vrijdag 11 januari 2008

Empty Bottles WassinkLundgren winner of the 2007 Arles Contemporary Book Award Photography

'Empty Bottles', 2005, WassinkLundgren, winner of the 2007 Arles Contemporary Book Award

The Arles Contemporary Book Award is one of the undisputed highlights of the festival. The sum of 8,000 euros is awarded to a book that involves a specific creative project chosen from a number of entrants by five notables in the photographic industry, together with Francois Barre the President of Rencontres d'Arles. This year, Dutch duo WassinkLundgren won the coveted prize, for their book 'Empty Bottles'.

In 2005, conceptual documentary photographer Thijs Groot Wassink and artist Ruben Lundgren spent time in China, the product of which is 'Empty Bottles'. The photographs chart the daily rituals of 24 refuse collectors as they go about their business. Each picture captures the extraordinary combination of roles played out by the men and women - part scavenger, part collector and part cleaner. What is especially striking about the images is the clinical tidiness of the landscapes; it's as if the refuse collectors have picked up the last piece of rubbish each time with a furtive urgency to keep public spaces immaculate at all times.

Set against the backdrops of Beijing and Shanghai there's a significant lack of deprivation to the characters and a profound sense of purpose to their business. As a collection the book offers an insight into China's rudimentary social services, which otherwise don't exist or go unchronicled.
Click here to see pages from the 'Empty Bottles'.

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