Zanele Muholi’s Faces and Phases and the Mikhael Subotzky, Patrick Waterhouse collaboration’s Ponte City have been shortlisted for the prestigious German photography prize. The prize recognises a photographer who is deemed to have made a significant contribution to photography in Europe each year. The DBPP has recognised South Africans before: Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin were awarded the prize in 2013; and Pieter Hugo was shorlisted in 2012. Both of this year’s nominations are for publications rather than exhibitions, and both publications were produced by Steidl Verlag.
Taken over the course of 8 years, Faces and Phases is a collection of portraits of and testimonials from black South African queer and transgender people. Describing herself as a visual activist, Muholi’s aim is to increase the visibly of that marginalised group.
Ponte City is a study of Africa’s tallest residential building, the mythic Ponte City apartments. Starting in 2008 Subotzky and Waterhouse catalogued every door, window and T.V. in the building. The iconic building has been the subject of many photographs, but the intent of this project was to make a more comprehensive archive reflecting the lived reality of the building, rather than simply reproducing its archetypal silhouette.