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Wednesday, 30 January 2008
The Deutsche Borse Prize is upon us again. Last week I spoke to the four shortlisted photographersfor an upcoming feature in the BJP and a rare pleasure it was. The winner is always good, but sometimes the shortlist can be patchy. This year it's incredibly consistent - an anti-art list of committed/committable photographers who really don't care about the art world.
Fazal Sheikh has been nominated for Ladli, a book in which Sheikh gets behind the illusion of India's economic development to examine a country where, as he says in the book's introduction, a girl's "...very gender, from conception, makes many women the potential victim's of a patriarchal system which tacitly condones their exploitation, mistreatment, even death."
The photography is simple and direct and so is the text, deep photography dealing with deep political and cultural issues. You can see the whole book online here.
One of the organisations Sheikh worked with was Shakti Shalini, which is run by two women (one muslim, one hindu) whose daughters were murdered for dowry payments. You can read about Shakti Shalini and other issues that are the flip side of India's economic miracle here.
And as Sheikh points out, the horrors of forced labour, forced prostitution and domestic abuse aren't confined to India - you can also find them closer to home, right on our doorsteps.