As 2008 marks the tenth anniversary of the European Central Bank (ECB), this year’s Cultural Days of the ECB and in its framework the ECB Annual Photography Award were dedicated not to a single country, but rather to the whole of the European Union and its 27 Member States. ‘Europe’ therefore is the theme of the ECB Annual Photography Award 2008. The ECB invited photographers to present their vision of Europe today and asked 27 country curators to each nominate three photographic works dealing with that subject. The submitted photographs were assessed by an international jury of experts.
For details on the competition, the jury members, the country curators and the photographers, please see the
The ten photographic works shortlisted for the ECB Annual Photography Award 2008 are presented for the first time to the public in an exhibition at the Photokina trade fair in Cologne. We are confident that the photographs will help to further understanding of contemporary Europe and – by adding fresh perspectives – raise awareness of the richness and diversity of Europe’s countries and peoples.
Lucia Nimcová’s photographic series “Unofficial” is a multifaceted examination of the visual aesthetics of everyday life in a former communist environment. In the series, selected photographs are restaged. People who have since aged slip back into photographic settings that convey a particular aesthetic of everyday life and politics of visual culture. The highly staged nature of the series puts it at a critical remove, whereby historical pictures are approached without cynicism. Instead, images from the collective memory are examined in terms of the specific historical messages they convey to younger generations. Lucia Nimcová’s photogallery
The series “Andzelika” is about a young Polish woman. Since last year, Polish employees have been able to work in the Netherlands without restrictions. Andzelika’s parents, like many Poles, will seize this opportunity, and are on the verge of relocating to a new country for good. The 17-year-old Andzelika must make a decision: will she follow her parents or stay in her home country? The pictures tell the story of both places. They show Andzelika, her family and their life together. They put across the idea of being in between two systems in a united Europe, a situation that brings with it opportunity, reality and inner conflict all at the same time. Wytske van Keulen's photogallery
“Domestic Slavery” is a photographic project that traces forms of modern slavery in Europe. It deals with real-life fates of people and actual places where crimes were committed. The combination of texts and images creates reports that reveal crime scenes behind a façade of normality and document the actual fates of people. Raphaël Dallaporta's photogallery
“Smoke and Mirrors” focuses on places of image production for the media. Studios that have unconsciously established themselves more and more as places of visual power in recent years are exposed in their structural conditions. Thus pictures are created which, like X-ray images, show the skeletons of a media society increasingly blind to the way in which media reality is constructed. Kathrin Kur's photogallery
For two years, Friso Keuris took photographs at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Images of people and places emerged which differ from the usual pictures of this court shown by the media. Particularly when the individual images are seen together, guilt and the administration of justice are shown in a transitory state. The examination of particular individuals and questions about the places connected with crimes in Europe’s recent history takes precedence over the dramatic and spectacular. Friso Keuris's photogallery
The photographs “Trucks” and “1,62m2 Home” are part of a concept entitled “Home” which goes back to 2003, tracing intimate and personal living space in different places and contexts. So far, photographs have been taken in countries including Poland, France, Germany, India and Ukraine. “Trucks” provides insights into the sleeping-berths of long-distance lorry drivers. The photographs document the itinerant lives of people who, for professional and economic reasons, are permanently on the move. “1,62m2 Home” shows accommodation in a homeless shelter in Poland. Both series of photographs, in the way they are clearly ordered, give an idea of how people in these particular circumstances try to organise their everyday lives and private spheres. Weronika Łodzińska-Duda /Andrzej Kramarz's photogallery
In the series “Border Country” Melanie Friend shows the effects of borders in Europe. Borders function as filters, through which people are divided into categories such as “legal” or “illegal”, “desirable” or “undesirable”. These categories are the result of national immigration laws and are moulded by prevailing economic, social and political interests, as well as international human rights conventions. The photographs focus on the places where the borderline is drawn. Although no people are visible and the anonymity of an institution is shown, each photograph nonetheless conveys the fateful significance that the place has for people, in all of its functions. Melanie Friend's photogallery
In 2003 Vera Weisgerber took part in the project “Kanner staark maachen” with the Luxembourg film director Bady Minck. She set up a workshop with children from Montenegrin immigrant families and taught them the basics of photography. Each child, equipped with a Lomo camera, then began to record his or her daily life for the next four years. Eventually the project took Weisgerber to Montenegro, where several of the families had returned in the meantime. Contact was further maintained by exchanging photographs. A store of pictures has now been created which tells the story of this encounter and the changing “home”. The project, entitled "Tumbling dice" (2003-2007), has been commissionned by Mudam Luxembourg, Musée d'Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean. Vera Weisgerber's photogallery
“School Number 7” is the story of a graduating class at one of Sofia’s elite high schools. It is a report on the first generation after the Cold War, which is living in an ambitious society. Vesselina Nikolaeva tries to show the reality of youth – hopes, dreams and fears in a place where old stereotypes have disappeared but have not been completely replaced by something new. A place in which young people face a future with unlimited possibilities to shape their lives according to their ideas. However, in their own search for identity the young people are exposed to the contradiction between messages that they receive from their parents and their own ideas of how the perfect future should be. Vesselina Nikolaeva's photogallery
The photographs from the series “White Sea, Black Sea” document Jens Olaf Lasthein’s travels in the border region between western and eastern Europe. The photographs provide an insight into the new eastern border of the European Union, from Arkhangelsk in the north to Odessa in the south. People are shown directly and straightforwardly in their personal living environment. The authentic nature of the photographs combines a documentary approach with a respect for how people really live in Europe. Jens Olof Lasthein's photogallery
Legal note concerning the download of file for the prize-winners and shortlisted candidates.
These photographs may not be altered in any way (no cropping, no superimpositions, no colour changing etc.).
The copyrighted photographs in the ECB Photo Award may only be used copyright-free for 12 weeks before and eight weeks after the event, provided: