Mikhael Subotzky and Patrick Waterhouse scoop the 2015 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize
South African photographer and Wallpaper* contributor Subotzky and British artist Waterhouse won for their publication ’Ponte City’ (Steidl 2014), a project they began in 2007 which documents the 54-floor Ponte City apartment block in Johannesburg along with it’s present and former occupants.
The soaring skyscraper was built in 1976 under apartheid rule for the white elite but in the ’80s and ’90s became home to those seeking refuge and asylum. It eventually descended into decay and became notorious as an epicenter of crime, prostitution and drug dealing.
The duo meticulously photographed every door in the towering building, each view from it’s crumbling windows along with portraits of the residents. These were then combined with a variety of multi-media elements including personal letters, historical material and architectural plans. The result is a powerful and in-depth view of a community and its culture.
Other shortlisted artists included Nikolai Bakharev, Zanele Muholi and Viviane Sassen. The award was presented by previous Prize winner Oliver Chanarin on behalf of the duo Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin.