With her biggest survey to date set to open at Berlin’s Gropius Bau museum later this month, Dayanita Singh has won one of the world’s top photography prizes. On Wednesday, the Hasselblad Foundation said that Singh had won its 2022 Hasselblad Prize, which this year comes with 2 million Swedish krona, or about $206,500—a sum that’s about two times bigger than the amount awarded in past years.
Singh, who is based in New Delhi, is the first artist of South Asian descent to win the award, which has previously gone to photographers such as Nan Goldin, Graciela Iturbide, Walid Raad, Cindy Sherman, and Wolfgang Tillmans.
“For years I had wanted to teach a class called ‘Dancing with my Hasselblad,’” Singh said in a statement, referring to the storied medium-format camera that lends the foundation its name. “And now to have this award as well as be in the esteemed company of previous awardees is beyond my imagination. I accept this award on behalf of my book objects and mobile museums.”
Known for her elegant black-and-white images, Singh has exhibited her photographs in styles that are unusual, such as folding wooden frames that she terms “mobile museums,” as well as in the form of books. Her pictures are often conceptual in nature, using a spare visual language to explore how archives are constructed and how photographic images exist in relation to one another. Rare books, people she encounters in India, and more have passed before her camera.
“Through her extensive photographic oeuvre Dayanita Singh has paved new ways for engaging with images,” the Hasselblad Foundation said in its citation for Singh. “From a humanist approach to portraiture to a consistent interest in the archive, her wide-spanning photography is innovatively presented in books and installations.”