Vanessa Winship (Barton-upon-Humber, United Kingdom, 1960) studied at the Polytechnic of Central London during the 1980s at the time when postmodern theory was beginning to permeate the practice of photography and cultural studies. These ideas are reflected in the artist's deliberate remove of all potential documentary content from her photography in order to concentrate instead on notions more related to
identity, vulnerability and the body. Accordingly, since the 1990s Vanessa Winship has worked in regions which, in the collective imaginary, are associated with the instability
and darkness of a recent past and with the volatile nature of borders and identities. Her images, in black and white, challenge the perception of photography's immovable truth.
Meanwhile, the formal choice of black and while reflects a deliberate shift from the photograph as narrative and constitutes, in the words of the artist herself, a “marvelous
instrument of abstraction that enables us to move between time and memory”.
Vanessa Winship is one of the most renowned photographers on the contemporary international scene. In 2011 she was the first woman to win the prestigious Henri
Cartier-Bresson (HCB) award. Her other distinctions include winning first prize in the Stories category of the World Press Photo awards in 1998 and 2008, the Descubrimientos award at PhotoEspaña in 2010, and the Godfrey Argent Prize in
2008, bestowed by the National Portrait Gallery in London.
The photography of Vanessa Winship establishes a dialogue with the mark left by the twentieth century on people and the places they have passed through: long processes defined by movements of fracture and integration, the instability of frontiers and the reaffirmation of identities. In short, her images focus on the effect of history on everyday life.
Photographer Vanessa Winship writes: "Many things touched me during the making of these images. I was touched by the gravity in their demeanour at the moment in front of the camera, their fragility, their simplicity, their grace, their closeness to one another, but most of all I was struck by their complete lack of posturing."