Angus Fraser Wins the Bar Tur Photobook Award 2014

Art Press Release from United Kingdom. Published by anonymous on Monday 08 December 2014.

Angus Fraser Wins the Bar Tur Photobook Award 2014 image

Angus Fraser (b. 1975, UK) wins the Bar Tur Photobook Award 2014 in its inaugural year. The annual award offers an emerging photographer a publishing deal to the value of £20,000 and the opportunity to work with The Photographers’ Gallery and Trolley Books over the course of a year to produce their first book in 2015.

The winner was announced at a special ceremony in The Photographers’ Gallery this evening, Monday 8 December 2014.

Fraser won for his documentary project Santa Muerte which follows members of the Mexican cult of the same name. Meaning Holy Death in Spanish, Santa Muerte is a female folk saint whose origins are thought to be traced back to Aztec rituals mixed with Catholic beliefs and practices. Although denounced by the country’s Catholic Church as devil worshipping, the cult has enjoyed an increase in popularity over the last decade especially in crime-ridden communities and among marginalised individuals.

During the past three years Fraser made several visits to Mexico researching, interviewing and documenting Santa Muerte devotees. His images include portraits of believers, spiritual leaders, shrines, private and public altars, paraphernalia, prayers, ceremonies, and street gatherings. His work examines the contrast between Western and Mesoamerican perception and acceptance of death.

Fraser was selected from an open submission of hundreds of applicants, all currently studying, or graduated within the last five years from a UK-based BA or MA visual arts courses. He was chosen by a panel of experts: Brett Rogers, Director, The Photographers’ Gallery; Amnon Bar-Tur, entrepreneur and philanthropist; David Chandler, writer and curator; Nadav Kander, photographer; Caroline Metcalfe, Photographic Director, Condé Nast Traveller Magazine; Professor Chris Wainwright, Head of Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon Colleges and Hannah Watson, Director, Trolley Books.

In addition to the winner’s award four runners-up also received £1,000 each towards the realisation of their proposed photobook project. Joshua Bilton (b. 1983, UK) for Ectopia portraying inmates in prisons throughout the UK ranging from low to high security categories; Louise Carreck (b. 1985, UK) for Potemkin Villages depicting the imagery used to conceal empty shops, houses and vacant plots of land in the UK; Maja Daniels (b. 1985, Sweden) for Playing Twins which explores issues of identity through whimsical pictures of Parisian, elderly twins Monette and Mady; and Sian Davey (b. 1964, UK) for Looking for Alice which features Davey’s three years-old daughter Alice who was born with Down’s Syndrome. The project examines personal narratives and prevailing attitudes in society towards young people with the disorder.

Brett Rogers, OBE, Director, The Photographers’ Gallery said: This new award reflects the importance of the photobook as a creative platform for photographers over the past decade. As well as being democratic and accessible, the photobook has also become highly collectable and valuable. Through its various programmes, the Gallery remains committed to exploring the photobook phenomenon. We are delighted that our winner will benefit from working with the well-respected, young publisher, Trolley Books to create their first publication.

Amnon Bar-Tur said: I would like to congratulate the winner and four runners- up. I was very impressed with the quality of submissions which presented the judges with a challenging task. I hope the award will provide these artists with the support they need to realise their work and especially look forward to seeing the winning publication.

Hannah Watson, Director, Trolley Books said: Santa Muerte features unusual and striking images alongside a strong narrative which the judges agreed would work well in a photobook format. As a publisher I am looking forward to collaborating with the photographer to form what we feel would be a unique and interesting book.