Saturday, August 6, 2016

UNSEEN - Talent Award nominees announced

The ING Unseen Talent Award is an initiative by ING and Unseen that gives new photography talent a platform to present their work on a global scale. What began as a Dutch initiative in 2013 has turned into a European award focused on scouting talent from across the whole of Europe. The aim of the award is to give young artists what they really need: a platform, a network and expertise.
This year's five finalists for the ING Unseen Talent Award have been selected and rewarded with an extensive empowerment programme, coached by internationally established American artist, Todd Hido. During this programme, the talents are requested to produce a work under the theme Fool for Love, all of which will be on display during Unseen Photo Fair this September.
The nominees for the ING Unseen Talent Award 2016 are: Felicity Hammond (1988, UK), Tereza Zelenkova (1985, CZ), Thomas Albdorf (1982, AU), Laurianne Bixhain (1987, LU) and Miren Pastor (1985, SP).

Unseen  is an annual international photography fair and festival based in Amsterdam. Welcoming 54 galleries from across the globe, Unseen focuses on new photography, highlighting the most recent developments by presenting emerging talent and new work by established artists.
As a fair, Unseen brings together leading figures in the industry with artists, curators, collectors and photography enthusiasts, creating an exchange of dialogue, artistic expression and ideas. Complementing the fair, on-site at the historic Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam, is a three-day speakers programme jam-packed with lectures and debates at the Unseen Living Room, as well as a celebration of the printed world of photobooks at the Unseen Book Market.
As a festival, Unseen invites visitors to be challenged, inspired and excited by a programme bringing together many of the city’s leading institutions, galleries, artists and initiatives using photography in unexpected and provocative ways. Every year Unseen Photo Festival takes place in a newly chosen neighbourhood of Amsterdam, in an effort to not only get visitors acquainted with the various areas of the city, but also to get locals – both individuals and businesses – acquainted with the world of contemporary photography.

What struck me in particular is the work of Austrian artist Thomas Albdorf.  This artist is interested in the intersection of photography and sculpture. His practice subverts what defines photography as a medium and in doing so opens up unconventional and challenging possibilities. In this digital age the work has a fresh currency about it.
Although I'm of the view that there are more than enough images to be found in the real world, images that equally challenge, question and sometimes amaze, images that stand on their own without post production layers, after looking at Albdorf's work I'm left with the question, what if? I'm left with the thought that there is a tendency not to push boundaries and not to take risks. Albdorf has taken the creative and conceptual blinkers off. Something we should all try.

Below are images from Thomas Albdorf's ongoing series General View. You can go to his website HERE.

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