“The works selected here have all run up against a more or less bitter-sweet reality, and their authors have liberally arranged, glued, assembled, masked and cut out the components of that reality in order to present it to us as something different, eminently subjective, and decidedly moving,” writes Raphaëlle Stopin, artistic advisor for the 2018 Prix HSBC. She’s writing of the 12 photographers shortlisted for two top prizes, which this year have gone Antoine Bruy (France, 1986) and Petros Efstathiadis (Greece, 1980). The other shortlisted photographers are: Olivia Gay (France, 1973), with the series Envisagées; Karin Crona (Sweden 1968), De la possibilité d’une image; Elsa Leydier (France, 1988), Platanos con platino; Sandra Mehl (France, 1980), Ilona et Maddelena; Shinji Nagabe (Brazil, 1975), Espinha; Michele Palazzi (Italy 1984), Finisterrae; Walker Pickering (USA, 1980), Esprit de corps; Marie Quéau (France, 1985), Odds and ends; Brea Souders (USA, 1978), Film electric; and Vladimir Vasilev (Bulgaria, 1977), T(h)races.
“Great storytelling is never merely about facts,” explains Donald Weber. “D-Day actually happened, and as such it can be studied in detail. As an historical event, however, it has the potential to vibrate myth. Together, quantifiable and relative aspects are defining the essence of storytelling which, in itself, is the ultimate art performed in War Sand.” Weber is referring to his latest project, born of the idea that sand is mnemonic and, for this photographer, it is a repository that has retained the war stories of his grandfather, a commando in the Canadian army. Shortly after publishing Interrogations in 2011, Weber says he “needed to recover from my experiences in Ukraine, where I documented all-too-real interrogations of suspected criminals”.