Picture perfect

Looking to discover emerging work, new directions and the best in international fine art photography? Yolanda Zappaterra provides a guide – for entrants as well as visitors – to the best galleries, fairs and prizes

The Deutsche Börse Photography Prize
What: Annual exhibition and award – photography’s equivalent of the Turner Prize. A changing jury each year selects a body of work by four photographers who have ‘made the most significant contribution to the medium of photography in Europe’ in the previous year. As this is the work of established artists, you may not discover new trends, but the names are often little-known outside the world of photography so you probably won’t have seen the work previously. Always thoughtful, intelligent and inspiring.

Who: John Davies, Jacob Holdt, Esko Männikkö and Fazal Sheikh have made this year’s shortlist. Past winners include Rineke Dijkstra, Anna Gaskell, Boris Mikhailov, Shirana Shahbazi, Juergen Teller, Joel Sternfeld and Walid Raad/The Atlas Group.

Prize: A cool £30 000 for the winner.

When: Exhibition runs from 8 February to 6 April 2008, award announced 5 March 2008.

Where: The Photographers’ Gallery, 5 and 8 Great Newport Street, London WC2.

National Portrait Gallery Photographic Portrait Prize
What: The UK’s most prestigious, open submission prize and exhibition. It attracted 6999 submissions this year from 2700 international amateurs, professionals and students, which were whittled down to 60 by the judges. Regarding the quality of the submissions, critic and juror Sue Steward said, ‘The overwhelming sensation [this year] was of talented young photographers preferring the security of established styles, with little curiosity about developments on show at international photo fairs. Maybe next year will be a radical appraisal of the times?’

Who: Jonathan Torgovnik was announced in early November as this year’s winner, with Michelle Sank, Julieta Sans, and David Stewart the shortlisted runners-up. Past winners include Tom Hunter, Claire Wheeldon, Shara Henderson, Jens Lucking and Richard Boll.

Prizes: First prize £12 000, with an additional award this year – the Godfrey Argent, worth £2500 – for a portrait photographer under 26 years of age.

When: Exhibition runs from 8 November to 24 February 2008.

Where: National Portrait Gallery,?St Martin’s Place, London WC2.

Sony World Photography Awards

What: A new open submission prize with 11 categories including abstract, architecture, nature and science, culminating in an exhibition and awards ceremony to be held in Cannes next April. This is likely to become a major event on the photography calendar, geared very much to industry.

Who: Hard to judge the calibre as entries are being called for (until mid-January). But the World Photography Academy – a new organisation which is behind the prize – already boasts an impressive membership including Terry O’Neil, Phil Stern and Esko Mannikko, from which the judging panel will be drawn.

Prize: $25 000 (£11 900) for the Iris D’or – the Sony World Photography Awards Photographer of the Year winner, with work promoted worldwide.

When: Exhibition 21-25 April 2008, awards 24 April 2008.

Where: Palais des Festivals, Cannes, France.

Other awards
D&AD Awards and Student Awards
Association of Photographers Awards
Royal Photographic Society Print Prize and Exhibition
LDC Working Life Photography Awards
New Contemporaries
World Press Photo Prize


It’s easy to assume that all the big photography galleries are in London – and wrong. The capital’s best dedicated photography spaces, the Photographers Gallery and Photofusion, do indeed showcase the best emerging and contemporary photographers, while spaces like the Viewfinder Photography Gallery Greenwich, Association of Photographers Gallery and Tom Blau Gallery (about to be renamed the Camera Press Gallery) hold shows of fine art photography which change each month. But there are plenty of other spaces around Britain – our favourite is the National Media Museum in Bradford, currently showing a retrospective of Sarah Jones’ work. It has hosted work by the likes of Luc Delahaye, Martin Parr, Julian Germain, Richard Billingham and John Davies. Look out, also, for the Ffotogallery in Wales (see below), the Gallery of Photography in Dublin, Focal Point in Southend, BCA in Bedford, and Belfast Exposed in Belfast. The new Scottish National Photography Centre is due to open in Edinburgh in 2008.

Fine art photography is represented by just two dedicated fairs in the UK, Photo London and Brighton Photo Biennial. But there’s always a good selection of work at London’s annual art fairs in October – Frieze, Zoo and newcomers Bridge, Pulse and Year07. Zoo’s crop of UK galleries plus agents from Los Angeles, Berlin and Tokyo is always worth a look, but the newcomers were a big draw during last month’s art madness. The inaugural Bridge turned the 120-room Trafalgar Hotel into an alternative temporary art centre, and included New York photography specialist Foley Gallery, alternative NY space Procuniar Workshop and London photography space Zebra Projects.

Brighton has been quietly building its own photography scene since 2003 with the Brighton Photo Biennial, now building up to its third fair, running throughout October 2008. Headed by writer and photographer Julian Stallabrass, an education programme gives an overview of international photography practice, and a curated collection surveys a century of photography. Both show a commitment to promoting fine art photography, though we’re hoping to see some less well-known names join the ranks of Lee Miller, Walker Evans, Richard Avedon, William Eggleston and Steve McQueen as the event develops.

Jerwood Photography Prize
Established four years ago by the Jerwood Charitable Foundation, the open submission Jerwood photography prize is the best place to see emerging trends in photo-based art. It rewards five UK-based photographers who have graduated from a visual arts degree course in the UK within the previous three years. Each receives an award of £2500, publication in Portfolio magazine and inclusion in a group exhibition. This year’s show runs until 9 December at the Jerwood Space, 171 Union Street, London SE1, and features the work of all five winners – Sophie Gerrard, Edmund Kevill-Davies, Moira Lovell, Kevin Newark and Dana Popa. Go to the Deutsche Börse prize winners’ exhibition to see the best established photographers, but to the Jerwood for the best photographers of the future.

Ffotogallery show
The Ffotogallery in Penarth, near Cardiff, Wales has been quietly fostering access to contemporary photography through its award-winning outreach projects, education schemes and exhibitions at its Turner Gallery. Shows are consistently strong – the current show, by 2007 Deutsche Börse nominee Philippe Chancel (until 23 December), contains photographs (pictured above) of North Korea, which give a chilling view of the totalitarian state.

Photo London 08
Never heard of Photo London? Chances are you will by next year (5-18 May 2008). This year was actually the fair’s fourth year, but the first organised by the team behind the successful Paris Photo, which has assembled an international group of galleries, publishers and photographers for a strong programme of exhibitions and live events. The key changes have been a new venue – Old Billingsgate in London’s East End – and the decision to focus on post-1970s photography, which should give the event a stronger contemporary focus and a greater ability to span the gamut of photo-based fine art. This year, up-and-coming photographer Julia Fullerton-Batten appeared alongside old favourites like Don McCullin and Corinne Day.

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