South African artist wins prestigious photography prize

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South African photographer, Mikhel Subotzky, along side British photographer Patrick Waterhouse have won the coveted Deutsche Börse photography Prize for their intriguing depiction of urban South African life.

Untitled 3, Ponte City, Johannesburg, 2008 (c) Mikhael Subotzky & Patrick Waterhouse
Untitled 3, Ponte City, Johannesburg, 2008 (c) Mikhael Subotzky & Patrick Waterhouse

The collection, titled Ponte City, includes photographs of every person living in a 54 storey block of flats in Johannesburg, and took over 6 years to shoot.

It shows the history behind the block of flats which was first built in 1976 during apartheid, and was originally home to South Africa’s white elite. Since then the flats have undergone an array of changes, and has seen an eclectic mix of residents.

The final product, a beautiful photobook featuring the striking images of every home, both inside and out, also includes letters from those living inside the building as well as pieces of fabric and old photographs laid under the pair’s own work.

The project earned Subotzky and Waterhouse a £30,000 prize as part of the annual Deutsche Börse competition which rewards excellence in photography every year. The prize, run by The Photographers’ Gallery in London, has been running since 1996, and was originally named the Citigroup Photography Prize. Since 2005, the prize has been sponsored by Deutsche Börse where it now gets its name.

The photographs can be viewed at the Photographers’ Gallery until June 7th.