Study Visit to the Deutsche Börse Prize

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“Chris Killip is the only established photographer in a shortlist full of artists. What does this say about contemporary photography?”

Sean O’Hagan has been asking the same question for as long as I can remember and this year is no different.  Which is why Brad Fueuerhelm’s opening comment describing voices whining in unison about who deserves to win such a prize (£30,000 and a huge amount of press and prestige) made me laugh in his relevant article on 1000wordsmagazine.

On 15th June we will go to The Photographer’s Gallery to see the shortlisted works for ourselves.  After that it would be good to have a discussion over coffee about some of the questions this polemic prize raises year after year.  Instead of asking you who you think should win… I’m going to ask you to please put Sean out of his misery…  What is contemporary photography anyway? (answers welcome below or on a postcard.)

A few interesting articles to whet your appetite…

Guardian (Adrian Searle)

1000 words


Guardian (Sean O’Hagan)

Places are free to all OCA students.  Please email to book your place.

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16 comments for “Study Visit to the Deutsche Börse Prize

  1. Lerpy
    22 April 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Looking forward to this one.

  2. Sharon
    22 April 2013 at 2:21 pm

    Perhaps it’s good to start by saying what contemporary photography is not… it is not (in my opinion) defined by whether the photographer has used a camera before or not.

  3. anned
    22 April 2013 at 3:18 pm

    Mishka Henner has some ideas about what photography is

    We saw a large scale print of something similar at Open Eye on Sat.
    I vote Broomberg and Chanarin, based on the fact they gave a great talk in Birmingham last year and quite inspired me!

  4. Stan Dickinson
    22 April 2013 at 5:04 pm

    Contemporary Photography is …

    … anything you want it to be.

  5. 25 April 2013 at 4:00 pm

    I went to the Photographer’s Gallery yesterday and the only photographer’s images I didn’t appropriate was the work of Henner – is that contemporary photography?

  6. 25 April 2013 at 5:22 pm

    I won’t be able to go on the Study Visit because I’ll be away but thanks for the links Sharon. I’ll come back if I find some good answers!

  7. 30 April 2013 at 8:27 am

    Why am I studying photography when all I’ve got to do is go onto Google and look for images taken by a van? Mishka Henner’s nomination might have some credibility judged against criteria around the definition of art, I’ll leave that discussion to others, but I think it totally devalues the craft of photography. For my next assignment I’m going to submit Google street view images of cars without tax discs! I wonder where that will get me.

    • anned
      30 April 2013 at 12:45 pm

      Probably the mark you deserve!

      I did submit GSV images (with other appropriated images) for my last aop assignment as I’m sure I have mentioned before. So if anyone reading has a more enlightened attitude to that kind of photographic work, I can reassure them that I survived assessment and got a very good mark.

    • Stan Dickinson
      30 April 2013 at 2:43 pm

      “… I think it totally devalues the craft of photography …”
      You might find that this was part of Henner’s intention. Like a lot of contemporary phtographic artists and students (including me!) he is grappling with the question of what a photographic image is in 2013.

  8. Sharon
    30 April 2013 at 2:46 pm

    “Photography is not a craft any more…” Jan Dibbets

  9. 30 April 2013 at 5:38 pm

    Here’s video that might help contextualise the photographer’s intentions:

  10. 16 May 2013 at 2:24 am

    Contemporary photography is … perhaps not what we expect to see and how we imagine what is not shown or left out.

    Contemporary photography is not … perhaps predictable and obvious.

    I refer to contemporary photography as art.

  11. 16 May 2013 at 9:41 am

    Having seen the Genesis exhibition by Salgado, I find myself questioning some of the views put forward here …

    • 16 May 2013 at 9:45 am

      By the way, I have been to see the exhibition but won’t be attending the study day as I am away at that time! It is certainly thought provoking and I think to describe Chris Kilip as the only serious photographer of the group is a misunderstanding. Photography is more about photographs than photographers …

  12. 12 June 2013 at 8:38 am

    War Primer 2 is available from Amazon at £2500 (only 1 available when I last looked) and will only increase in value as a limited edition of 100 copies (also limiting the number of the original work as a consequence… However it has been made freely available as a digital download here – and more than good value at the price I think!
    Salgado’s limited edition (with book-stand) is on offer here – other editions are available from Amazon 😉

    • 12 June 2013 at 5:00 pm

      Thanks for the links John!
      As to all this questions regarding what is contemporary photography, I feel that even if I do not relate to everything that is done, Personally, I see in contemporary photography a craze for exploration, a real freedom, and a real curiosity (this is the theme of the Aperture Magazine this month, very interesting). There is the path and the destination, we always look for answers but may be we should learn to be comfortable with the questions alone.

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