What does an annual prize do for photography?

Contribute to a series of on-line discussions and debates related to this year’s Deutsche Börse Photography Prize. Have your say on photography.

What does an annual prize do for photography?


Rarely a month passes without the introduction of another photography prize. From the Sony World Photography Awards to the National Portrait Gallery’s Portrait Photography prize, it seems as though there are now a plethora of prizes. Apart from indicating the rude health of this vibrant medium, what else could this signal? Has the climate of a reality TV-induced generation produced an insatiable appetite for competitions with little care given to the quality of individual work? Or do photography prizes help to focus audience’s attention on the most original, inspired and important images of our time? We’d love to have your views.

7 Comments on “What does an annual prize do for photography?”

  1. 1 arghybhargy said at 8:42 am on February 19th, 2010:

    gets people talking, for sure…better question though – what does photography do for society?

  2. 2 m roth said at 6:28 pm on February 19th, 2010:

    Photography aids us all in picturing the world from another’s viewpoint. A photography prize can point the finger at whose viewpoint seems most relevant for our times.

  3. 3 Janet Davies said at 10:59 pm on February 20th, 2010:

    UM ..UM ..UM seriously what is you public speaker commenting about? middle class values? with a UM between surety which suggests insecurity about the value of Art.

  4. 4 Roy WIlson said at 10:36 am on March 19th, 2010:

    It makes public the artistic tastes of an individual or group of individuals, called the judges. The winning photo in a competition tells us more about who is judging the event rather than the winner him/herself.

  5. 5 Clippingimages said at 5:37 am on March 20th, 2010:

    I also think Prizes creates inspiration … even sometimes boosts the confidence of doing nice work.

  6. 6 a bloke who only cares enuf to leave a comment said at 6:35 am on April 15th, 2010:

    why should anyone -other than the person who gets the money – care?
    it’s pretty absurd to suggest that someone winning a prize has any effect on “photography”… especially since only a teeny tiny, itty bitty, smaller-than-small amount of people have ever heard of said prize.
    can anyone imagine anything being art outside of this insider’s game?

  7. 7 Nigel Amies said at 4:32 am on April 21st, 2010:

    Used to be that photographers got paid for their work getting published and thus were able, more or less, to survive. Now that’s all gone. Blame digital or the internet if you like, but what to do? Internet sales perhaps if you know how to manage it. Gallery shows for the ego and prize money for a few perhaps. Self publishing maybe for the desperate. Just don’t be too surprised if the pictures are boring.