Who should win this year’s Deutsche Borse Photography Prize, and why?

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

Who should win this year’s Deutsche Borse Photography Prize, and why?


Sophie Ristelhueber has won the 2010 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize for her photographic work that often confounds traditional genres. But who would you vote for? Do you agree with the jury or should it have been Anna Fox with her compelling studies of the mundane and bizarre in British life, including her own? Or perhaps Zoe Leonard whose work is, in part, a commentary on photography itself? Or should Donovan Wylie, with his systematic documentation of the psychology and physical structure of the eponymous Maze Prison, have been awarded the prize? The jury made their decision on 17 March 2010. What’s your opinion?

28 Comments on “Who should win this year’s Deutsche Borse Photography Prize, and why?”

  1. 1 Mrs Pearce said at 4:46 pm on February 12th, 2010:

    I took a vote with my 6th formers on a visit today – it was an even split between Zoe Leonard and Anna Fox, though the other two also got some votes! Congratulations on a great shortlist!!

  2. 2 anonymous said at 9:16 am on February 13th, 2010:

    Ristelhueber – no competition. Although it’s hard to tell from the small selection of her work at the photogrpahers gallery, her consistent approach over the years shows a thorough commitment to our social and political world that, with few exceptions, is unparalleled in art or photography.

  3. 3 RJ Rowson said at 4:53 pm on February 14th, 2010:

    Just saw the show today & my money is on Zoe Leonard. She’s picking up from where Walker Evans left off sixty-odd years ago… a superb record of our changing times…

  4. 4 John Wildgoose said at 9:38 pm on February 18th, 2010:

    I don’t mind, four excellent photographers, I’m just delighted to see that solid, rational, informed experience is winning out over youthful bravado. I was delighted to see photographers represented who were born within a decade of me!

  5. 5 mroth said at 6:22 pm on February 19th, 2010:

    I agree – its refreshing to see this work which is mature, considered and beautifully executed!

  6. 6 teacherlee said at 5:14 pm on February 23rd, 2010:

    My GCSE group voted on a visit today and there was a slight favour toward Donovan Wylie – particularly due to how he is showing two very different styles of presentation.

  7. 7 Mrs + Mr Widd said at 2:04 pm on February 24th, 2010:

    Donovan Wylie should win because the photographs convey Northern Ireland struggles poignantly and it shows the bleak nature of the area to live in. Also the Deconstruction of the Maze Prison is captured beautifully – all that metal – cold, heartless and abandoned.

  8. 8 emms said at 5:39 pm on February 24th, 2010:

    Our group vote had Zoe Leonard nudging just ahead of Anna Fox.

  9. 9 frank said at 7:57 pm on February 27th, 2010:

    Zoe Leonard is leader of this pack !

  10. 10 shihlun said at 9:02 pm on March 2nd, 2010:

    For me, it have to be the works of Sophie Ristelhueber, cause they’re quite unique and innovative, and has changed our perception of the so-called landscape photography and war photography forever. The show last year at the Jeu De Paume of Paris was a rightly deserved and unfairly overdue tribute to this great photographic artist in our times. The works of other three photographers are all very interesting, but just not that unique in their own right. You kinda have a “I have seen that” feeling in your mind when seeing their works. The greatst work of Anna Fox is her photographs on the British white-collar working class. The ones now showing are unfortunately under the creative, kitche shadow of other great photographers, such as Martin Parr.

  11. 11 Davey said at 11:40 am on March 5th, 2010:

    I would have to go with Wylie’s work. All were great but Wylie gets it for me. The Maze prison was once a stronghold for political reformation, human rights, violence and above all, purpose built to hold those linked to terrorism. Wylie was able to portray this once vibrant epicenter as lifeless, mundane, and exposed the building as a monotonous structure, whose character had abandoned it once its purpose was served.

  12. 12 Rich said at 10:45 pm on March 6th, 2010:

    Tough choice – Wylie or Leornard would be my short short list; And have to, just, go with Wylie due to the personal significance of the work as it enabled him to find his voice.

  13. 13 Martin Davey said at 7:12 pm on March 9th, 2010:

    As a UCA student I guess I should be going with the Anna’s Fox work, but more to my liking is Magnums Donovan Wylie, its got magnum stamped all over it, brilliant!

  14. 14 Kim said at 3:06 pm on March 10th, 2010:

    My Photography arts award group voted last week, and it was top votes (staff included) for Donovan Wylie.

  15. 15 anonymous said at 2:19 pm on March 14th, 2010:

    For me it’s got to be Anna Fox, her work is brilliant. Subtle and intricate yet powerful, playful but not satirical… A real breath of fresh air.
    As a whole, I believe Anna has been hugely underrated. Her contribution to the world of photography over the past 40 years has been massive, and she deserves such recognition.

