Man asleep on the Golden Mile, Durban, South Africa. Image copyright Michelle Sank
South African-born photographer Michelle Sank has clinched the single image category in the British Journal of Photography's International Photography Award.
The image, which shows a man asleep in a park just off the Golden Mile in Durban, was described by judges Nick Galvin, Bruno Ceschel and Diane Smyth as both surreal and disturbing, and was picked out from 338 other entries because of its quiet, enduring intensity. "The more I look at it, the more powerful it becomes," commented Galvin, who manages the archive at Magnum London. Ceschel runs the self-published book archive Self Publish, Be Happy, and Smyth is the deputy editor of the British Journal of Photography.
Sank now lives in the UK but originally grew up in Durban, and knows the Golden Mile well. Once notorious for crime, the strip is now safe to visit reflects the extremes of rich and poor in South Africa. "Returning after many years away, this area looked like a microcosm for both the new South Africa and the remnants of the previous State," she says. "This man and his loaf of bread symbolised so much for me about a traditional way of being there."
The image comes from a longer project on the Golden Mile, which Sank is still working on. She plans to revisit Durban in December to continue work on the essay. Sank's image will be printed by leading fine art printers Spectrum Photo in Brighton, and will go on display at the AOP from 02-06 November along with Peter diCampo's project Life Without Light, which won the body of work prize. Sank also wins a Sigma DP2s.
Note: Apologies to everyone who posted comments on this story first time around - I decided to repost it because, having spoken to the photographer, I realised describing it as an 'image of poverty', in the original version of this article, was an oversimplification. In fairness to Michelle, I wanted to correct it. Please post again - it's great to see so much debate stem from one single image. And please make a note of the competition for next year - we'll be back and it would be great to see your single image entries next time around....Thanks, Diane
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