Ooshot Award: an exhibition of commissioned photography

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One winter night at a charity shop in Paris, a young Afghan refugee named Zaman arrived at the store. He had travelled for sixteen months from Kabul in a flimsy pair of flip flops, and was looking for a new pair of shoes. When presented with the selection of footwear on offer, Zaman said, “Not ugly sneakers – sneakers like Jay-Z”.

This anecdote was the starting point for photographers Ambroise Tézenas and Frédéric Delangle, leading to a project that questions the social function of clothing for refugees. Sneakers like Jay-Z was commissioned by the charity Emmaüs Solidarity – who currently run over 600 second-hand shops in France – and is the winning project of the inaugural Ooshot Award.

The Ooshot Award is the first photographic prize dedicated to commissioned photography. Valerie Hersleven, founder of the award, wants to break the boundaries between art and commercial photography, pointing out that some of the greatest photographs in history were made under a commission. One of her favourite images, Tears by Man Ray, for example, was created for the mascara brand Cosmecil in 1933.

The exhibition will be hosted by advertising agency BETC, and will run at Magasins Généraux in Paris from 19 to 28 April. Tézenas and Delangle will be exhibiting their winning project, as well as some new personal work that has been funded by the 10,000EUR prize for winning the award.

Also on show will be photographs by 25 other image-makers, all produced for commercial campaigns, including Charlie Engman for Emilio Pucci, Alma Haser for Save the Children, Harry Gruyaert for Hermès, and Christopher Anderson for Canon, among many more.

The winners were selected out of 235 photographers, nominated by industry professionals. The jury of this years award was led by filmmaker and photographer Alex Prager, and included Valerie Hersleven, founder of Ooshot; Francesca Marani, Photo Editor at Vogue.it; Christoph Wiesner, Art Director at Paris Photo; Rémi Babinet, founder of BETC; Xavier Barral, founder of publishing house Editions Xavier Barral; Susana Gallego Cuesta, chief curator at Petit Palais; Sylvain Orebi, president at Orientis; and Sophie Toporkoff, creative director at Hermès.

https://ooshotaward.com/en/ Ooshot Award, The Exhibition, will be on show at Magasins Généraux – BETC from 19 to 28 April

Aboubacar, “I am 21 years old. I come from Guinea Conakry. I have no more clothes because this morning the police put gas into my tent and then tore it down. I fled and found nothing left when I came back. Here I have chosen a beige-khaki trouser which is my favourite colour. It is a unique colour. To be stylish means you attract people towards you and give a good image of yourself. The traditional fashion in Guinea is very colourful with electric colours in the patterns. Shirts aren’t in our culture. There are tunics and sarouels. But the traditional fashion in Guinea is more for the older people. I can’t lie; I am not really very traditional when it comes to clothing. There are occasions where you have to: like at celebrations, it is good to wear such clothes then. But here, we want to live like everyone else. My idea is to not offend anyone, I came here to try and fit in, I don’t want any problems. That’s why I said I am afraid of images.” © Ambroise Tézenas and Frédéric Delangle
Ahmed, “I am 21 years old, I come from Somalia (Mogadiscio). I am dressed in an ushanka and a coat that I was given in Russia. I love this jumper and the hip-hop style. If I am asked how much I paid for it, I will say it was a present. I love Paris, the people are nice compared to in Stockholm, Berlin or Warsaw. If I had some money, I would buy a black jacket and Nike trainers. I look good in black because I have caramel coloured skin.” © Ambroise Tézenas and Frédéric Delangle
Mohammed, “I am 18 years old, I am Afghan. I chose this jumper because it is cold outside. It has a hood for protection. And it’s pretty too. It matches my dress, you see. My dress comes from my country. I spent two years in Belgium and my mother gave this blue dress to a friend who I found in Belgium. I also have a pair of jeans and a jumper, but they are dirty. I only have two outfits. My dress and my European jeans. When I wear this outfit in Paris I don’t like that everyone looks at me, they think that I am a terrorist. I don’t want them to look at me. A girl, once in the street said to me ‘It’s very pretty that dress.'” © Ambroise Tézenas and Frédéric Delangle
Bachir, “I am 20 years old, I come from Somalia. I like these clothes…I like dressing up like an American. In Somalia we don’t wear such tight clothing, we put on clothes which are far more loose. My family wouldn’t like to see me dressed like this. They would find it too close to my body. In France I am free to dress how I like.” © Ambroise Tézenas and Frédéric Delangle
© Armin Amirian project A’ar
© Alma Haser for Save the Children
© Ronan Mckenzie for Base Range & Marieyat
© Charlie Engman for Emilio Pucci
© Bela Borsodi for Symphoniacs (Germany) Art
© Karen Knorr for La Samaritaine
© Adrian & Gidi for Mattel
© Massimo Vitali for Fontana Milano 1915
© Catherine Hyland for Patek Philippe
Marigold Warner

Marigold Warner joined the British Journal Photography in April 2018, and currently holds the position of Online Editor. She studied English Literature and History of Art at the University of Leeds, followed by an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London. Her work has been published by titles including the Telegraph Magazine, Huck, Gal-dem, Disegno, and the Architects Journal.