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Smartphone image collages take 2013 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize

Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin have won the 2013 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize for their publication "War Primer 2."

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.


Total comments: 5

good to see an original piece of work winning big money... though the work looks interesting, I'm left thinking the theme of the comp was copyright abuse or nobody else entered.

Edited 16 seconds after posting

This is a weird article about a bizarre photo competition with utterly unimaginative winners.



I accept that to make derivative work of other artists' work is fine; but there must be obvious and extensive use of your own work to change/add on to the existing work.

We plagiarise if we take more than a certain amount of work and quote it in full. What the winning entry above does is take a whole book, bound it together and called it a new novel.

while the idea is there; it lacks anything else and it's easy to see why so many people consider photography to be the lowest form of artistry - because anyone can do it! We've all heard those words.

We devalue ourselves and the art form in this way. I liken it to architecture. he wouldn't win an award by placing 2 photos of different era buldings (he didn't design ) juxtaposed with each other/short blurb of text.

So why do we let this happen here? There is a reason why photography is and has been devalued and it comes not just from the masses but from the people who influence such perceptions.

This lacks any element of craft.

1 upvote

They won the award for an entire book, not a single image. Have you seen the book? I'd say your comment lacks an element of research.

1 upvote

And someone said "write second in a row, that makes it sound even more like a trend".

Anyway, thanks for bringing this to our attention.

Total comments: 5
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