After Nature Prize 2024

C/O Berlin is pleased to announce the first recipients of the After Nature . Ulrike Crespo Photography Prize 2024: Laura Huertas Millán (b. 1983, Colombia) and Sarker Protick (b. 1986, Bangladesh). A double exhibition will be first presented at C/O Berlin in the Amerika Haus from Sep 14, 2024, to Jan 23, 2025. Afterwards, it will move to the Open Space of the Crespo Foundation in Frankfurt am Main starting from February 2025.

© Renato Cruz Santos

Laura Huertas Millán

In her prizewinning multichannel projection, Laura Huertas Millán investigates the cultural, medicinal, and ritual uses of coca long before cocaine was first produced in Europe in the nineteenth century. Starting with the plant’s prohibition during the Spanish colonization of Latin America, Millán develops a speculative narrative that focuses on a group of métisse women who secretly distributed coca leaves in the seventeenth century. In reaction to the lack of archival material, the artist uses fiction as a strategy, visualizing in a fragmentary narrative the colonial appropriation of nature and the role of resistance in this process.

Para la coca © Laura Huertas Millán

Sarker Protick

Sarker Protick examines the extensive changes imposed by humans on the Indian subcontinent in his prizewinning project. Focusing on the historical region of Bengal, which today includes India and Bangladesh, he transfers the examination of the colonial history of the British Empire to a photographic study of the present. He is interested in the expansion of the railroad and the development of coal mining in the nineteenth century. Traveling through Bangladesh and India, he created a body of photographs that addresses the global, geopolitical, and historical dimensions of imperialism as the source of the Anthropocene and its impact on the climate crisis in a visual language that is precise and atmospheric.

© Tanjimul Tuhin
From the series Iron Path, 2023–ongoing © Sarker Protick
© C/O Berlin Foundation, David von Becker

The Jury

The jury consisted of Lewis Chaplin (Co-founder, Loose Joints Publishing), Martin Guinard (Curator, LUMA Arles), Hajra Haider Karrar (Curator, SAVVY Contemporary), Iris Sikking (Curator, Fotomuseum Den Haag, The Hague), Olga Smith (Newcastle University), Christiane Riedel (Chair, Crespo Foundation), Sophia Greiff (Co-Head of Program, C/O Berlin Foundation), and Katharina Täschner (Junior Curator, C/O Berlin Foundation). Based on the nominations by fifteen international experts, the jury’s decision was unanimous.

About the Prize
A New View of Nature

Many ideas about nature have become unsettled as people realize that life and economics under global capitalism have irrevocably changed the global ecosystem. The effects of the climate crisis show that nature in the twenty-first century is no longer “natural,” but is instead affected in every way by human actions. How do we view nature today, when its condition is indivisibly interwoven in the social and political expressions of our way of life?

Together with Crespo Foundation, C/O Berlin awards the After Nature . Ulrike Crespo Photography Prize from 2024. Named after the founder and photographer Ulrike Crespo (1950–2019), the prize honors international artists using photography and lens-based media to respond to the changing ecologies of today.

Support
Supporting Projects, Uniting Perspectives

The After Nature . Ulrike Crespo Photography Prize is awarded annually to two individuals or groups aged 35 years or older with an existing exhibition and publication practice. This international prize enables the winners to realize their projects on the topic of “Photography after Nature.” The prize carries a cash prize of €40,000 for each winner or winning group, and includes an exhibition at C/O Berlin, a joint publication, and curatorial support during the planning stages.

An expert committee nominates artists for the prize and invites them to apply. Unsolicited applications are not accepted. Then, an international jury selects two of the proposals. The prize is managed by junior curator Katharina Täschner. The first two winners will be announced in early 2024.

Thematic Focus
Photography after Nature

The topic “Photography after Nature” enables a dual perspective on how photography and nature relate. On the one hand, it references a world post-nature, in which the relationship between humans, environment, and technology are undergoing a fundamental transformation. On the other hand, it points to photography as a medium that has documented, constructed, and negotiated the world from the very start. This is echoed in the term “photography after nature,” which was often used in the nineteenth century to underscore photography’s special connection to the planet.

A joint project with