It’s the 21st year of the prize, and this year the shortlisted projects by Mathieu Asselin, Rafal Milach, Batia Suter, and Luke Willis Thompson all “reflect a shared concern with the production and manipulation of knowledge and systems of representation through visual formats”, say the organisers of the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2018. Mathieu Asselin (b. 1973, France) has been nominated for Monsanto: A Photographic Investigation, which was published this year by Actes Sud and exhibited at Les Rencontres d’Arles, and which has already won the First Book of the Year in the Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation Photobook Awards 2017.
For Susannah Ray to get into the centre of New York city, she must first travel over a series of bridges and waterways. Whether driving across Jamaica Bay or taking the subway from her home in Rockaway Beach, Queens to Brooklyn or Manhattan, she repeatedly finds herself captivated by the sights she encounters – the sky changing colour above the water; the birdwatchers on the shores; men fishing near a scrap metal yard, up to their waists in waders. She sees groups of people performing religious rituals, gatherings and prayers on the banks of the river. She sees more simply being. Ray’s image of New York is utterly coloured by its relationship with the water. So when she decided to create a portrait on the city, she decided to use those urban waterways to weave it all together. “The water serves so many different purposes for so many different people,” she says. “It acted as a focal point. The communal draw symbolises that idea of coexistence.”
“When you go out into the landscape, frankly if you’re saying I think this a wonderful landscape and you take a picture, why didn’t you buy a postcard?” says David Hurn, in an interview with Christopher Frayling published in his new book, Arizona Trips.
“The people that do postcards have spent more time, they know the light and they get it right,” he adds. “It just doesn’t interest me that much.” His shots of Arizona, which he photographed for 20 years, do something very different, focusing instead on the locals and on their interventions on the natural world in the southwestern US state. From billboards in the desert to paper cups protecting cactus plants from frost, and from rodeo events to Dolly Parton lookalike contests, his is a distinctly anthropocentric, gently humorous, look at life in the southwestern US state.
Anna Alix Koffi realised that the issue of women in photojournalism was so big that it warranted a publication of its own, and started thinking out a framework for a second edition of Visa Paper focusing on work by women. “I realised I could do this because there are women artists everywhere I go,” she says. “Most of the time publications don’t focus on women, but I knew that Woman Paper Visa would be special because women in photojournalism is a strong thing. It’s much more difficult than any other form of photography.”
In Money Must Be Made, Lorenzo Vitturi’s latest photobook, the photographs address the question of how, not merely where. It is not exceptional to visit a market in Lagos with a camera, especially if, as white, you are working within a tradition of photography that depicts Africans in despair and as NGO-needy. What distinguishes this work is the complexity suggested, an indication that the market – one of the largest in west Africa – is connected to its people and products in many, many ways.
Famously elusive, and unwilling to to discuss his work, the only way to get to an insight into Krass Clement’s photography is through the images themselves – but even they are cloaked in mystery. “There is a certain melancholia in my work,” he says. “I am quite attracted by it. After all I come from Scandinavia so it is a sort of second nature. And yes, a lot of my work can be characterised as being about loneliness. But I don’t want to get too philosophical about those aspects. I hope that the books I produce speak for themselves, and don’t require too many footnotes or conceptual analyses about the nature of reality, states of minds or the role of metaphors.” Born in 1946 in Denmark, Clement has shot over 20 photobooks over the years, and has shown his work in spaces such as the Bibliothek Nationale, Paris, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. He taught himself how to make photographs, and his most famous photobook, Drum, was shot over a single night …
Luce Lebart has hopped across the Atlantic Ocean to take the helm of the newly-minted Canadian Photography Institute (CPI), which fills the large gap left by the abrupt and permanent closure of the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography in 2009, thanks to the support of Scotiabank, the Archive of Modern Conflict and the National Gallery of Canada Foundation
“I lived there, I grew up there, and I loved it very much,” Latif Al Ani has said of his home, Baghdad. “All of it has been devastated, and most of it has vanished.” Known as the founding father of Iraqi photography, Al Ani captured the country in its cosmopolitan Golden Age from the late 1950s to the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq War in 1980. Employed by the Iraqi Petroleum Company in the 1950s, he went on to found the photography department in the Iraqi government’s Ministry of Information and Guidance in 1960, and to become the head of photography at the Iraqi News Agency in the 1970s.
“The central thing is that the images are humanising and affectionate,” says Gideon Mendel says of his series The Ward. “They are life-affirming pictures, even though everyone they focused on did sadly die within a year of me taking them.” Originally from South Africa, Gideon Mendel is a committed photojournalist who has spent much of the last 20 years raising awareness of the global HIV/AIDS crisis, publishing numerous books on the subject shot in various countries. Now, as part of the Fitzrovia Chapel’s Lineage Programme, he’s showing his first-ever work on it.
Contrasting images of children shot in Congo and in Spain, Vicente Paredes questions perceptions of wealth and happiness, freedom and self-consciousness. Pony Congo is now going on show at Espace Images Vevey; this is an update of a BJP interview first published in 2016. “You have to bear in mind that the kids in my book will never meet in real life. It is the viewer who must imagine what would happen if they were to meet. Ideas such as colonialism, misery, pity and mistrust are in our minds, not in the pictures themselves.”