Aperture Portfolio Prize 2020

Dannielle Bowman is the Winner of the Aperture Portfolio Prize 2020

Aperture finds that Dannielle Bowman's photography about the neighborhoods in and around the artist’s family home in Los Angeles deserves greater recognition and awarded her with the Portfolio Prize 2020.

Dannielle Bowman, Untitled (Hand), 2019. Detail. From the series What had happened. © Dannielle Bowman

Dannielle Bowman, Untitled (Hand), 2019. Detail. From the series What had happened. © Dannielle Bowman

New York based visual artist Danielle Bowman has been announced as the winner of the Aperture Portfolio Prize 2020. The purpose of the Prize is to identify trends in contemporary photography and highlight artists whose work deserves greater recognition.

Creative director Lesley A. Martin explained why they chose Danielle Bowman with the following words: “There are multiple entry points into Dannielle Bowman’s What Had Happened, a series in progress. Bowman makes excellent use of the pleasures of photographic space, described in elongated tonal-gradations of black, white, and maximum greys balanced against compositions etched sharply by California-noir shadows—Robert Adams meets Maya Deren in the Los Angeles suburbs. These elements lure the viewer to linger within the work. Aside from the surplus of visual gratification, the work simmers with the tension of a story mostly withheld.”

What had happened? is a series about the neighborhoods in and around the artist’s family home in Los Angeles. Bowman investigates the histories of people left out of the grand historical narratives with which we are more familiar and opens her own history to ask questions about the role location and landscape play in personal evolution.

Martin continues, “On another, Bowman’s work describes the passage of time and memories of home—or more precisely, the homes one makes on leaving old ones; about the search for better places in which to put down new roots and grow. Dig further, and the work begins to hint at even more specific histories—those of the Great Migration, which drew African Americans from the South (like Bowman’s own grandparents) into not only the North, but also the American West. The clues are not part of the standard-issue, broad brush–stroke narrative of the African American diaspora; they are found in details, such as the framed family photos on the mantle and the bump ’n’ curl hairdo worn by the woman standing on her flamingo bedecked lawn.”

Bowman’s work will be published in Aperture magazine and she will receive a $3,000 cash prize along with an exhibition in New York. Additionally, she and the four runners-up Jessica Chou, Daniel Jack Lyons, Gloria Oyarzabal, and Lindley Warren Mickunas will be featured in an online gallery on aperture.org. All finalists are announced in the foundation’s e-newsletter, which reaches over fifty thousand subscribers across the globe, including curators, critics, and members of the photography community. The winner and runners-up may also have an opportunity to participate in Aperture Foundation’s limited-edition print program.

Photographer Dannielle Bowman received a BFA from The Cooper Union and an MFA from the Yale School of Art, where she was awarded the 2018 Richard Benson Prize. In 2019, she was a contributor to the New York Times Magazine’s The 1619 Project. Bowman has been an artist in residence at Baxter St at the Camera Club of New York; the Center for Photography at Woodstock, New York; and PICTURE BERLIN. Bowman has exhibited in the US and internationally. She lives and works in New York.



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