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Photographer reframing the black experience wins Deutsche Börse award

Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation 2022
(Image credit: Deana Lawson - Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation 2022)

The Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation has just announced its 2022 winner. The prestigious award recognizes artists and projects that made a significant contribution to international photography over the last 12 months with a grand prize of £30,000 ($36,800) up for grabs. 

This year, first place was awarded to the American photographer Deana Lawson for her solo exhibition “entropy” at Kunsthalle Basel which took place from 9 June - 11 October 2020. Lawson’s distinctive and provocative approach to photography reframes and reclaims the black experience while exploring the intergenerational relationships, their effect on black culture and the space held by communities and individuals. 

While most of her work focuses on strangers cast specifically for the image, Lawson manages to create intimate portraits that have a sense of familiarity between the characters whom Lawson describes as mythological extended family. Although her work sometimes contains natural phenomena such as waterfalls and galaxies, she is often found shooting in domestic settings. By using unsettling elements which act as ‘portals’ into other worlds she is able to portray scenes of death and birth.

Installation image of the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2022 winner Deana Lawson at The Photographers' Gallery, London (Image credit: Deana Lawson - Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation 2022)

Brett Rogers OBE, Director of The Photographers’ Gallery (opens in new tab) and Chair of the Jury said, “Deana Lawson is a deserved winner of this year’s prize, not least for the sheer inventiveness and complexity of her approach to image-making.” He continues “ Her subject matter sits somewhere between the ‘here and now’ and the past, a person and a people, the staged and the naturalistic, in a manner which is not didactic or issue-driven but genuinely radical” 

This year’s Jury included Yto Barrada, an artist living between New York and Morocco, Jessica Dimson, The New York Times deputy director of photography, Yasufumi Nakamori, Tate Modern's International Art Senior Curator, Anne-Marie Beckman, the Director of the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation and Jury Chair Brett Rogers OBE.

Lawson's work will be showcased in an exhibition taking place at The Photographers Gallery in London until 12 June alongside finalists Anastasia Samoylova, Jo Ractliffe and Gilles Peress and from 30 June, the exhibition will be on show at the Deutsche Börse’s (opens in new tab) headquarters in Eschborn/Frankfurt.

Installation image of the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2022 winner Deana Lawson at The Photographers' Gallery, London (Image credit: Deana Lawson - Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation 2022)

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Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.