John Edmonds wins 2021 Foam Paul Huf Award

Reading Time: 2 minutes

This year’s prestigious prize goes to American artist John Edmonds, recognised for his “articulate, distinctive style, and clarity of vision”

John Edmonds is the winner of this year’s Foam Paul Huf Award, receiving a cash prize of €20,000, and a solo exhibition at Foam, Amsterdam. 

Edmonds initially gained recognition for his intimate portraits of lovers, close friends, and strangers. The Brooklyn-based photographer earned his BFA from the Corcoran School of Arts & Design, followed by an MFA in Photography from Yale University. Institutions including SFMOMA, the Brooklyn Museum, and The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, have exhibited his work. 

Through the interplay of portraits and still-life, Edmonds’ work explores issues of diaspora and displacement, asking questions about the origins and meaning of the objects he incorporates. His artist statement reads: “It is through these objects and through the Black human subject that I ask questions around my place, our place… I want the viewer to experience each work as a type of sculpture itself – a picture plan with space and dimension where bodies are seen and revered.”

The 31-year-old photographer was selected out of 100 nominees from 24 countries, by a jury of five industry specialists: Alessia Glaviano, Joachim Naudts, Osei Bonsu, Gwen Lee, and Alona Pardo. The jury report states: “John Edmonds’ work impressed the jury with his very articulate, distinctive style and clarity of vision. With the seemingly simple but in essence culturally complex nature of his series he questions issues of gender and Blackness from an African-American perspective. Edmonds’ work stems from a deep understanding of the medium of photography and taps into modernist history.”

Established in 2007, the Foam Paul Huf Award is presented annually to a photographer under the age of 35. Past winners include Laia Abril, Eric Gyamfi, Daisuke Yokota, and Alex Prager. This year’s honourable mention was given to Guanyu Xu, whose work “tackles the sensitive issues of homosexuality and queerness in both a Chinese and American context”.

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.