Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2019 shortlist announced

2 min


The winner will be announced at the official ceremony on May 16, 2019.

The organizers of the international competition Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2019 announced the finalists. Four photographers hit the shortlist: Laia Abril, Susan Meiselas, Arwed Messmer and Mark Ruwedel. They will take part in a joint exhibition, which will be held from March to June in The Photographers’ Gallery in London. The winner will be announced at the official ceremony on May 16, 2019.

Laia Abril, Illegal Instrument Kit

The Abortion Project is a visual study of the history of abortion. Spanish artist Laia Abril documents the physical and psychological risks caused by the inaccessibility of safe and free services. Her project includes audiovisual and textual elements illustrating the consequences of illegal procedures and asks complex questions of morality and ethics. It also addresses the social taboos that exist around the topic of abortion and women’s health. “On Abortion” is the first chapter of the long-term Abril project “A History of Misogyny”.

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A toolkit for illegal abortion. © Laia Abril, 2018

Susan Meiselas, Mediations

American Susan Meiselas–one of the leading documentary photographers of our time. She received wide popularity for her work in the hot spots of Central America (1978-1983). The themes of her work at various times became such issues as ethnic and religious conflicts, human rights violations and the sex industry. In her work, Susan uses different media: photographs, installations, audio, video, and printed texts. The project “Mediations” is a detailed retrospective of the works of Meiselas, shot in Europe from the 1970s to the present day.

Sandinistas at the headquarters of the Esteli National Guard, Nicaragua, 1979. Photo: Susan Meiselas

Arwed Messmer, RAF No Evidence

The work of the German Arwed Messmer talks about the activities of the “Red Army Faction” (or the RAF, Rote Armee Fraktion)–a radical left-wing extremist organization created in 1970. In his series, Messmer covers the period from 1967 to 1977. For the exhibition, which was held in the autumn of 2017, the photographer used materials from the archives, including criminal cases and the results of forensic examinations.

From the Arwed Messmer series. Photo: German Federal Archives

Mark Ruwedel, Antelope Valley 1438

Inspired by the conceptual art of the 1970s and 1980s, the American Mark Ruwedel has for many years documented the influence of geological, historical, and political events on the landscape of North America. Works presented at the exhibition were shot from 1995 to 2012. Mark combines documentary and conceptual methods of shooting, often photographing the same thing over time: an abandoned railway, nuclear test sites and abandoned houses. To emphasize the historicity of the captured processes, Ruwedel uses expired photo paper, traditional printing in a dark room, and handwritten text. Handmade photobooks are the central exhibits of the exhibition, emphasizing Mark’s interest in the craft of printing photos.

Antelope Valley 1438, 2008 © Mark Ruwedel, 2018

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