Samuel Fosso wins the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2023

Samuel Fosso

Samuel Fosso wins the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2023. 

The photographer was announced as the 2023 winner of the prestigious £30,000 prize at a special ceremony at The Photographers’ Gallery (TPG), London by artist Zak Ové on Thursday 11 May 2023. The influential prize, in partnership with the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation, rewards artists and their projects recognized as having made the most significant contribution to international contemporary photography over the past 12 months. 

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Samuel Fosso, Autoportrait, from the series 70s Lifestyle, 1976 © Samuel Fosso Courtesy of the artist and JM Patras, Paris Samuel Fosso, from the series 70s

The exhibition showcasing all four shortlisted artists is on show at The Photographers’ Gallery until 11 June 2023. Samuel Fosso was awarded the Prize for his exhibition Samuel Fosso at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, (10 November 2021 – 13 March 2022). Since the mid-1970s, Samuel Fosso (b. 1962, Kumba, Cameroon) has dedicated his artistic practice to self-portraits and performative photography. Fosso’s retrospective exhibition traces a career of almost 50 years, bringing together iconic series, lesser-known works, archival material, and previously unpublished images. Raised in Nigeria, Fosso fled the Biafran War as a young boy, and in 1972 was taken in by an uncle in Bangui in the Central African Republic. In 1975, at the age of thirteen, Fosso opened his Studio Photo Nationale. Alongside commercial work, Fosso immediately began a series of self-portraits – a mode of representation he has never abandoned. Described as ‘a man of 1000 faces’, Fosso plays the role of leading historical figures, including Martin Luther King, Angela Davis, and Haile Selassie, and social archetypes in front of the camera, embodying a powerful way of existing in the world, and a vivid demonstration of photography’s role in the construction of myths. His work is also deeply personal, he said ‘making pictures of myself later in life was a  way for me to take back what I had been lacking as a child, to take back my reflection.’ 

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Samuel Fosso, Self-Portrait (Tommie Smith) from the  series African Spirits, 2008 © Samuel Fosso Courtesy of the artist and JM Patras, Paris

Samuel Fosso, Winner of the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2023 said:  

“Winning this prestigious prize, recognized as one of the most important in the field of photography, means that my work is recognized by the artistic community. This recognition is very important to me. I feel a lot of joy and pride.” 

The jury of the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2023 comprised: Natalie  Herschdorfer, Director of Photo Elysee, Lausanne, Switzerland; Mahtab Hussain, artist; Thyago Nogueria, Head of Contemporary Photography at Instituto Moreira Salles, São Paulo, Brazil; Anne-Marie Beckmann, Director of Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation, Frankfurt/Main, and Shoair Mavlian, Director of The Photographers’ Gallery, London, as voting chair. 

Shoair Mavlian, Director of The Photographers’ Gallery and Chair of the Jury said: 

“We are delighted to announce Samuel Fosso as the winner of this year’s Prize. His sustained exploration of self-portraiture uses a traditional, studio-based approach steeped in history, while at the same time, his work remains relevant and addresses contemporary political issues of today with humour and authenticity. His work has created an extraordinary platform for Black voices and artists throughout his career.” 

Anne-Marie Beckmann, Director, Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation said: 

“Huge congratulations to Samuel. I am delighted that with this year’s Prize, we are celebrating the importance of his retrospective at Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris. The curation of the retrospective opened up new perspectives, allowing many more people to discover his work for the first time; and thrilled and surprised those who felt they already knew it. Through the retrospective, we were able to see his work differently and gain a much deeper understanding of the relevance of his practice today. Many congratulations to the other shortlisted artists Bieke Depoorter, Arthur Jafa and Frida Orupabo. This extraordinary group of artists has shown us the power and resonance of photography today. Thank you for allowing us to share your work as part of this year’s  exhibition and Prize.” 

The other 2023 shortlisted artists – Bieke Depoorter, Arthur Jafa and Frida Orupabo –all received £5,000. The exhibition showcasing all four artists is at The Photographers’ Gallery until 11 June 2023. The exhibition will tour the Muzeum Fotografi w Krakowie, Krakow, Poland (30 June to 17 September 2023). 

For more details visit:

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Lifestyle, 1975-78 © Samuel Fosso Courtesy of the artist and JM Patras, Paris

Samuel Fosso was born in Kumba, Cameroon and raised in Nigeria, Fosso fled the Biafran War as a young boy, and in 1972 was taken in by an uncle in Bangui in the Central African Republic. In 1975, at the age of thirteen, Fosso opened his Studio Photo Nationale. 

Samuel Fosso has exhibited in major international venues including the Centre National de la Photographie, Paris; Tate Modern and National Portrait Gallery, London and the Guggenheim Museum and Museum of Modern Art, New York. The major retrospective of his work, inaugurated at Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris in 2022 traveled to Huis  

Marseille, Amsterdam and Walther Collection, Neu-Ulm, Germany. In 2020, the Monograph Autoportrait, the first comprehensive survey of Samuel Fosso’s work, was published by Steidl. 

The Photographers’ Gallery 

The Photographers’ Gallery (TPG) champions photography for everyone. Located in the heart of central London and home to an international community of photographers, the Gallery explores photography in all its forms, with a diverse and critically acclaimed program of exhibitions, events and courses. The UK’s first independent gallery devoted to photography, TPG was the first to exhibit many key names in international photography, including Juergen Teller, Helen Levitt, Rinko Kawauchi, Gordon Parks, Sebastião Salgado, and Andreas Gursky. The Gallery has also been instrumental in establishing contemporary British photographers, including Martin Parr and Corinne Day. Over the past five decades, TPG has helped to establish photography as a recognized art form, introducing new audiences to photography and celebrating its place at the heart of visual culture. Right outside TPG, Soho Photography Quarter (SPQ) is an exciting new permanent outdoor cultural space, presenting the very best of contemporary photography for free. 

Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation 

The Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Frankfurt/Main that is dedicated to collecting, exhibiting, and promoting contemporary photography. It is responsible for the further development and presentation of the Art Collection Deutsche Börse, which now comprises over 2,300 photographic works by around 160 artists from 33 nations. Its exhibition space in Eschborn near Frankfurt/Main, it shows several exhibitions a year that are open to the public. Supporting young artists is a particular concern of the foundation, which promotes them in many ways: with awards, scholarships or through participation in the talent programme of the Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam Foam. Together with the Photographers’ Gallery in London, it awards the renowned Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize every year. Furthermore, the foundation supports exhibition projects of international museums and institutions, as well as the development of platforms for academic dialogue and research on the medium of photography. You can find more information at: 

The Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize History 

Founded in 1996 by The Photographers’ Gallery, and now in its twenty-seventh year, the Prize has become one of the most prestigious international arts awards and has launched and established the careers of many photographers over the years. Previously known as the Citigroup Photography Prize, the Gallery has been in collaboration with Deutsche Börse Group since 2005. In 2016 the Prize has retitled the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize following the establishment of the foundation as a non-profit organization dedicated to the collection, exhibition, and promotion of contemporary photography. The winner of the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2022 was Deana Lawson for her exhibition Centropy. Past winners include Cao Fei, Mohamed Bourouissa, Susan Meiselas, Luke Willis Thompson, Dana Lixenberg, Trevor Paglen, Juergen Teller, Rineke Dijkstra, Richard Billingham, John Stezaker and Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin. 

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Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2023: 3 March – 11 June 2023 

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