SOMFY PHOTOGRAPHY AWARD 2020 | GIMME SHELTER

From 2 October 2020, the Nederlands Fotomuseum will present the Somfy Photography Award (SPA) 2020 with new work by the nine nominated photographers: Roderik Henderson, Géraldine Jeanjean, Stephan Keppel, Matthieu Litt, Antoinette Nausikaã, Martine Stig, Dustin Thierry, Maarten Tromp, and Jordi Ruiz Cirera. The Somfy Photography Award (SPA) is a biennial international photography award that offers professional photographers the opportunity to create new work inspired by a predetermined theme.


Nominees for the Somfy Photography Award 2020 © Bas Losekoot

Somfy Photography Award SPA
The Somfy Photography Award is an original photography competition, now in its second edition. Nine shortlisted top photographers will create unique work based on the theme ‘Gimme shelter’ and compete for first and second place. The Somfy Photography Award is an opportunity for professional photographers to create work on a specific subject, based on their own project proposals.

The work they make for the Award will be brought together from 2 October and shown in a group exhibition in the Nederlands Fotomuseum. Based on this exhibition, an international jury of experts chooses a first and second winner.

On 23 October 2020, a jury of international experts consisting of Frits Gierstberg (chairman), Menno Kooistra (architect De Tank), Dana Lixenberg (photographer), Thomas Seelig (curator/head of the photo collection of Museum Folkwang in Essen, Germany) and Stephan Vanfleteren (photographer) will announce the first and second prize winners.

“We are delighted to be able to show the results of the Somfy Photography Award 2020 at our home base," says Birgit Donker, director of the Nederlands Fotomuseum. "With the work budget that the photographers receive, they can create new work. And now they will also be able to show it to the public. In this way, we want to contribute to the development of proven talent together with Somfy."

With the Somfy Photography Award, Somfy wants to express its contribution to people’s comfort and well-being in an inspiring and creative way. Somfy is an international corporation that makes innovative, technical products that regulate everything related to natural light and light management for people in buildings. People are central to the development, production, and application of technology. With the creation of the Somfy Photography Award and the partnership with Somfy, an international photography platform has been created that contributes to the development of photography in the Netherlands.

About the theme ‘Gimme Shelter’
The theme of the Somfy Photography Award 2020 is ‘Gimme Shelter’: ‘Shelter’ is an overarching, all-embracing, basic need for people and animals: protection, shelter, safety, and comfort. ‘Shelter’ is not just manifested in factories, offices, schools, houses, and hospitals, but also in the cardboard box of a homeless person, in a lovers’ embrace, in the mother who cherishes her child. Comfort, well-being, and sustainability are the three most important qualities that Somfy contributes to buildings. These terms represent both ‘The Art of Somfy’ and the most important requirements in Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

The nominees
Roderik Henderson portrays a single man in a remote and improvised house, just outside the desert town of Copiapo in northern Chile. Henderson creates 3D photographs and plays with the documentary character of his medium.  

Géraldine Jeanjean addresses the physical and symbolic function of glass as something that creates a division between inside and outside, safe and unsafe.

Stephan Keppel focuses on a photographic and technical print study into shelters as they were structured during the Cold War, and what still remains of them in Amsterdam.

Matthieu Litt explores Ry-Ponet, a green space located around a stream running through the metropolitan area of the Belgian city of Liège. This green lung is a symbol of resistance and a place of refuge for both people and animals.

Antoinette Nausikaã has chosen the river Seine near Paris as her working space. She wants to visually evoke a sense of shelter and the connection with nature that the Seine once offered the city.

Martine Stig focuses on ‘invisibility as a human right’. How do computers see us, do they read us? Are they prejudiced? Can we fool the machine?

Dustin Thierry photographs a large variety of people in the Netherlands and on the island of Curaçao, amongst whom are both ‘millennials’ and the following generation referred to as ‘Generation Z’. He studies the divide between young people who fall through the cracks in society and those who are successful.

Maarten Tromp is creating a series of portraits of primates in reception centres in the Netherlands, Spain, and Indonesia. How do we, as human beings, relate to the world we live in? And what do the portraits tell us about the way we look at these animals?

Jordi Ruiz Cirera photographs the consequences of globalisation for local farming communities in different locations in South America. He shows how the economic and financial forces that control global food production can have devastating effects on a local level.

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