…its political thrust is an encouraging sign that photography is once again engaging with the real world in new and surprising ways.
Sean O'Hagan, The Guardian
Laura El-Tantawy (b. 1980, UK/Egypt), selected for her self-published photobook In the Shadow of the Pyramids (2015).
Covering from 2005 to 2014, this project depicts the atmosphere and rising tensions in Cairo in the events leading to and during the January revolution in Tahrir Square (2011-13). El-Tantawy grew up between Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the US, with In the Shadow of the Pyramids she explores parallel narratives of her own family’s history with the search for identity of a troubled nation. She combines old family photographs and her own lyrical witness accounts with close up portraits of protestors and streets scenes that vividly express the violence and euphoria
of the crowds.
Erik Kessels (b. 1966, The Netherlands) selected for his exhibition Unfinished Father, Fotografia Europea, Reggio Emilia, Italy (15 May – 31 July 2015).
In Unfinished Father Kessels reflects upon the fragmented realities of loss, memory and a life come undone as a result of his father’s debilitating stroke. Kessels uses his father’s unfinished restoration project of an old Fiat 500 as a representation of his current condition. He brings pieces of the unassembled body of the Topolino
car into the exhibition space and presents it alongside photographs of car parts and images that were taken by his father.
Trevor Paglen (b. 1974, USA) selected for his exhibition The Octopus at Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt, Germany (20 June - 30 August 2015).
Paglen’s project represents complex topics like mass surveillance, data collection, classified satellite and drone activities and the systems of power connected to them. His installation comprises of images of restricted military and government areas, skylines showing the flight tracks of passing drones, sculptural elements and
research assembled in collaboration with scientist, amateur astronomers and human rights activists.
Through his work Paglen demonstrates that secrets cannot be hidden from view, but that their traces and structures are visible evidence in the landscape.
Tobias Zielony (b. 1973, Germany) selected for The Citizen, exhibited as part of the German Pavilion presentation at the 56th Biennale of Arts, Venice, Italy (9 May - 22 November 2015).
Mostly taken in Berlin and Hamburg Zielony’s photographs portray the lives and circumstances of African refugee activists living in Europe. Fleeing violence and oppression in their home countries many arrive to the West in search of freedom and security only to find themselves living as outsiders in refugee-camps without legal representation or work permits. Presented alongside the images are first person accounts, interviews and narratives published by Zielony in African newspapers and magazines and reporting on the immigrants’ experiences and journeys.
Works by the shortlisted photographers will be exhibited at The Photographers’ Gallery from 15 April until 26 June 2016 and subsequently presented at the Deutsche Börse headquarters in Frankfurt/Eschborn.
The winner will be announced at a special award ceremony in 2016 during the run of the exhibition.