Does Sean O'Hagan Really Get Photography?
Nothing much has changed in my assessment this year. But instead of simply repeating myself, I'd ask you to consider a hypothetical. According to the Prize web page, the Deutsche Börse Prize is awarded "a contemporary photographer of any nationality, who has made the most significant contribution (exhibition or publication) to the medium of photography in Europe in the previous year." When, as will soon enough be the case, Sebastião Salgado completes his Genesis project (which, by the way, The Guardian has been previewing in installments) and publishes the planned for book and mounts the planned for exhibition, will he be eligible for the Deutsche Börse short list by O'Hagan's lights? It is not just that Salgado's work has "pretensions," but it arguably also calls into question in various ways naïve views of photography and its uses. I am not sure how, given his ongoing complaints, O'Hagan could not object if the jury included Salgado for the shortlist. But I am then not at all sure who he might deem worthy of consideration.