French photographer Raphaël Dallaporta (b. 1980) received the Foam Paul Huf Award earlier this year from an international jury. The prize is organised by Foam
and is awarded annually to up and coming international photographers below the age of 35. A major aspect of the award is an exhibition. Observation appears at Foam from 2 September to 26 October. Characteristic of the show's four series is the clinical, perceptive style of photography. Dallaporta's photos possess an inner tension that stems from the beauty of the object and the serious tone of the subject. The photographer works intensively with specialists in fields relating to his series. Jury chair François Hébel (director of Les Rencontres d'Arles international photography festival) comments on Dallaporta's work that 'He combines involvement with a highly analytical approach to social perversities. His uncompromising, conceptual and extremely creative approach mark him as an authentic artist who stands out in the young generation of photographers.'
The landmines in the Antipersonnel series have an exquisite beauty: small, with pleasant colours and an attractive form. Elegantly photographed, simply framed and persuasively presented, their aesthetic quality is what first attracts attention. Until we realise the full purpose of their existence: pure cruelty.
Fragile features frontal and objective shots of organs and limbs taken from corpses. Dallaporta worked with a team of forensic surgeons for this series. While the physicians were looking for causes of death, Dallaporta recorded the body parts they examined and the instruments they used. The power of this work comes from the combination of apparently neutral images and texts relating to human pain.
Dallaporta also worked with experts when making Ruins. He travelled with a team of French archaeologists to Afghanistan. Using a drone - a small remote-controlled helicopter - he took numerous photos of the war-ravaged landscape. In combination, these form a single large aerial picture that also shows traces of ancient civilisations. Past and present come together in this series of almost scientific photos.
In Domestic Slavery, Dallaporta (pictures) and Ondine Millot (text) tackle the tragic reality of this phenomenon: people, many unregistered migrants, held against their will in places where their voice cannot be heard. While their names have been altered, the stories are true. Dallaporta's clinical, unsentimental pictures of the buildings in which these modern-day slaves are kept testify to the banality of day-to-day inhumanity.
The Foam Paul Huf Award was set up to commemorate Foam's special connection with Dutch photographer Paul Huf (1924-2002). Paul Huf was known for his innovative photographic style and was personally involved in the foundation of Foam, Amsterdam's Photography Museum, in 2001.