Maybe it's a symptom of living in a city in which the so-called 'great' are also grand self-promoters, but it surprises me to see that The Photographers' Gallery have been relatively quiet about their public programme since their reopening in a new building. Of course they opened with a bang - a superstar show of large-scale work by Edward Burtynsky that would not have looked out of place at a much larger public museum - but returning to the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize this year, it's a much more gentle affair and shows a very different side to the gallery.
The four nominated artists, each vying for their name to be the one written across a cheque worth £30,000, are Pieter Hugo, Rinko Kawauchi, John Stezaker and Christopher Williams. There are a few notable things about each of these artists. The first thing to notice is John Stezaker, and the huge retrospective of his work at Whitechapel Gallery last year (for which he has been nominated for this award) and the large amount of positive press it received. Clearly, he's a contender here. The other thing to notice about Stezaker is that he is not a photographer, rather he works with existing photographs. It's an interesting story in which to read this year's selection.
Hugo is a young South African, nominated for his publication Permanent Error, a review of a dump for technological waste on the outskirts of Accra, Ghana. Rinko Kawauchi is nominated for her publication Illuminance. Her photography, in this reviewer's humble opinion, is truly beautiful (her's is the leader photo for this post). The final nominee si Christopher Williams, an LA-based conceptual photographer, nominated for his exhibition Kapitalischer Realismum in Budweis, Czech Republic. It is quite a straightforward list, ultimately. It's the notable differences that make Stezaker stand out, though Hugo is a talented picture maker, and one whose talent is growing incrementally. We applaud them, and look forward to repeat visits to The Photographers' Gallery, because shows like this are temptingly well-hung.
The Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2012 is at The Photographers' Gallery until 09 September.