Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2015 exhibition opens at the Photographers’ Gallery

Untitled #70, from the series Relation, 1991-1993 © MAMM, Moscow / Nikolai Bakharev - Photography Prize 2015The Photographers’ Gallery in London has just opened its doors to the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2015 exhibition this weekend (17th April 2015) featuring the four international artists that have been shortlisted for the prestigious honour. Diversity and a rich tapestry of ideas and styles have been brought together by the judges to feature in the seven week exhibition, taking visitors from post Apartheid South Africa to the Russian public beaches of the 1980s and 90s.

The exhibition will be open to the public at the gallery, which is situated just around the corner from Oxford Circus on Ramillies Street, until the 7th June 2015. All exhibitions are free, so you won’t need to pay a penny to see the impressive collection of photography from the shortlisted artists. You’ll also get to see the two other exhibitions that will run alongside the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2015 show; The Chinese Photobook, looking at China’s unexplored history of photo book publishing, and Tamas Dezso: Notes For An Epilogue, featuring images from the artist’s native Hungary and neighbouring Romania.

The first of the four shortlisted photographers is Nikolai Bakharev, pictured above (Untitled #70, from the series Relation, 1991-1993 © MAMM, Moscow / Nikolai Bakharev – Photography Prize 2015), who spent much of the 80s and 90s photographing people in Russia at a time when photographs containing nudity was strictly forbidden. He was nominated following his exhibition at the 55th Biennale of Art in Venice in 2013, and his photography is typified by an air of rebellion and fun, which belies the sometimes stark reality of Russia at the time.

Vivianne Sassen’s work includes abstract photography, drawings and small form installations. She was nominated for Umbra exhibition at Nederlands Fotomuseum in Rotterdam in 2014, which contained work that was accompanied by specially commissioned poems by Maria Barnas. There’s a surreal metamorphosis that hides in her photography, especially her shadow collection (umbra is Latin for Shadow), which contains darker thoughts on human nature.

Visual activist, Vanele Muholi, has been nominated for her publication Faces and Phases 2006–2014, published through Steidl in 2014, which explores the issues faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in post Apartheid South Africa. It highlights the homophobia, discrimination and violence that underpins the situation, while also depicting the bravery of her sitters for making such a public stand.

The last of the four shortlisted work is the combined efforts of Mikhail Subotsky & Patrick Waterhouse, who have been nominated for their publication Ponte City, again published by Steidl in 2014. The photography focuses on a high rise apartment block in Johannesburg, which was built in 1976 for the wealthier white population under the apartheid regime. Over time it has gone on to become a home for black newcomers to the city, but now it is in decline following years of neglect, which has led to it being known more for urban decay, crime, prostitution and drug dealing.

The judges for the 2015 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize are Chris Boot, Executive Director, Aperture Foundation; Rineke Dijkstra, Artist; Peter Gorschlüter, Deputy Director, MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst and Anne Marie Beckmann, Curator, Art Collection Deutsche Börse. Having selected the four shortlisted artists, they will now turn their attention to awarding the outright winner, which will be announced at the award ceremony on the 28th May 2015. The prize will see the chosen photographer pick up the £30,000 annual award in recognition of their contribution to photography in Europe.

The Photography Prize is now in its eighteenth year, having been established back in 1996 by the Photographers’ Gallery. Past winners include the brilliant Richard Billingham in 1997, the exceptional portraiture of Juergen Teller in 2003 and Richard Mosse for his vivid, disturbing and psychedelic depiction of human tragedy in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2014 using a military surveillance film, which results in the image registering infrared light.

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