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Luke Willis Thompson wins The Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize


Luke Willis Thompson: autoportrait, 2017

Luke Willis Thompson has been announced as the winner of the 2018 Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize. Announced at The Photographers’ Gallery in London yesterday evening, Luke’s prize-winning work is a short film, autoportrait, displaying photographic portraits of Diamond Reynolds.

Luke and Diamond began collaborating in November 2016 after Diamond’s live broadcast following the fatal shooting of her partner, Philando Castile, by a police officer at a traffic-stop in Minnesota. The artist contacted Diamond with the invitation to create a “‘sister image’ of her video broadcast, and break with her more publicly consumed image”. The video Diamond originally posted to Facebook has amassed over six million views.

The artist’s portraits of Diamond are built into a reflective installation. Silent, other than the whirring sound of a 35mm projector, it displays Diamond in a moment of solitary contemplation. “Seemingly unaware of the camera – and by definition the audience – this is a startling presentation of a personal and autonomous moment.”

Director of The Photographers’ Gallery and chair of the judging jury, Brett Rogers, explained of the process of choosing Luke: “The judging session to decide the 2018 winner encompassed lengthy and complex discussions around the role and form of photography today, its almost unrivalled power as a social, political and creative force. Within that context, the panel decided to award the 2018 prize to Luke. His singular and uncompromising portrait, made in collaboration with its subject, Diamond Reynolds, was conceived as a way to return agency to the protagonist.”

The Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize was established by The Photographers’ Gallery in 1997 and is run annually. The Deutsche Börse Group has been supporting the award since 2005. Luke’s work will be displayed at the gallery until 3 June, alongside the work of shortlisted Mathieu Asselin, Rafal Milach and Batia Suter, before the show moves to MMK Museum fur Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, from 22 June – 9 September. Luke is also currently a nominee for The Turner Prize 2018.


Luke Willis Thompson: autoportrait, 2017


Luke Willis Thompson: autoportrait, 2017


Rafia Millach: 2016


Mathieu Asselin: David Baker, 2012


Batia Suter: Parallel Encyclopeida, 2016