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Prix HSBC pour la Photographie
(If human beings can), we'll have to fly, from the series Youth Without Age, Life Without Death © Laura PANNACK

Prix HSBC pour la Photographie

Laura Pannack » Mélanie Wenger »

Exhibition: – 10 Jun 2017

Galerie Esther Woerdehoff

36 rue Falguière
75015 Paris

+33(0)9-51 51 24 50


Wed-Sat 12-19

Prix HSBC pour la Photographie
from the series Marie-Claude, the doll lady © Mélanie Wenger / Cosmos

The Prix HSBC pour la Photographie, created in April 1995, is now in its 22nd year of accompanying young photographic creation and undertakes to support even more strongly the work of its Laureates with a fifth stage in the travelling exhibition and help in producing the works presented in this latest exhibition, thus providing a fresh impetus for the Laureates.

An annual competition is open from September to November to any photographer who has never had their monograph published, with no age or nationality criteria.

Each year, an artistic advisor is nominated to give a fresh outlook and to preselect around ten candidates.

María García Yelo, Director of PHotoEspaña, artistic advisor 2017 proposed 10 photographers to the members of the Executive Committee and comments on its selection:

« Beauty, surrealism, amazement and pain are all present in the selected projects of the 2017 edition of the Prix HSBC pour la Photographie. These photographers, with very rich visual imageries, force us to read several layers of meanings. We go from astonishment to overwhelm, from recognition to disconcert... When we finally understand, a deep melancholy invades us ».

Prix HSBC pour la Photographie
Then the sisters made their guest and his horse known to all the wild beasts, from the series Youth Without Age, Life Without Death © Laura PANNACK

British. Born in 1985. Lives and works in London

Renowned for her portraiture and social documentary work, Laura Pannack seeks to explore the complex relationship between subject and photographer.

Her work has been extensively exhibited and published worldwide, including at The National Portrait Gallery, The Houses of Parliament, Somerset House and the Royal Festival Hall in London.

She has won and been shortlisted for several international awards.

Most recently in 2015, Youth Without Age, Life Without Death received a Directors Choice in the Center Awards and as a winner of Lens Culture Award. In October 2016 the project was awarded the Getty Prestige Fine Art Prize.

"It could be said that there are three basic types of portraits: the ones that help the viewer to know the portrayed individual; the ones in which the viewer can “read” the essence of the photographer; and the type in which both the portrayed and the photographer are “visible”, which is the most precious kind of portraiture. Laura Pannack’s work perfectly fits in the third category of portraiture, with impeccable technical skills and remarkable natural elegance. The combination between a very sensitive empathy for the object of her interest and the capacity to find and show intimate and delicate moments of the everyday life make her project Youth Without Age, Life Without Death a visual poem about a world confined to disappear, as any world is, in the end. A mixture between documentary shots and imaginary sets, the spaces, routines, people and objects she “lived” among in a remote place in Romania and “brought” us to see become a universal metaphor of the vulnerability of life."
María GARCIA YELO, Artistic Advisor 2017

Mélanie WENGER
French. Born in 1987. Lives and Works in Brussels

Mélanie Wenger is a documentary photographer represented by Cosmos agency. Graduate in Litterature and a Master's degree of journalism, she chose to tell stories about human beings, heros of the ordinary, to reveal their depth through the permanent immediacy of the photography.

In 2011, she starts to work on the serie “Wasted Young Libya” which will take her three years.

Between 2014 and 2016, she focuses on migrations between Libya, Malta and Belgium and poaching in Africa. In parallel, since 2014, she develops a long-term documentary serie in the intimacy of an elderly isolated person in Brittany: « Marie-Claude, the doll lady ».

"Once upon a time, there was a lonely, forgotten and scruffy woman who had created a strangely beautiful little world. Marie-Claude, as Mélanie Wenger simply calls her, is a fascinating human being, whose existence is almost a miracle. The photographer met the “The Lady of the Dolls” in the spring of 2014, in a lost road in the Monts d'Arrée of Brittany. Since then, she has been visiting and photographing her, with the fascination, love and fear of someone that finds a rare, fragile treasure, hidden in a self-built universe.
Mélanie Wenger has managed, with patience and tenderness, to reveal the story of Marie-Claude, unknown to society for over 50 years, during which she created her tiny, little cosmos. She lives in a world with no place for memory, comfort or company but full of delicacy and unique beauty. Only a photographer with very special unprejudiced sensibility could describe, in images, this true marvel."

María GARCIA YELO, Artistic Advisor 2017

Prix HSBC pour la Photographie
Blood lines, from the series Youth Without Age, Life Without Death © Laura PANNACK
Prix HSBC pour la Photographie
from the series Marie-Claude, the doll lady © Mélanie Wenger / Cosmos
Prix HSBC pour la Photographie
from the series Marie-Claude, the doll lady © Mélanie Wenger / Cosmos