Photos by Courtney Vokey
The AIMIA | AGO Photography Prize is Canada’s largest photography prize. It includes an annual AGO exhibition, international artist residencies, public programming, a national scholarship program and, of course, cash money. We visited the AGO exhibition, saw the four shortlisted photographers’ work and voted here. One of the photographers will win $50,000 and it’s decided by public vote. We also spoke to Aimia | AGO Photography Prize’s project manager Sean O’Neill and AIMIA’S director of community engagement Alden Hadwen. They told us about organizing the prize and the nominated photographers. Watch out for upcoming Wish List posts about each individual photographer and don’t forget to vote!
Sean: This is a photography prize but the exhibit has video and projections. These works are not really what you expect. We’re trying to find artists that show extraordinary potential over the past five years. That’s what we talked to our nominators and jury members about when they were thinking about artists to submit. For us, it’s really important that these artists are on the forefront, the next generation to be prominent artists around the world.
Alden: It’s for artists that are having an impact–and it’s not about their age. It’s not a lifetime achievement prize, but it’s not only emerging–it’s about people who are having something to say and their voices are being heard. It’s impact.
Sean: Organizing the Aimia AGO Photography Prize is a year-round process. I’m usually working on two or three years at once–the scholarship, the exhibition, all the events that go along with that. We also do residencies. All four artists receive residencies somewhere across Canada, six to eight weeks in length. Those come after the AGO exhibition. Right now, we’re already working on jury and nominations for 2014, plus launching the scholarship and planning residencies for this year. It’s a constant, ‘What year am I in? Where am I? What’s happening’
Alden: The overlap is really great. We don’t want the process to be finite. We don’t want it to be: one door opens and now we open this door. It’s better to have everyone strolling through with points of intersection and inspiration. It’s important for us that all the photographers feel a tremendous benefit from participating. It’s not just about who wins. It’s about the residency and the exposure.
This is a sponsored post by AIMIA | AGO Photography Prize.