One of our personal favorites, British photographer Vanessa Winship, has won the prestigious Henri Cartier-Bresson Award. The HCB Award is a remarkable prize of 30,000 euros “to stimulate a photographer’s creativity by offering the opportunity to carry out a project that would otherwise be difficult to achieve.” This is the first time in the history of the Award that a female photographer has won.
Lens Culture featured her series Sweet Nothings in 2008.
Winship’s work has focused on individuals and history. She began with a classic journalistic approach in her early work in the Balkans and around the Black Sea. Then, she entered into a more frontal style with large-format portraits: Sweet Nothings, and Georgia. For her new project Out there: an American Odyssey, she wants to tell the stories of anonymous individuals deluded by the American dream. She believes that people are often more honest, direct, and revealing when confronted by a stranger.
The Award was created in 1988 by Robert Delpire, and it was relaunched in 2003 with the opening of Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson in Paris. Previous recipients of the Award are: Chris Killip (1989), Josef Koudelka (1991), Larry Towell (2003), Fazal Sheikh (2005), Jim Goldberg (2007) and David Goldblatt (2009). The prize is awarded every two years.
When we wrote to congratulate her, she responded, “I’m a little overwhelmed and speechless. This is huge, and they are blood big shoes to fill!”
The jury underlined the humanist tradition of Vanessa Winship’s work, “making photographs that can be seen as classical documentary but that have a sensitivity and complexity that is thoroughly contemporary.”
An exhibition of her finished project is scheduled to be shown at the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson in Spring 2013.