In 2007, Subotzky and Patrick Waterhouse began a six-year project about the infamous Johannesburg skyscraper. Now, a new addition to the work focuses on its dystopian core — an almost 200-metre long abyss running up its centre
Justine Kurland, Alfredo Jaar, Rhiannon Adam, Cao Fei and others, reflect on the idea of Utopia amid the current crisis — the first in a series of articles inviting artists to respond to a theme with image and text
“I became interested in photography in the late 1940s and began to look at magazines such as Life, Look, and Picture Post,” David Goldblatt told Colin Pantall, writing for BJP in 2013. “In the early 1950s, I tried to become a magazine photographer. I sent my pictures to Picture Post and got rejected. Then, when the African National Congress became active in their struggle against apartheid, Tom Hopkinson, the editor of Picture Post, contacted me and asked if I could make something. So I went to an ANC meeting and photographed everything I saw. That was in 1952.
“I shot and I shot and I shot and then I realised that I was using a long roll of film – film that had failed to engage on the sprocket of the Leica I was using. It was an incredibly basic mistake. But the other thing I realised was that I wasn’t really interested in what was happening around me.
“After the ANC meeting, I discovered I had to understand what I was competent in and what I was interested in. That took some years to probe, until I could get to the underbelly of the society that underlay South Africa. And to understand it visually, I also had to get a grasp on the history of the country. So I did a degree, which included courses in English and economic history. This taught me how to think and understand what was happening around me.
“My father died in 1963. I was 32 with three children and a family, but I sold the shop [the family business] and, with a couple of Leicas and the capital to keep on going for a year, I became a full-time photographer.”
“I’m a bit at a loss at the moment; to say that I’m honoured feels like an understatement,” says photographer Daniel Shea, who has won the 12th Foam Paul Huf Award. “I’ve been following this award and Foam for a long time, and I feel incredibly honored, grateful, lucky, and humbled by this opportunity.” Shea has won the prize with his series 43-35 10th Street, described as a reflection on late capitalism and its effects on New York City. He wins €20,000 and a solo show at the Foam Fotografiemuseum in Amsterdam, which will take place in Autumn this year.
Mikhael Subotzky and Patrick Waterhouse were awarded the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2015 at The Photographers’ Gallery this evening, Thursday 28 May 2015. The £30,000 award was presented by previous prize winners Oliver Chanarin on behalf of the artist duo Broomberg & Chanarin. Subotzky and Waterhouse won for their publication Ponte City (Steidl, 2014), which depicts a 54-floor apartment block in Johannesburg, built in 1976 for a white elite under apartheid rule. After the end of Apartheid, it became a refuge for black newcomers to the city and immigrants from all over Africa, and it came to be seen as the prime symbol of urban decay in the city – the epicentre of crime, prostitution and drug dealing. Subotzky and Waterhouse began their project in 2007 after a failed regeneration project. Working with remaining residents and using photographs, architectural plans, archival and historical material, they created an intimate social portrait of the building’s community of residents. An accompanying sequence of seventeen booklets containing essays and personal stories complete the visual and spatial narrative of this …
Africa figures large in the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2015, with nominations for South African photographers Mikhael Subotzky and Zanele Muholi, and for Viviane Sassen, a Dutch photographer who was raised in Kenya and chooses to make work on the continent. Subotzky is nominated for his collaboration with UK born editor and artist Patrick Waterhouse, however, while Russian photographer Nikolai Bakharev completes the four-strong shortlist. Works by the shortlisted photographers will be exhibited at The Photographers’ Gallery in London from 17 April until 07 June 2015 before going to the MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt; the winner of the £30,000 prize will be announced at The Photographers’ Gallery at an awards ceremony on 28 May 2015. Image-makers are nominated for the annual prize for specific bodies of work exhibited or published in Europe over the preceding 12 months; this year Sassen (b. 1972) – whose fashion photography is currently on show at The Photographers’ Gallery – has been nominated for her exhibition Umbra, shown at Nederlands Fotomuseum in Rotterdam from 08 March until 01 June 2014. Bakharev (b. 1946) has been nominated for his exhibition …