Merck-Preis der Darmstädter Tage der Fotografie

“In 2020, we are sponsoring the »Merck-Preis«, endowed with € 10,000, for the 8th time. The focus on 15 selected works from which an award winner will chosen, as well as the concentrated presentation at one location, once again emphasize the importance of the award in a special way. As a sponsor, we are of course very pleased about this as the »Merck-Preis« is one of the most important awards in the field of contemporary photography in Germany and radiates far beyond our city limits”, says Tanja Zocher, responsible for cultural sponsoring at the Darmstadt based science and technology company Merck.

The »Merck-Preis der Darmstädter Tage der Fotografie« is a central element of the festival and traditionally gets awarded on the opening evening. Not only due to its extraordinarily high prize money compared to other photography awards,  but also in general to other photo festivals, the»Merck-Preis der Darmstädter Tage der Fotografie« is clearly a one of a kind award and an unique feature of the festival.

The »Merck-Preis der Darmstädter Tage der Fotografie« demands consistently implemented and high-quality work from the artistic to the presentation on site. All photographers and artists who work with the medium of photography as well as all students of, for example, art, design and photography and photo assistants were invited to participate in the open call for the »8. Merck-Preis der Darmstädter Tage der Fotografie«. An independent, contemporary position had to be recognizable as well.

A Jury of curators and photographers, some of whom also co-founded the festival,  chooses up to 15 artists of an Open Call for the shortlist on two consecutive days as the result of intensive discussions of all submitted portfolios. In 2019, the curatorial concept and installation of the group-exhibition was directly decided during the Jury Meeting for the first time in the history of »Darmstadt Photography Days«.


The nominated artists were chosen by a Jury of photographers and curators in December 2019 after an international Open Call (application period: September to November 2019; in total 303 applicants) . The curatorial concept and placement of the individual works in the group-exhibition at Designhaus Darmstadt on Mathildenhöhe was also already decided during the two consecutive days of the Jury Meeting.

Cemre Yeșil & Maria Sturm – For Birds’ Sake

Hannes Wiedemann – Bits and Pieces

Anna Tiessen – Kommando Korn

Katrin Streicher – Night Time Tremors

Daniel Stier – Physis

Nils Stelte – In Security

Sonja Stadelmaier – Dandelion

Alp Sime – Ceratonia

Simon Schnelle – Icon

Mirène Schmitz – Affenschaukel

Michael Schmid – Still Images

Robert Schittko – I Have No Idea How I Could Get That Lost – Aokigahara

Frank Schinski – Ist doch so

Barbara Probst – Exposures

Vincenzo Pagliuca – Mónos

Akihiko Miyoshi – Abstract Photographs

Sophie Meuresch – Johanna

Brigitte Lustenberger – This Sense of Wonder

Karsten Kronas – Searching for Mr. X

Nico Krebs & Taiyo Onorato – Constructions

Katrin Koenning – Indefinitely

Silke Koch – Figures After Gravity’s Rainbow

Karolin Klüppel – Mädchenland

Katia Klose-Soltau – La Lilette

Nora Klein – Mal gut, mehr schlecht

Jiwon Kim – Das Haar der Künstlerin

Jiang Jian – Archives On Orphans

Holger Jenss – Last Chance Junction

Dennis Haustein – Irrational Longing

Jana Hartmann – 93 Billions Light Years

Ulrike Hannemann – The Palace – Then And Now

Nele Gülck – Auf Ewig

Katharina Gruzei – War Rooms

Geert Goiris – Resonance

Daniela Friebel – Paintings

Sibylle Feucht – Aesthetics of Security

Gabriele Engelhardt – Kehler Berge

Felix Dobbert – Random Flowers

Louis De Belle – Cartographies

Lia Darjes – Tempora Morte

Michael Danner – Migration As Avant-Garde

Grey Crawford – Umbra

Cortis & Sonderegger – Icons

Daniel W. Coburn – The Hereditary Estate

Philipp Böll – Orte rechter Gewalt

Nancy Borowick – A Life In Death

Svetlana Biryukova – 17 Sommer

Norman Behrendt – Brave New Turkey

Tobias Becker – Ilfospeed Selfies

Hanna Becker – The Game

Jessica Backhaus – A Trilogy

Mandy Barker – Soup

The reduction of the high amount of submissions of the Open Call to only 15 photographic series manages to concentrate the Jury’s statement, but also offers enough room for individual genres and approaches to photography and the festival’s annual topic. Works by all 16 nominated artists will be exhibited in a group-exhibiton at Designhaus Darmstadt on Mathildenhöhe during the whole time span of the festival.

The hanging, installation and exhibitional context will be decisive for the final decision of the Jury on the opening day of »11. Darmstadt Photography Days« when discussing which artist should be awarded the »8. Merck-Preis der Darmstädter Tage der Fotografie«.

The Jury of »8. Merck-Preis der Darmstädter Tage der Fotografie«

Alexandra Lechner (Photographer, Co-Founder of DTdF, RAY-Curator)
Ute Noll (On Photography, Photographic Editorial Department DU)
Marcel Rauschkolb (Board of DTdF-Förderverein)
Julia Reichelt (Director of Kunstforum of TU Darmstadt)
Prof. Dr. Kris Scholz (Hochschule Darmstadt)
Gregor Schuster (Photographer, Co-Founder of DTdF)

Jury des 8. Merck-Preis der Darmstädter Tage der Fotografie