Grange Photography Prize: The Winner of the Canadian Prize is Selected Entirely by the Public

Grange Photography Prize: The Winner of the Canadian Prize is Selected Entirely by the Public 

Four photographers, two Canadian and two Mexican, are competing for the second annual Grange Prize, worth $50,000. The winner is being chosen solely by the public who can vote with a click of their mouse at Voters have until May 20 to view selected works of the nominees and cast their ballots.

Raising Photography’s Profile

Each artist was chosen by a committee, including Maia-Mari Sutnik, Curator of Photography at the Art Gallery of Ontario, co-sponsor of the prize, along with Aeroplan. Sutnik says the goal is focus international attention on photographic artists in Canada and elsewhere.

A Canada-only prize would not draw as much attention as one with an international focus. Next year we will be partnering with another pre-selected countryI think that photography is as well recognized as other forms of art, but compared to other time honoured forms of expression, it is still a young medium in years (170 years). Since photography not only connects us with the world everyday, but is also a powerful transforming medium in the arts, the Grange Prize proposes that artists practicing photography should be more widely recognized for their accomplishments.”

Grange Prize Mexican Nominees

  • Marco Antonio Cruz is a prominent Mexican photojournalist, dedicated to documentary narratives such as his Blind series on people in Mexico.
  • Frederico Gama, a photographer of urban youth since 1988, studies young immigrant workers in Mexico City by exploring their fashion mix of Native Indian regalia and street punk.

Grange Prize Canadian Nominees

  • Lynne Cohen is a Montreal artist who photographs peculiar interior spaces in black and white and in colour, focusing on the contradictions in everyday life.
  • Jin-me Yoon is a Vancouver photographer and video installation artist.

At first, Yoon was a little unsure about a major award being determined by popular vote. But now she’s embracing the idea. “Overall, it feels good to have nearly twenty years of work acknowledged. Although I have had other forms of professional acknowledgment, this is my first nomination for a prize. This is nice although I know many of my peer artists also deserve to be in my place," she says.

Yoon believes that the Grange Prize could help show how artists are culturally relevant. “Fundamentally, artists should be respected as integral to every society. Although I dislike the idea that artists are in competition with each other, I do like putting the spotlight on art, and in this case photography and image based work, as a point of everyday discussion for citizens. I think generally North American society discusses film and music but not art as much. I'd like that to change.”

Special Exhibitions in Canada and Mexico

Members of the public can take the opportunity to view a selection of the nominees work at the Art Gallery of Ontario. The AGO is hosting a special exhibit from April 4 to June 26. People in Mexico City can catch the exhibit at the Centro de la Imagen between April 8 and May 24.