The Cord Prize is an annual international contemporary art award established to support and acknowledge the practice of early and mid-career visual artists. The award comprises an individual first prize of $10,000, second prize of $1,000 and third prize of $500. Additionally, twenty-two artists will be selected for online exhibition. The inaugural prize, is focused on contemporary art photography, with future awards continuing a photo-based thread.
REFLECTIONS ON SUBMISSIONS TO THE FIRST CORD PRIZE
Jurors - Diana Edkins & Charlotte Cotton
The Cord Prize has created a platform for well-established artists as well as students to showcase their work. Charlotte Cotton and I have had the privilege to review 750 portfolios. Bravo. The most prevalent aspect is that there is no one school of thought or approach. The artists employ myriad forms of image making, variety of genres and techniques - from the use of large-format to small digital cameras, from analogue to digital and Photoshop, sometimes blending the modes at times to point to and construct a new type of meaning - reflecting the astonishing diversity of worldwide talent that exists and that is being nurtured. The work represents a panorama of current motivations and forms of expression. The portfolios that stood out were ones that displayed originality, discipline, conceptual strength, persistence of vision over time, and a distinctive personal style.
The works create a vibrant dialogue about the diverse ways images are used and created today. Many projects have their roots in photography, photographic history, and photographic memory, some artists work in and around the medium to a very different effect. Many have an astute overview of the history of photography and visually acknowledge or directly challenge what came before them, thereby furthering the visual conversation. Some embrace the notion of documentary and deepen the intimacy and expression with rich, insightful and occasionally heartbreaking images, some deliberately blur the line between reality and fiction leading the path to the realm of the imagination, some use memory or a fictionalized notion of memory to underline a yearning for identity, others manipulate the photographic print’s material properties highlighting the optical nature of photographic seeing.
The entries for the Cord Prize seen individually or taken as a whole are an excellent barometer of the diverse approaches thriving within contemporary photography – the best leave one wanting more.
- Diana Edkins
It has been a really wonderful experience to be involved with the inaugural year of the Cord Prize. I appreciate the intent that EA Lindsay has given the project, the thoughtfulness with which, he has constructed a prize and an on-line exhibition space that celebrates the ongoing creative practices of committed photographers. The calibre of the entries for this first year is astoundingly good – not just the precision with which many of the photographers distilled their work into sixteen images but also the strength of their written reflections upon their practices. If I had to characterise the final selection of twenty five photographers that Diana and I made, I think it is a sense of photographers whose contemporary art practices clearly respond to the current image-making climate. The first general trend that we have seen in contemporary art photography in light of Web 2.0 (and phenomenal growth in image-led social media) has been to reinforce the notion of photography as a material form. What has happened in the 2010s is that the inherent ‘objecthood’ of the photographic print – a physical form rather than a neutral or invisible framing of a real moment - has become pronounced and I would argue that all of the photographers that we selected seem to be contemplating this contemporary fact, and creatively working with the idea that photography is an active process of choices and decisions of the maker who renders a photograph. I am really excited to see what all of the photographers we selected will continue to input into this dynamic moment in the evolution of contemporary art photography.
- Charlotte Cotton
Diana Edkins has been a visionary in the fine art photography world since 1969. Over the course of her eclectic career as a curator, editor, author, and advisor, she has published over 28 books. In 1977 she established the photography archive at Condé Nast, which she subsequently curated for twenty years. From 2002 until 2009 she held the position of Director of Exhibitions and Limited-Edition Photographs at Aperture where she produced, organized and curated over forty exhibitions.
Charlotte Cotton is one of the mostly highly respected and well-known writers and curators of photography today. She has held positions including curator of photographs at the Victoria and Albert Museum and head of the Wallis Annenberg Photography Department at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She is the author of Imperfect Beauty, The Photograph as Contemporary Art and the founder of Words Without Pictures and eitherand.org.