Smartphone image collages take 2013 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize
Lauren Crabbe | Published: Jun 11, 2013 at 17:38 UTC5
Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin have won the 2013 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize. The London-based artists were awarded £30,000 for their War Primer 2 publication — a collection of screen grabs and smartphone images paying homage to Bertold Brecht's original War Primer project from 1955. Like Brecht's War Primer, War Primer 2 collected imagery of modern conflicts paired with four line poems to "translate" the press photographs.
Instead of using a collage of newspaper clippings to illustrate their point, Broomberg and Chanarin used modern digital media: smartphone photographs and screen grabs from the Internet. The images chosen for War Primer 2 revolve around the U.S. War on Terror and are presented in comparison to the original's World War II news photos. The use of low-resolution screen grabs and smartphone images by War Primer 2 was less about image quality and more about a statement on current media consumption.
"The jury awarded the prize to Broomberg & Chanarin for their bold and powerful re-imagining of Brecht's War Primer," said Brett Rogers, director of The Photographers' Gallery, in a press statement. "They applauded the way in which the project pushed the boundaries of the medium, exploring the complex relationship between image and text while drawing on elements from both the past history of photography and the present image economy."
While Broomberg and Chanarin have drawn some criticism for winning a photography contest with images that that they themselves did not take, followers of the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize should not be surprised: This is the second year in a row that the award has been given to a collage artist.
Read more about this year's Deutsche Börse Photography Prize from the British Journal of Photography.