Jointly run by ING and Unseen Photo Fair Amsterdam, the ING Unseen Talent Programme provides young European photographers with an opportunity for international exposure, offering platforms which take the form of collaborations, prizes and residencies. For the annual event, an expert jury picks a shortlist of five artists who are at the forefront of the field, showcasing innovation and creativity through various genres of image-making. For 2017, the judges include Franek Ammer, Tim Clark, Lucy Conticello, Zippora Elders, Celina Lunsford and Sebastian Vaida, practitioners who hail from a range of backgrounds – editorial, journalistic, directorial and curatorial – tasked with selecting individuals based upon this year’s chosen theme: Common Ground.
The finalists benefit from the supervision of Nadav Kander, a British artist whose portraiture and landscape is globally admired, seminal documentary works including Dust and Chernobyl, Half Life – images that engage with the notion of nuclear testing in the 21st century landscape. Through guidance and mentoring, each individual explores cross-cultural dialogues, harnessing the opportunities that photography presents to find symmetry in unprecedented places. This topic taps into the wider ecosystem of the arts, providing emerging practitioners a currency that contributes to an ongoing political discourse.
All recent graduates, the shortlist comprises an exciting assortment of young visionaries. The youngest, Tom Callemin, is just 26. He plays with ambiguity, encouraging the audience to imagine situations beyond reach and contemplate wider, liminal spaces. He is joined by Stefanie Moshammer (b. 1988), who is interested in the visual poetics of the everyday, evoking colourful reflections on intimate structures.
By contrast, Robin Lopvet (b. 1990), questions movement and time, providing re-imaginings of recognisable forms, utilising collage and archive material. Andrea Grützner (b. 1984) compares familiarity and strangeness, using portions of domestic settings in a bright, detached manner to usurp perceptions of quotidian environments. Alexandra Lethbridge (b. 1987) takes a similar stance, questioning truth through a blending of human investigation with fictitious journeys. These artists compete for two accolades: a Jury Award, worth €10,000, and a Public Prize, which offers the chance to create a piece for the ING Collection.
The winner of the 2017 competition is announced on 21 September. Find out more: www.unseenamsterdam.com
1. Stefanie Moshammer, from the series I Can Be Her (2015). Courtesy of the artist.