Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Deutsche Börse prize 2015

As seen in The Guardian

South African photographer Mikhael Subotzky and British artist Patrick Waterhouse have won the Deustche Börse photography prize for their publication Ponte City, a study of an apartment block in Johannesburg. Here is a selection of their winning images

The book depicts a 54-floor apartment block in Johannesburg, built in 1976 for a white elite under apartheid rule. During the political transition in the 1980s and 90s, it became a refuge for black newcomers to the city and immigrants from all over Africa

All photographs: Mikhael Subotzky & Patrick Waterhouse/Goodman Gallery

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Untitled #4, Ponte City, Johannesburg, 2008
‘We met many of the remaining residents in the lifts where we asked to make portraits of those who were willing. When we brought copies back to their apartments, doors opened to all kinds of living arrangements – whole families in bachelor flats, empty carpeted rooms with nothing but a mattress and a giant television console, and penthouses divided up with sheets and appliances into four or five living spaces’

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Ponte City from Yeoville Ridge, 2008
Subotzky and Waterhouse began their project in 2007, working with the remaining residents, after a regeneration project failed

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Looking Up the Core, Ponte City, Johannesburg, 2008
Subotzky writes: ‘Developers emptied half the building and stripped the apartments, throwing their rubble into the structure’s central core. When we started our work there in 2008, the development was in full swing. The building felt like a shell, its bottom half completely empty, and the top half sparsely populated. Former residents moved out in a hurry to make way for the developers. Many of their apartments were then burgled and trashed’

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Untitled #3, Ponte City, Johannesburg, 2008
The book depicts a 54-floor apartment block in Johannesburg, built in 1976 for a white elite under apartheid rule. During the political transition in the 1980s and 90s, it became a refuge for black newcomers to the city and immigrants from all over Africa

See the rest of the gallery here

 

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