From April 19 - June 30 2013, London’s Photographer’s Gallery hosts the 4 contenders that are in the running to win the Deutsche Börse prize. This week we look at Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin.
It is the publication ‘War Primer 2’ (2012, MACK) that got photography duo Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin shortlisted for the prize. ‘War Primer 2’ is a limited edition book that has taken the original work of Bertolt Brecht’s groundbreaking 1955 publication ‘War Primer’. Brecht’s original book paired WWII newspaper clippings with short 4-line poems that he called Photo-epigrams, looking for a way to help explain, read and translate press photographs that felt required decoding.Fast forward almost 60-years, we have the long awaited follow up, released in limited edition book form and as an iPad application download.
Where ‘War Primer’ was concerned with images and press publications from WWII, ‘War Primer 2’ is concerned with images from both sides of the ‘War on Terror’ that Broomberg and Chanarin have collected from the internet. These images come in various formats, quality and sourced from various locations, often anonymous and, as Brecht once said himself:
‘Don't start with the good old things but the bad new ones’
By pairing the original images compiled by Brecht with those that Broomberg and Chanarin have sourced, the duo are giving us their thoughts on images that represent contemporary conflict whilst paying homage to those of the 1955 publication. While some of the images really do bring reality home, it is an important documentation of conflict throughout the last century, layering one history on top of another and connecting them in a way that hasn’t been seen before.
Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin are artists, living in London, and both have had their work displayed in numerous international exhibitions as solo artists or as a duo.
The annual Deutsche Börse photography prize is an award that presents 30,000 to the photographer who has made the most significant contribution to photography in Europe during the course of a year.