, Untitled (25), 2005. © Esko Männikkö
Jacob Holdt (b 1947, Denmark) has been nominated for the publication Jacob Holdt, United States 1970-1975, published in 2007. It documents the five years he spent hitchhiking across the States, with portraits of the people he met and stayed with, from the poorest Southern sharecroppers to extremely wealthy families. The images expose the social and racial injustices of Nixon’s America.
Esko Männikkö (b 1959, Finland) is a portraitist of isolation, documenting with warmth and humour the lives of people on the peripheries of society. He has been nominated for his restrospective Cocktails 1990-2007 at Millesgarden, Stockholm, which featured a mixture of portraits, still life and landscapes shown in weathered wooden frames.
Fazal Sheikh (b 1965, USA) is an artist-activist who creates photographic portraits of different communities around the world. He has been nominated for his Ladli project, published in 2007, examining the enduring prejudices against women in contemporary Indian society. The powerful black and white portraits and individual testimonies highlight how ancient religious and cultural codes still make them victims.
The prestigious prize aims to reward the photographer who has made the most significant contribution to the medium in Europe in the previous year (between October 2006 and September 2007). The photographer may be of any nationality.
The winner will be announced on March 5 2008, and the annual photography prize exhibition will run from February 8-April 6 2008 at the Photographers’ Gallery in London.