2018 Larry Sultan Photography Award Goes to Belgian Photographer Bieke Depoorter

Bieke Depoorter, from the series I am about to call it a day, 2010–14.Bieke Depoorter, from the series I am about to call it a day, 2010–14.

San Francisco, CA — September 17, 2018 — In a collaborative partnership with four major Bay Area arts organizations, Belgian photographer Bieke Depoorter has been selected to receive the prestigious 2018 Larry Sultan Photography Award. The award, granted through a partnership of California College of the Arts, Headlands Center for the Arts, Pier 24 Photography, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, consists of a $10,000 cash award and an artist residency at Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, CA. As the 2018 awardee, Depoorter will engage with the Bay Area photography community by working with students at the California College of the Arts this fall and giving a free, public lecture on November 8, 2018.

Larry Sultan Photography Award Lecture: Bieke Depoorter
Thursday, November 8, 7PM | Free and open to the public
California College of the Arts, Timken Lecture Hall, San Francisco

ABOUT THE ARTIST
Photographer Bieke Depoorter (b. 1986, Belgium) travels the world to find her subjects, creating extraordinarily intimate photographs that straddle portraiture, documentary, and fiction. The relationships she creates with those she photographs are the key to her work. As Depoorter describes it, 
“The relationships I establish with my subjects are the foundation of my artistic practice…. The resulting stories are always partially mine, partially theirs.”  

In her early work, Depoorter traveled to far-flung locales in Russia, Egypt, and the United States, befriending locals to photograph. She asked her subjects if she could spend the night in their homes, building rapport and trust that eventually allowed her to capture the mundane, routine, ordinary moments of their lives. Depoorter’s first such project, Ou Menya, documented her encounters in the homes of locals in Russia. She completed a similar, long-term project in the United States titled I am about to call it a day. 

In As It May Be, a project photographed in Egypt beginning just after the revolution in 2011, she tried to find trust in a time of turmoil and suspicion, in an environment where private life is often shielded. With this project, she also started to question her use of the photographic medium. Conscious of her status as an outsider, she returned to Egypt in 2017 with the first draft of the book, inviting others to write comments directly on the photographs. Contrasting views on country, religion, society, and photography arise among people who would otherwise never engage in a dialogue with one another. In Sete#15 (2015) and the short film Dvalemodus (2017), she began to conceive of her subjects as actors, projecting her own fictional narratives onto her subjects’ factual environments, thereby blurring the line between her world and theirs. In her most recent projects, such as the ongoing project Agata (2017), Depoorter works even more collaboratively with her subjects.

Depoorter has published four books, and her work has been shown in the United States and Europe, including Photomuseum The Hague, The Netherlands and an upcoming exhibition at FOMU Antwerp, Belgium. She joined the Magnum agency as a nominee in 2012 and a full member in 2016. She is the recipient of the Magnum Expression award and the Prix levallois, among other accolades. Depoorter lives and works in Ghent, Belgium. 

Please click here for the full press release. Hi-res images can be found here.

Event Info: Bieke Depoorter Artist Lecture | Thursday, November 8, 2018, 7PM | Timken Lecture Hall, California College of the Arts, 1111 Eighth Street, San Francisco CA, 94107