Images of the Present

30 Years of the Wüstenrot Foundation Documentary Photography Awards
12 October 2023 – 18 February 2024

in THE GÄLLERY – Raum für Fotografie


The Documentary Photography Awards are the most important prize of their kind in Germany. They are designed to support photographers whose focus is on real-world subjects and whose work examines the representational function of photography, which they explore using contemporary means. Since 1994, the prize has been awarded every two years to graduates of German universities and is presented by the Wüstenrot Stiftung in conjunction with Museum Folkwang in Essen. To mark the 30th anniversary of the award, THE GÄLLERY is mounting the first retrospective with a representative overview of three decades of documentary photography in Germany.Using selected works selected works by the award recipients, "Images of the Present" traces the development of ideas about the documentary since the early 1990s. The different sections of the exhibition – "The Portrait’s Relational Networks", "Society in Flux" and "Political Landscapes" – present three important thematic areas that are a pivotal focus for several of the groups of works by the 56 photographers who have won the award to date. The thematic grouping of the works not only reveals different approaches to the subject matter, it also exposes shifting visual strategies, artistic attitudes and media translations ranging from framed pictures to multimedia installations. The images by the award recipients also challenge our gaze, inviting us to calibrate what they have photographed with the media images that wash over us every day and to question our own view of the present.

With works by Andrea Diefenbach, Ulrich Gebert, Kirill Golovchenko, Susanne Hefti, Verena Jaekel, Christian Kasners, Jens Klein, Sara-Lena Maierhofer, Paula Markert, Nicola Meitzner, Maziar Moradi, Arne Schmitt, Julia Sörgel, Andrzej Steinbach, Albrecht Tübke, Malte Wandel and Tobias Zielony.

The free exhibition catalogues have been reprinted and are now available to take away from the exhibition!

Free admission

Free admission is made possible by the Wüstenrot Foundation.


In Kooperation mit der Wütenrot Stiftung und dem Museum Folkwang. Mit freundlicher Unterstützung der Freunde der Staatsgalerie.