  16. 16 BrianExCIS said at 8:53 pm on March 15th, 2010:

    For me, it’s Donovan Wylie. His subject is worth the effort, whereas the others smack too much of images as merchandise.

  17. 17 Peter Massingham said at 12:10 pm on March 16th, 2010:

    Much of the work is pretty predictable. I have a liking for the formal and admire what Donovan has done but, in the end think that Ristelhueber should get it for the references and challenges she makes to art/ photographic history. She is by far and away the most challenging artist in the show. But then, what do I know?

  18. 18 nicolacarass said at 5:45 pm on March 16th, 2010:

    I think the prize should go to Ristelheuber as he work is so poignant for this year. However I think Donovans piece is equally relevant to today. The other two are much of a muchness.

  19. 19 Andrew Bruce said at 6:50 pm on March 16th, 2010:

    It has to be Anna Fox. I agree with all of the points made in the anonymous comment four posts up. Very well put, she’s greatly underrated.

  20. 20 Rowan said at 8:58 pm on March 16th, 2010:

    I have, in the past, not been an enormous fan of Donovan Wylie’s. However, I had my preconceptions blown to bits when I went to see the work today. Perhaps my tastes have changed in the past year, but he really deserves to take it, for such a brilliantly executed, focussed body of work.

  21. 21 Kieran said at 10:27 pm on March 16th, 2010:

    “The Photographers’ Gallery’s annual prize (…) rewards a living photographer (…) who has made the most significant contribution to photography in Europe, between 1 October 2008 and 30 September 2009.”

    The date criteria seems to rule three of them out from the start.

  22. 22 Rowan said at 8:56 am on March 17th, 2010:

    Kieran, I think the dates criteria refer to when the exhibition nominated was first displayed, rather than when the work itself was created…

  23. 23 Lynn said at 12:12 pm on March 17th, 2010:

    Sophie Ristelhueber’s work shows trauma as a landscape memory which will in time probably be healed unlike the physical scars of war on humans, yet her photographs are deeply moving and she is my winner.

  24. 24 Shane said at 12:57 am on March 18th, 2010:

    I would have liked to have formed my own opinion of what reads like an interesting show, but the complete LACK OF ACCESS to the upstairs spaces has blocked my chance of viewing this and prior shows.

    I am unable manage flights of stairs but my critical faculties and curiosity are still alert.

    I am astonished that a new publicly funded space and sponsored exhibition can seemingly casually set access aside as something to be resolved in the future.

    I invite aspiring potential future Deutche Burse Prize applicants to do a photoshoot of me (or others) champing at the bit on the ground floor – there’s a chance adding to the “compelling studies of the mundane and bizarre in British life” by highlighting the frustrated souls in a new government-sponsored public space that opens with disabled access as a future ambition and delivers a major exhibition in an exclusion zone.

    It’s just not good enough.

    A word to funders; Inclusivity and outreach become bitter soundbites if the Gallery you sponsor is so noncholant about saying “yes, later, it’s in our plans.” Damn it it is 2010, it’s a new venue, and I’ve missed another show I wanted to see.

    Photographers’ Gallery you should hang your heads in shame; funders and sponsors, where are your heads at?

    By-the-way, I reckon that Sophie Ristelhueber was the best choice in a good field, but how am I to know?

  25. 25 Brett Rogers said at 4:31 pm on March 19th, 2010:

    Dear Shane

    Thank you for your feedback on our Forum.

    I want to express my sincere apologies for your experience at The Photographers’ Gallery. We moved to the current building in Ramillies Street as a temporary measure with the aim of redeveloping this site. Although basic alterations were made, the building’s current structure prevented us from installing a passenger lift.

    This has been a source of major frustration as it has meant that we are not accessible. It was a difficult decision to move here under those circumstances. We only did so on the basis that it was a temporary home and it would allow us to create a world class photography gallery for London. We will begin a redevelopment of our building at the end of this year.

    Yours sincerely
    Brett Rogers
    Director, The Photographers’ Gallery

  26. 26 markroden said at 5:14 pm on March 30th, 2010:

    Definitely Zoe Leonard – the work is a moving record of our current time, soon to be past…

  27. 27 Tallulah Bret-Day said at 2:32 pm on April 14th, 2010:

    I think Anna Fox is a good candidate.

  28. 28 Jasmine Gauthier said at 11:27 am on April 26th, 2010:

    I found both Sophie’s and Donovan’s work to be the most exciting. :)