Thomas Demand, Roe Ethridge, Jim Goldberg, and Elad Lassry, the finalists for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2011, have documented the entire spectrum of human life in their richly layered work, exploring the complexity of the photographic medium—situated between documentation, association, and construction. Thomas Demand’s photographs of seemingly familiar places confound the viewer with their obvious artifice; the disjunction focuses attention on the creative process itself. Roe Ethridge’s tableaux shift the point of reference from the authenticity of the original to the originality of the adaptation. Through the juxtaposing and recombining of elements taken from different images, they break with the viewing of the single picture in isolation. Jim Goldberg, on the other hand, is focused on reality, documenting his encounters with people who have left their homes and are treading a fine line between freedom and misery. Finally, Elad Lassry’s collages of material appropriated from print media and newly staged studio photographs playfully explore the relationship between analog and digital image production methods and question canonical notions surrounding the uses of images.
Each year, the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize honors a contemporary photographer of any nationality who has made an outstanding contribution to photography in the period from October 1, 2006 to September 30, 2007, with an exhibition or publication of his or her works. Photography experts from all of Europe nominate photographers for the prize, and four of these nominations are selected as finalists. The prize, which offers a comprehensive view of current trends in international photography, has been granted by The Photographers’ Gallery each year since 1996. Since 2005, the Deutsche Börse group has been the main sponsor of this award.