David Miller: 2014 Duke & Duchess of York Prize

David Miller, Exits (Gas Chamber and Crematorium 1, Auschwitz, August 24, 2010), 2012, chromogenic colour prints mounted on aluminum
David Miller, Exits (Gas Chamber and Crematorium 1, Auschwitz, August 24, 2010), 2012, chromogenic colour prints mounted on aluminum (detail)

“Photographs have a special connection to the worlds they describe and create, to those things that once existed but no longer do.” - David Miller

David Miller’s photography registers presence and absence… what’s inside the frame and what exists outside of the frame. In an era of fleeting snapshots that appear and disappear in cyberspace, his works are testament to the power of photographs as objects – time bound memorials of elusive subjects. Miller’s practice is a persistent enquiry into the nature and act of photography itself.

Miller is the 2014 winner of the Canada Council’s Duke and Duchess of York Prize (valued at $8,000). The prize was endowed by the Government of Canada in 1986 on the occasion of Prince Andrew’s marriage.

The only Canada Council prize dedicated exclusively to photography, past recipients of the Duke and Duchess of York Prize have included artists such as Althea Thauberger, Michel Campeau, Jeff Thomas, Greg Staats and Janieta Eyre. There are no applications or nominations for the prize; rather it is awarded to that particular year’s best candidate in the Canada Council program Project Grants to Visual Artists in photography. It illustrates how the Council’s grants and prizes both support creation and celebrate excellence in the arts.

From September through January 2014, Miller, with support from his grant, is continuing to explore the concept of photographs as memorials. His projects, The Museum, Visitors and Conservators, will take him to Central Europe to photograph memory sites, primarily devoted to Jewish Heritage. He will focus on visitors engaging with the sites, the workspaces behind the scenes (archives, conservation labs, offices) and the workers who have the complex task of safeguarding the collections of these sites and constructing them into coherent, accessible narratives.

Born in Montréal, Miller has worked across Canada, Europe, the U.S., and in Israel, China and Mexico. Since 1984, his work has been shown in some 80 solo and group exhibitions, and can be found in several public collections, including the Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa. He has collaborated with other artists on performances, media works and public art projects. As a curator he has organized over a dozen exhibitions. A passionate teacher, David Miller has mentored young artists across Canada, in Europe and in Mexico.

July 2014