Sara Cwynar - Winner of 2016
In Soft Film, Sara Cwynar has produced an entertaining and yet complex inquiry into fundamental aspects of photography, in particular its production and dissemination in digital and analogue systems. Her video essay, largely filmed in 16mm format, links performative elements with reflections on the construction of the photographic image. Cwynar buys cast-off objects on eBay and purchases photographs in a second-hand store. These she organizes and archives by colour, material and subject matter. Social concerns, such as the circulation and value of objects, as well as feminist issues and the significance of personal incidents and historical events all come into play. The artist poses crucial questions about what photographed imagery means to us today both individually and socially. In so doing, she deploys an aesthetics that varies from the deliberate parading of a do-it-yourself character to the seductive power of professional advertising.