new discovery award winner

carlos ayesta & guillaume bression


presented by 247 gallery, paris

curated by christian caujolle

Carlos Ayesta and Guillaume Bression rushed to Fukushima after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. To see for themselves. To bear witness. They photographed not to testify but by necessity, because they could not believe their eyes, and that—the unbelievable magnitude of the devastation—turned their amazement into a project. An atypical project deeply linked to the role of a certain kind of documentary photography expected not to tell the truth, but to offer a form of operational neutrality by which photographers situate and express themselves. The show can be split up into a series of repeated perspectives, ever-different angles of analysis and proposals that might seem contradictory, in order to probe a situation as thoroughly as possible, including what is non-visible and non-visual.

Christian Caujolle



Prints and framing by PCP Photographie, Paris.

Publication: Retracing Our Steps. Fukushima Exclusion Zone – 2011-2016, Kehrer Verlag, 2016.

About the new discovery award

Since its creation, the Rencontres d’Arles has promoted photography and supported all its stakeholders, including photographers, exhibition curators and publishers.In 2017, the festival updated the Discovery Award by teaming up with galleries, often the first to spot tomorrow’s talents. They were asked to propose shows by artists they promote and whose work has been recently discovered by an international audience or deserves to be. Ten of the nearly 200 submissions were shortlisted and shown this year. During opening week, professionals bestowed the New Discovery Award, which rewards the winning artist and gallery by purchasing works for the amount to €20,000. The acquired photographs enter the Rencontres d’Arles collection.

The New Discovery Award 2017 was awarded to Carlos Ayesta and Guillaume Bression, for their series Retracing our steps, Fukushima Exclusion Zone – 2011-2016, which is shown in the 2017 Jimei x Arles International Photo Festival, along with an exhibition by Guy Martin, one of the other nine shortlisted artists for New Discovery Award 2017.