Deutsche Borse Photography Prize 2010

Sophie Ristelbeuber may have won 2010’s Deutsche Borse Photography Prize, but it was finalist Zoe Leonard’s snaps of urban decay and destitution that stole my heart.  In ‘Analogue’, Leonard ventures around and sometimes beyond her native New York to capture small businesses that have faded or are marginalised by the expansion of a global economy. 

She says her central theme “is that I’m trying to make a portrait of us as a society at this moment in time and what our objects and urban landscape say about us. It’s a kind of archaeology – an attempt to understand who we are and what we care about as a society” (The Telegraph, 11 Feb 2010).

There’s a sense of loss in her images, yet the vintage Rolleiflex camera and 11inch by 11inch format lends them a kind of romantic, nostalgic air.  There’s even a little bit of hope: in a picture of a wheelbarrow and television for example, one reflects on where they might be going next.

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