The four nominees for the 2022 Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize offer an astounding depth of research and engagement in projects spanning personal and political themes. Last year, Chinese artist Cao Fei (profiled in Wallpaper’s November 2021 issue) was awarded the prize for her first large-scale UK solo exhibition, ‘Blueprints’ (2020), at the Serpentine Gallery. The 2022 exhibition will be on display at The Photographers’ Gallery, London until 12 June 2022, with the winner announced on 12 May. 

Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2022: the nominees

Anastasia Samoylova

Shortlisted for the exhibition ‘FloodZone’ 

Anastasia Samoylova, Barber Shop, Miami, 2018, from the series FloodZone © Anastasia Samoylova Deutsche Borse
Anastasia Samoylova, Barber Shop, Miami, 2018, from the series FloodZone © Anastasia Samoylova

In ‘FloodZone’, Anastasia Samoylova reflects on the confusing yet alluring imagery that promotes tourism and property development, against the backdrop of climate disasters facing America’s coastal cities. Oscillating between paradise and catastrophe, ‘FloodZone’ has an interesting dialogue with the Russian-born, Florida-based artist’s other works. Particularly her series Landscape Sublime, for which she assembled printouts of natural landscapes and those subject to human intervention, interrogating notions of the sublime and algorithm-driven popular tastes. This analysis of aesthetics and networks in relation to contemporary culture is integral to Samoylova’s metaphor-laden practice. ‘FloodZone’ was first exhibited at the Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow (8 June – 28 July 2021).

Jo Ractliffe

Shortlisted for the publication Photographs 1980s – now 

Jo Ractliffe, Roadside stall on the way to Viana, 2007 from the series Terreno Ocupado © Jo Ractliffe Deutsche Borse Foundation photography prize
Jo Ractliffe, Roadside stall on the way to Viana, 2007 from the series Terreno Ocupado © Jo Ractliffe

After 40 years of photographing life and landscape post-apartheid and civil war, South-African Jo Ratcliffe’s complex recordings came together in Photographs 1980s – now, a comprehensive monograph, published by Steidl/The Walther Collection in 2021. Through Ractliffe’s lens, violence isn’t documented head-on, rather its tangled consequences are seen from broad angles resulting in an all-encompassing record. With work that’s simultaneously stark and poetic, Ractliffe tells The Photographers’ Gallery, ‘It’s hard to articulate precisely what photography holds for me. The crux of it, I think, is its trace of the real, coupled with the fact that things are not simply how they appear.’

Deana Lawson

Shortlisted for the exhibition ‘Centropy’ 

Deana Lawson, An Ode to Yemaya, 2019 © Deana Lawson
Deana Lawson, An Ode to Yemaya, 2019 © Deana Lawson

Creating what the American artist describes as her ‘ever-expanding mythological family’, Deana Lawson’s work reframes the Black experience in ‘Centrophy’ (exhibited at Kunsthalle Basel from 9 June – 11 October 2020). The tableau-like images are usually of strangers, staged in enigmatic domestic surroundings with thoughtful reference to the tropes of art history and documentary photography. Symbolism relating to the Black diaspora is woven throughout these intimate and reverential scenes, in which Lawson’s subjects are radiant. The inclusion of holograms and striking natural phenomena feels fitting in the work of an artist renowned for understanding power. 

Gilles Peress

Shortlisted for the publication Whatever You Say, Say Nothing

Top: Gilles Peress, Whatever You Say, Say Nothing: from the chapter, Days of Struggle. Above: Whatever You Say, Say Nothing: from the chapter, The Last Night. © Gilles Peress

Whatever You Say, Say Nothing is a test of photography’s capacity to interpret conflict. Magnum photographer Gilles Peress began this work of ‘documentary fiction’ in Northern Ireland in the 1970s. Now, decades later, it has come together in a monumental, 2,000-page publication depicting protest, resistance, mourning and distraction (originally published by Steidl in 2021). The French photographer is also acclaimed for reportage in Iran, Rwanda and the Balkans. §