Michael Corridore Wins Aperture Portfolio Prize

From left to right: Untitled 13 and Untitled 24 (both 2006) by Michael Corridore
You know Aperture. You love Aperture. And now Aperture is revealing who it loves. The foundation has just announced the winner of its second annual Aperture Portfolio Prize competition: Australian photographer Michael Corridore for his project “Angry Black Snake.” Five runners-up were also selected: Jowhara AlSaud (Saudi Arabia), Colin Blakely (Ann Arbor, Michigan), Joe Johnson (Columbia, Missouri), Hector Mata (Los Angeles), and Elizabeth Pedinotti (San Francisco). Corridore receives $2,500, and all six photographers will have their portfolios featured on Aperture’s website. Inaugurated last year to replace the foundation’s biannual portfolio reviews, the competition was created to “identify trends in contemporary photography and specific artists whom we can help by bringing their work to a wider audience.”
Corridore’s portfolio is a wonderfully maddening collection of hazy shots that demand feverish, if futile, skimming for meaning. Have the people pictured narrowly escaped a natural disaster? Or are they enjoying a block party? Living it up at Burning Man? Caught in a dust storm at a Nascar race? Maybe. According to Corridore, a graduate of Australia’s Photography Studies College, the project began as part of a larger portrayal of spectators at various events, including auto races, but became focused on those moments in which the event and its setting come into direct and violent contact. “Each image has been pared down to the barest of elements—urgent gestures and barely traceable figures cloaked in smoke and dust,” notes Aperture publisher Lesley A. Martin, who led the judging. “Yet each image pulses with palpable emotional tension, telegraphed by these barest of representational sketches and the subtle shifting colors of the clouds that descend upon each scene like a flimsy curtain.”