Identity, migration, surveillance and loss

The Photographer’s Gallery summary of this year’s Deutsche Borse Photography Foundation Prize contenders.

I visited today, being particularly keen to see Erik Kessels unfinished father. I heard Erik speak at Photo Book Bristol last year and thought that the first few projects that he described were rather whimsical.

Then he introduced the story behind unfinished father – his father restored old cars for a hobby until he had a major stroke which left him seriously disabled. Unfinished father is centred around a part-restored Fiat 500 Topolino withhis father’s meticulously recorded photos of the restoration process. This is the car that will never be finished.

I was surprised to see the car itself on the fifth floor of the exhibition – installing it involved lowering it through the roof. Walking around it is a moving and sobering experience. Is this photography or something else? Erik himself says that every great photograph has already been taken.

The other finalists’ work was interesting but it was Erik’s that I wanted to see and I was not disappointed.



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