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Susan Meiselas wins the “Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2019”

Release date:
17 May 2019
| Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation

Susan Meiselas wins the “Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2019”

Susan Meiselas was announced as the winner of the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2019 in London on Thursday night, 16 May at a special ceremony at the Photographers’ Gallery. She has been awarded the prestigious £30,000 prize for her first European retrospective Mediations at Jeu de Paume, Paris 2018.

A leading documentary photographer, Meiselas is widely acknowledged for her work in the conflict zones of Central America (1978–1983), and in particular for her powerful photographs of the Nicaraguan revolution. Drawing on more than four decades of experience photographing around the world, Meiselas favours an immersive approach, often collaborating with the communities she photographs over long periods of time and has focused on a wide range of challenging issues from ethnic and religious conflicts, human rights issues to the sex industry. Mediations was the most comprehensive European retrospective of Meiselas’ work to date, which brought together series’ from the 1970s to the present day. The exhibition reveals her unique approach as an artist who has constantly questioned the status of the image in relation to the context in which it appears.

The winner was selected by the members of the 2019 Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize jury, comprising: 
Sunil Gupta, artist, writer, activist and curator; Diane Dufour, Director of Le Bal, Paris; Felix Hoffmann, Chief Curator at C/O Berlin; Anne-Marie Beckmann, Director, Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation, Frankfurt. Brett Rogers, Director, The Photographers’ Gallery, London, continues as the non-voting chair.

Brett Rogers, Director, The Photographers’ Gallery and Chair of Jury, said:  
“Susan’s consistent approach to the medium and her personal investment in the stories, histories and communities she documents, has carved out a new and important form of socially engaged photography.  It is one that proposes a sustainable and on-going relationship with the people and their contexts and feels especially relevant and resonant today.”

Anne-Marie Beckmann, Director, Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize, said: 
“We congratulate the winner, Susan Meiselas, whose varied and highly topical work reflects a heightened commitment to the photographic form whilst recognising the photographer’s responsibility to the issues and subjects.  We are very much looking forward to presenting the exhibition at our premises this summer as part of a special program on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Art Collection Deutsche Börse.”

The work of all 2019 shortlisted artists, Laia Abril, Susan Meiselas, Arwed Messmer and Mark Ruwedel remain on display at The Photographers’ Gallery until 2 June 2019. The exhibition will then tour to Deutsche Börse's headquarters, The Cube, in Eschborn/Frankfurt from 14 June until 23 August 2019. 

The 2019 shortlist explores a vast range of topical issues through the lens and language of photography. Collectively their projects explore state and gender politics, social injustice, human rights and conceptual approaches to image making. This year’s projects reflect the experimental possibilities of photography, the documentation and research behind presenting such work, and how images can change their meaning and identity according to how they might be presented.

The annual award was established by The Photographers’ Gallery, London, in 1996 and is awarded together with the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation. The £30,000 prize rewards a living photographer, of any nationality, for a specific body of work in an exhibition or publication format in Europe, which is felt to have significantly contributed to the medium of photography between 1 October 2017 and 30 September 2018.

Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation
The Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation is a Frankfurt-based non-profit organisation. The foundation activities focus on collecting, exhibiting and promoting contemporary photography. Deutsche Börse began to build up its collection of contemporary photography in 1999. Art Collection Deutsche Börse now comprises more than 1,800 works by over 126 international artists. Expanding the Art Collection Deutsche Börse is one of the key aims of the foundation. The collection and a changing exhibition programme are open to the public. Together with The Photographers' Gallery in London, the foundation awards the renowned Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize each year. The promotion of young artists is a special concern of the foundation. It supports them in the form of awards, scholarships, exhibitions and cooperations with other institutions, such as the Foam Talents Programme of the Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam. Other focal points include supporting exhibition projects of international museums and institutions, and the expansion of platforms for academic discussion about the medium.

The Photographers’ Gallery
The Photographers’ Gallery opened in 1971 in Great Newport Street, London, as the UK’s first independent gallery devoted to photography. It was the first public gallery in the UK to exhibit many key names in international photography, including Juergen Teller, Robert Capa, Sebastiano Salgado and Andreas Gursky. The Gallery has also been instrumental in establishing contemporary British photographers, including Martin Parr and Corinne Day. In 2009, the Gallery moved to 16 – 18 Ramillies Street in Soho, the first stage in its plan to create a 21st century home for photography. Following an eighteen months long redevelopment project, the Gallery reopened to the public in 2012. The success of The Photographers’ Gallery over the past four decades has helped to establish photography as a recognised art form, introducing new audiences to photography and championing its place at the heart of visual culture.

The Photography Prize History
Originated in 1996 by The Photographers’ Gallery, and now in its twenty-second year, the Prize has become one of the most prestigious international arts awards and has launched and established the careers of many photographers over the years. Previously known as the Citigroup Photography Prize, the Gallery has been collaborating with Deutsche Börse Group as title sponsors since 2005. In 2016 the Prize was retitled as the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize following the establishment of the foundation as a non-profit organisation dedicated to the collection, exhibition and promotion of contemporary photography. 

Winner of the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2018 was Luke Willis Thompson for autoportrait, a filmic portrait of Diamond Reynolds. Past winners have included Dana Lixenberg, Trevor Paglen, Paul Graham, Juergen Teller, Rineke Dijkstra, Richard Billingham, John Stezaker and Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin.