Sanguinetti, Wang Win Awards at Arles

A diverse cast of photographers from China to Argentina were recognized by their peers at the French photography festival.

Photographers from Argentina, China, and Lebanon won awards at this year's Rencontres d'Arles photography festival in the south of France. A total of 826 festival attendees voted for the photographers nominated for the short-lists in three main categories.

Alessandra Sanguinetti, who splits time between her native Argentina and New York, won the Rencontres d'Arles Discovery Award for "The Adventures of Guille and Belinda and the Enigmatic Meaning of their Dreams." The work is a five-year study of two young girls in Argentina as they emerge into adulthood. Sanguinetti writes in her introduction to the work: "I have attempted to interpret the ending of their childhood by entering their imaginary spaces. The time when their dreams, fantasies, and fears fuse seamlessly with real day to day life are ending and the photographs I have made intend to crystallize this rapidly disappearing personal and free space."

Other nominees for the Discovery Award were Eleni Bakopoulos (Canada), Janine Gordon (United States), Isabelle Hayeur (Canada), and Carla van de Puttelaar (Netherlands).

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Chinese photographer Wang Qingsong was the Outreach Award for "Glorious Life," a series of surreal, Photoshopped fantasies exploring the physical and psychological spaces occupied by the people of his rapidly changing country.

The Rencontres d'Arles Outreach Award goes to a photographer or an artist making use of photography whose work has increased dialogue and exchanges in the interests of humanity and contributes to an understanding of the world and its different societies in terms of the past or the present. Other nominees in the category were Ricky Davila (Spain), Geert Goiris (Belgium), Fatima Mazmous (Morocco), and Maxence Rifflet (France).

The No Limit Award, given to an artist who takes photography beyond currently acknowledged boundaries, went to Randa Mirza of Lebanon for "Abandoned Room," a series of photographs depicting the discarded remnants of life found in rooms abandoned during Lebanon's civil war. Mirza writes: "During the war in Lebanon, waves of civilian migrants fleeing their devastated regions sheltered in unfinished blocks of flats, rubble, abandoned apartments and chalets … Many of these building dotted across Lebanon are actually in ruins. They form the only remains and traces of the civil war: scattered holes in the collective memory."

Finalists in the No Limit category were Olaf Breuning (Switzerland), Claudia Fahrenkemper (Germany), Tom Hunter (United Kingdom), and Thomas Mailaender (France).

The Project Assistance Award, which includes a substantial funding grant to complete a photographic project, went to Walid Raad of Lebanon whose work aims to document the country's period of civil war. "I find, produce, and preserve photographic, and other visual and literary documents that shed light on this history and on how experiences of violence are formed, represented, and remembered," Raad explains in his accompanying text. "The documents in this project do not so much document 'what happened' during the Lebanese wars but what can be imagined, what can be said, taken for granted, what can appear as rational or not, as thinkable, and sayable about the wars."

The Rencontres d'Arles Book Award, which goes to the best photography book or catalogue published between June 1, 2005 and May 31, 2006, went to Heinz Hajek-Halke for Form aus Licht und Schatten (Steidl).

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