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*Dannielle Bowman, Faces, 2019, from the series “What Had Happened.” Courtesy of Aperture.
*Dannielle Bowman, Faces, 2019, from the series “What Had Happened.” Courtesy of Aperture.

Dannielle Bowman Wins 2020 Aperture Portfolio Prize

New York–based artist Dannielle Bowman has been selected as the winner of Aperture’s 2020 Portfolio Prize, the annual award that aims to “identify trends in contemporary photography and highlight artists whose work deserves greater recognition.”

Chosen for her ongoing series “What Had Happened,” which captures notions of displacement, family history, and home in the Los Angeles neighborhoods where she grew up, Bowman will receive a $3,000 cash prize and have her work featured in an upcoming issue of Aperture magazine. An exhibition of her work will also be staged at Baxter St at the Camera Club of New York in Manhattan. 

Bowman received a BFA from the Cooper Union and an MFA from the Yale School of Art, where she was awarded the 2018 Richard Benson Prize, which rewards excellence in the field and leadership within the school’s photography program. In 2019, she was a contributor to the New York Times Magazine’s “The 1619 Project,” which was launched to mark the four-hundredth anniversary of American slavery and examines current societal injustices that can be traced back to slavery, such as mass incarceration.

“Bowman has begun to map histories that remain mostly unspoken, eliciting memory via the judicious placement of alternative signifiers—signifiers mostly illegible to those outside or unfamiliar with these stories,” said Lesley A. Martin, Aperture’s creative director and the publisher of The PhotoBook Review. “In doing so via a rigorously composed, formal set of pictures that stand outside traditional documentary storytelling, Bowman not only begins to carefully unfurl these secrets; she also manages to bend a classic set of photographic conventions toward her own goals, enfolding her own family history within them.”

Finalists for the prize included Lindley Warren Mickunas, Jessica Chou, Gloria Oyarzabal, and Daniel Jack Lyons. Bowman’s photographs will be featured alongside the work of the runners-up in an online gallery on Aperture’s website.