Antoine Bruy and Petros Efstathiadis win the 2018 Prix HSBC

“The works selected here have all run up against a more or less bitter-sweet reality, and their authors have liberally arranged, glued, assembled, masked and cut out the components of that reality in order to present it to us as something different, eminently subjective, and decidedly moving,” writes Raphaëlle Stopin, artistic advisor for the 2018 Prix HSBC.

She’s writing of the 12 photographers shortlisted for two top prizes, which this year have gone Antoine Bruy (France, 1986) and Petros Efstathiadis (Greece, 1980). The other shortlisted photographers are: Olivia Gay (France, 1973), with the series Envisagées; Karin Crona (Sweden 1968), De la possibilité d’une image; Elsa Leydier (France, 1988), Platanos con platino; Sandra Mehl (France, 1980), Ilona et Maddelena; Shinji Nagabe (Brazil, 1975), Espinha; Michele Palazzi (Italy 1984), Finisterrae; Walker Pickering (USA, 1980), Esprit de corps; Marie Quéau (France, 1985), Odds and ends; Brea Souders (USA, 1978), Film electric; and Vladimir Vasilev (Bulgaria, 1977), T(h)races.

Bruy won his Laureate for the series Scrublands, which was shot between 2010-2015 and depicts people living off-grid, and the communities they have built. Bruy graduated from the Vevey School of Photography in Switzerland in 2011, and was recently profiled on bjp-online with another series, The White Man’s Hole, after it won the D&AD Next Photographer prize.

General store, 2016, from the series Gold rush © Petros Efstathiadis

Efstathiadis won his Laureate for the series Gold rush, which shows constructions he has made out of junk found in the village he grew up in, in Northern Greece. Taking reality and adding a layer of fantasy, his series reads the village as a microcosm for contemporary Greece and the economic turmoil it has faced over the last decade. Efstathiadis returned to Greece after graduating from the University for the Creative Arts Farnham in 2008, and won the grand prize at the Hyères Festival in 2013.

Each artist will now be able to publish their first monograph, and HSBC will also organise a travelling exhibition of their works, which will be shown in four venues in France and/or abroad. Six of their existing works have been acquired by HSBC France for its photographic fund, and they will be given help in promoting new work, including in a presentation.

Unusually, the Prix HSBC has awarded another prize this year – the Prix Joy Henderiks, presented in memory of the former head of PR and sponsorship for HSBC France and co-president of the International Committee of the Museum of Modern Art Paris, who died in November. This prize went to Olivia Gay, who has been given an endowment with which to realise a new project.

Domestica – Contemplations, Rio de Janeiro, 2013. from the series Envisagées © Olivia Gay

The Prix HSBC is open every year from September-November, to any photographer as long as they have never published a monograph. A new artistic advisor is nominated each year, who preselects around ten candidates from which the executive committee selects the two Laureates. Stopin, this year’s artistic advisor, has been in charge of the photographic section of the Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography for 15 years, and was appointed art director of the Centre photographique in Rouen, Normandy, two years ago.

The artistic advisor is chosen each year by the executive committee, which is made up of art and photography experts, and HSBC representatives. This year’s committee included Xavier Barral, CEO of Editions Xavier Barral; Christian Caujolle, journalist, writer, founder of VU gallery and agency; François Cheval, independent curator; and Axelle Davezac, general director of Fondation de France. It was chaired by Peter Boyles, CEO Global Private Banking, HSBC Private Bank (Suisse), SA.

The Prix HSBC has been running since 1996, and previous Laureates include Valérie Belin, Julia Fullerton-Batten, and Alinka Echeverria. Previous artistic directors include Robert Delpire, then-director of the Photo Poche collection and editor; François Hébel, then-director of the Rencontres d’Arles; and Simon Baker, then-curator of photography and international art at the Tate Modern.

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Jean, Sierra de Cazorla, Espagne, 2013, from the series Scrublands © Antoine Bruy
Vincent, Pyrénées, France, 2012, from the series Scrublands © Antoine Bruy
From the series Scrublands © Antoine Bruy
Dôme géodésique, Sierra del Hacho, Espagne, 2013, from the series Scrublands © Antoine Bruy
El Pardal, Sierra de Cazorla, Espagne, 2013, from the series Scrublands © Antoine Bruy
Leaking water tower, 2017, from the series Gold rush © Petros Efstathiadis
Lucky numbers, 2016, from the series Gold rush © Petros Efstathiadis
Thunder, 2016, from the series Gold rush © Petros Efstathiadis
Preacher’s house, 2016, from the series Gold rush © Petros Efstathiadis
Interception corner, 2016, from the series Gold rush © Petros Efstathiadis
Diane Smyth

Diane Smyth is the editor of BJP, returning for a second stint on staff in 2023 - after 15 years on the team until 2019. As a freelancer, she has written for The Guardian, FT Weekend Magazine, Creative Review, Aperture, FOAM, Aesthetica and Apollo. She has also curated exhibitions for institutions such as The Photographers Gallery and Lianzhou Foto Festival. You can follow her on instagram @dismy